Episode 49

The 4 Patient Satisfaction Survey Questions You Need to Ask

Episode Transcript: The 4 Patient Satisfaction Survey Questions You Need to Ask

Patient satisfaction surveys are important for private practices to understand how patients feel and get an idea for what needs to be improved.

And yet, nearly 3 out of 5 patients say that their providers have never asked for their feedback.

Every practice does patient satisfaction surveys a little differently. Some use software, while others take a more manual approach.

Either way, one problem remains: too many questions in a patient satisfaction survey are really boring – and they don’t actually tell you anything about the health of your practice.

So if you want to improve the quality of your patient experience, here are the four most valuable patient satisfaction survey questions you need to be asking every patient.

Be sure to ask these four patient satisfaction survey questions to get the most valuable data possible.
Be sure to ask these four patient satisfaction survey questions to get the most valuable data possible.

Question #1: How Did You Find Us?

The first question you should ask every patient is this: How did you find us?

This isn’t a “satisfaction” question per se, but it’s still incredibly valuable.

Every practice makes assumptions about their marketing and acquisition efforts, but asking patients how they heard about you reveals how your marketing is really working.

  • Have you assumed that SEO will drive a bunch of traffic, only to find out that most patients clicked on an ad?
  • Do you think your word-of-mouth game is really strong, but most patients are really doing a quick Google search?

Asking this question helps you test your assumptions and hypotheses about your marketing. It lets you know which channels are performing well, which might be underperforming, and how patients really respond to your marketing messages and advertising campaigns.

Question #2: If you saw an old friend and they needed _____, would you recommend they come see us?

This question is powerful because it shows if patients are really willing to stake their reputation on their referral.

When a referral is back of mind for a patient – when you never explicitly ask them to refer someone – sure, they might refer someone…but chances are that they won’t.

But when a detailed, real-life scenario is posed to them, it becomes more concrete. By doing this, you go from a “maybe they will, maybe they won’t” scenario to a much more powerful one in which they commit to helping a friend because they had such a good experience.

Making this scenario concrete in a patient’s mind is a powerful way to gauge whether or not they had a really great experience…and plus, if they do run into a friend, they will be much more primed to actually have that conversation…

Question #3: On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to refer us?

Now, this is another variant of the last question we looked at, but if you have enough patient volume, it can help your practice immensely.

This scale of 1-10 is called the “Net Promoter Score,” and it helps assess just how likely a patient is to refer someone else.

It’s not just asking, “Would you refer someone to us?”

It’s asking, “How likely are you to refer someone to us?”

Any patient that gives an 8 or above can be considered a brand evangelist : they had a terrific experience and are very likely to tell their friends or family about their experience.

Any patient that gives between a 5 and a 7 on the scale is neutral : they didn’t have a bad experience, but you might need to do a little more digging to see how their experience could have been better. There’s a great opportunity here: with a little coaxing, these patients might turn from neutral to evangelist – there are still opportunities to make their experience better.

If a patient gives you a 5 or below, they’re called a detractor. You need to follow up and get these patients’ feedback.

Rather than seeing those patients as Negative Nancys, you should see them as a valuable source of information. These patients will tell you more than a satisfied patient ever could. They will let you know what really didn’t work well at your practice – and perhaps more importantly, why it didn’t work well.

These patients are incredibly valuable sources of data – data that you can use to improve your practice and the experiences of future patients.

Question #4: How well do you feel the doctor listened to you?

Studies have shown that most medical malpractice lawsuits stem not just from a bad outcome alone. No, most malpractice lawsuits are a combination of an adverse outcome combined with a patient who feels that the physician didn’t take the time to listen, understand their concerns, or communicate effectively.

When you ask patients this question, you’re not just trying to prevent a lawsuit – you really want to know how patients feel they were listened to. The physician might be the medical expert, but they need to be an expert communicator as well – communication is a vital piece of patient experience.

Every patient wants to receive compassionate, empathetic care – so ensuring that patients feel heard is a great first step to increasing patient satisfaction.

According to PatientPop, the #1 patient demand in 2020 is to have a provider that is a good listener. When you take steps to ensure that patients are understood and heard, it will go a long way.


These certainly aren’t the only patient satisfaction questions you should ask, but they can provide valuable data and insights that patients might not have given you otherwise.

By asking patients for their honest feedback – even when it’s not what you want to hear – you get a feel for not only quality of care, but for the effectiveness of your marketing and your patient experience as a whole.

These valuable insights will help you improve patient experience and attract new patients to your practice for years to come…

Next week…

Well, that’s all for this week’s episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast – thanks for tuning in.

If you want more practice marketing resources, check out our website at www.messenger.md. We’re always sharing helpful tips and know-how to help you improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take your patient experience to the next level.

That’s all for today’s episode – I’m Crawford Ifland. See you next week.

Crawford Ifland, CEO at Messenger Healthcare Marketing

Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.

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