Feedbacks are crucial for a dental practice’s improvement. You do not know what aspects of your clinic need improvement unless you have data. The best way to get this data is to ask for your patience. Therefore, you need to know why and how to create feedback forms. At first glance, it might seem like an easy task. However, a feedback form is more than just a couple of questions you ask your patient. Your feedback form should have structure and a few elements that can help you increase your chances of getting feedback from your patients.
Here are a few elements of feedback forms you can incorporate into yours:
1. Always start with an objective.
Feedback forms are what researchers would consider primary sources of information. So feedback forms are also a type of research. Research in any form follows a framework to optimize the data collected. These frameworks are called research methodology. Now, research methodology is not a have-to-follow set of rules, they are more like guidelines that help you structure your study. It includes different sources and the information you will use, how you will use it and what result it will lead you to.
However, before you get started with the entire process, you first need an objective. An objective of the study is the reason the research (in this case, feedback) is being conducted. Without an objective, you do not know what the end goal of the study is. An objective helps you define a problem you are joining to solve and how. Therefore, you should always start with the objective. You can also let your patients know why you are asking for feedback so they can craft an answer that will help you by providing relevant information.
Read More: 5 Ways to Build Trust with Your Patients
2. Ask open-ended questions.
It might be convenient for you to have simple yes/no questions or multiple-choice questions in your feedback form. They are easier to quantify and the data is easy to segregate. However, such forms will give you a surface understanding of your customers. And not the crux of the issue or objective of the feedback form.
The best way to get people’s opinions is to ask them open-ended questions. Therefore, think of feedback forms as an interview with your patient. Ask as many open-ended questions as you can get away with. Such questions help your patient lead the conversation in a direction they want to go. It prompts your patient to think and answer instead of picking one of two options. Additionally, open-ended questions allow your patient an opportunity to describe their problems/issues. While open-ended questions are difficult to categorize and filter, they immensely help your practice perform better.
3. Keep it short but long enough to get enough information.
Limit the feedback form to a few questions. If you make it too long, you risk your patient getting bored and impatient. They either randomly fill out the data or don’t give feedback at all. In which case, you get false data or no data at all. And no data is better than no data at all. False data skewers your data sets and leads you to the wrong conclusions.
If you keep it too short, you lose out on the opportunity to get the information you want from your patients. Which gives you an incomplete view of your objective and insufficient data for your study. However, short surveys improve your chances of getting feedback and they make your customers happy.
So you need to figure out the length of the form. It is a compromise between attention spans and a quantity of data. This is something that you will learn with time. However, you can always start with, say, 10 questions and work your way from there.
4. Structure and format your feedback form.
Going back to research methodology, using a framework helps you structure your feedback form and your study. There is a reason you are supposed to structure your feedback form. Every study has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. A structure allows you to ask the right questions in the right order. This gives your feedback from a flow and helps you ask questions to lead your patient to think in a specific direction. Structuring your form is a great way to get your patient to think in a direction because this way you can ensure that the patients give you the information that will help your objective.
5. Get your timing right.
You don’t want to take too long to get feedback form to your patients. Too long and they forget certain aspects of your service and their treatments. And you can’t ask them to fill it in right after their appointment. Your patient might be in a hurry to get to other places right after their appointment or they may be in pain. So, it is never a good idea to ask patients to fill in feedback forms right after their appointment. So when is it the right time? Ask your patients to fill them in within one week of their appointment. One week means they can fill it in when they are free, and you do not have to wait for a long time for information. Additionally, you should use electronic/digital forms. They are easy to create, you can send your patients a link, and all information gets automatically recorded and stored.
6. Keep it relevant to the patient.
Relevance is essential when it comes to feedback forms. Because a patient will not take time out from their day to answer questions about treatment, they never had. For example, a patient who has had teeth whitening treatment will know nothing about your root canal service. If you want to get an idea about the clinic’s ambiance or how you can improve your customer service and satisfaction, then you can send it to all your patients. However, if your feedback form is specific to a treatment or service, you should stick to a patient who has had the service or treatment.
How can you create feedback forms?
You have three options when creating feedback forms for your practice.
Paid: you pay a subscription fee to access and use the form creation tools. Often, these platforms will have a free trial for a specific period. Some of these are CRMs with a form creation feature, and some are independent survey companies. A few are Mopinion, Feedier, InMoment, Growthplug, etc.
Website: you can build a feedback form that records customer data through your website. You can either integrate a CRM or a database. Or you can create a database that links to your website form.
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