A Simple Way to a Patient’s Heart

We analyzed a random sample of 500 digital questionnaires completed by dental patients prior to visiting their dentists (who are Jakari Care clients).

These returning dental patients were asked to update their health history. They were also asked about their level of satisfaction with the practice.

Patients who had indicated that they “Loved” the practice were asked to elaborate on reasons for their love. We performed semantic analysis to identify the most commonly cited reasons.

Here are the top-3 words most commonly used by patients to describe why they love their dental practice:

  1. “Staff” showed up in 33% of the loving responses
  2. “Friendly” showed up in 23% of the loving responses
  3. “Everyone” showed up in 13% of the loving responses

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Friendliness trumps professionalism and competence as an ingredient for patient love. Patients in love with their dental practice were 6 times more likely to use the word “friendly” vs. the word “professional” and 56 times more likely to use the word “friendly” vs. the word “competent” to describe why they love their practice
  • A friendly doctor is not enough. The entire staff has to contribute to a friendly environment. “Staff” and “Everyone” had 4 times more mentions than the doctor references.

Here is a personal example to illustrate this point:

There is a cafe close to my house. They have wonderful coffee and a very nice and friendly owner. Almost every weekday for close to 10 years, I would get a coffee and pastry there before heading to the office.

Then, one day, this cafe hired a new person – let’s call her Susan. Unlike the other cafe team members, Susan would not smile or show emotion. She barely nodded when customers said “good morning” and “thank you,” and silently handed them a receipt at the end of the transaction, avoiding eye contact or communication.

Susan was only one the team members, and the others were perfectly friendly, as was the owner. However, after several “Sour Susan” experiences, I started getting my coffee at a shop two blocks away.

Do you have any “Sour Susans” on your staff, or is your team 100% patient-friendly?

 

Last updated: 8/02/18

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