No matter what industry you are in, dealing with a disgruntled customer is going to be something you'll have to do at some point. The dentistry industry is no exception. There are many different reasons why a patient would be unhappy with their service and sometimes it can be prevented, while other times it cannot. When this happens at your dental practice, here are five tips to help resolve the problem.

1. Pay attention to why they are unhappy.

Basically, the first tip for dealing with an unhappy patient in your dentistry practice is to listen. The only way you can truly get to the bottom of the problem is to actively listen to your patient. Don't interrupt, but allow them to get it all out. You may find that they aren't unhappy with your services at all. It may be something internal or completely out of your hands. After all, maybe the traffic to and from your office makes them unhappy.

2. Resolve the problem immediately

If they are disgruntled and you do have the ability to correct the problem, then do so in a quick and efficient manner. This will show them that you have listened and you do care about the experience they have with you. However, if they are only venting for the sake of getting it out of their system, then politely follow up with them. They may not even expect a resolution, but wanted someone to lend an ear and let them know they understand.

3. Be involved

Don't just nod and walk away when they have stopped talking. While it may seem better to internalize and get back to them, a reaction like this may make them unhappier than they already are. Inquire further into the situation by asking questions and working towards a solution. The more you know about their issues, the better you will be able to assess if they are legitimate and you can help them, or if they are beyond the concerns of your dentistry practice.

4. Have a policy in place

Not all unhappy patients are going to complain directly to you. Properly train everyone on your team about what the policy is for dealing with disgruntled patients. You can have a simple form for them to fill out or have your staff tell them the person making the decisions will be informed. You can follow-up with your patients on a phone call to let them know you have received the complaint and are working towards a resolution. If there is not a resolution for their particular problem, let them know that you understand their issues and will keep them in mind for the future.

5. Don't get frustrated

In the situation when a patient is unhappy the best thing you can do is maintain your composure. Yes, at times it will be frustrating for you, but you should never let that come across to your patient. The calmer you are, the better it is for everyone involved. If they get irate just continue to listen and let them know that you will call them at a later time when you have had a moment to productively factor in your options for a resolution.