patient complaints

When the Squeaky Wheel Gets All the Attention… And Destroys Your Practice

We’ve all been there: call comes in from a patient who had a cleaning and now has a litany of complaints and probably wants a refund.

  • “The hygienist was too rough”
  • “My teeth are already yellow again”
  • “My gums were sore forever after the cleaning”
  • “I had to wait an hour just to get a 15-minute cleaning”
  • “I was told I have cavities but my other dentist told me you’re wrong”

The list goes on and on… all for a $100 cleaning. Sound familiar?

The fact of the matter is, this is a NORMAL part of doing business. And the only real problem stems from an overreaction to a bad apple.

Example: A website comment came in this morning to a client of mine. Here is what it said:

“Your website needs serious QA and fixes. Nearly impossible to navigate with broken links, panes obstructing other links, etc.”

Then another email:

“This is a test of the non-functional “Submit” button on the “Contact Us” page”

So the second one cracked me up, because the “non-functional” button seemed to function well enough to send the comment to me. The first one caused some concern, so I went to the website and tested every link… and every link worked fine. Upon further investigation, the person submitting the form really didn’t know what he was talking about and I moved on.

Of course complaints deserve to be looked into, but when someone says “EVERYTHING SUCKS” that probably means the person thinks everything sucks, EVERYWHERE. When you fret over it and worry about it you end up making it more difficult to run your practice well, focus on patients properly, and support your employees the way they need to be supported. Additionally, if you take action and try to make changes based on a squeaky wheel, you are likely to make things worse for all the rational patients that you have.

Don’t let that squeaky wheel get to you… listen to their comments, check to see if they have merit, and then dismiss once you realize that it was the person that was the problem, not your practice.


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