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Demystifying the concept of Net Promoter Score for dental practices

Published on : 8/3/2022

What is the Net Promoter Score?

The Net Promoter Score (NPS), originally developed by Fred Reichheld in 2003, and has gained significant traction in the business world ever since, is a crucial metric for any company that is wanting to gain a deeper insight into the sentiments and loyalty of their customers. If used correctly, the NPS is a framework that can directly correlate a business’ bottom line to the general happiness associated with their services, by first measuring customer satisfaction and perception, and then leveraging this information to immediately address any areas of concern and areas for potential growth.

How does NPS work?

What is this magic formula you might be wondering? The NPS is simpler than you may have been expecting.

At its most basic form, NPS can be determined by asking your customers just one simple question:  “On a scale of 0-10, how likely is it that you would recommend us to a family, friend or colleague?”

Based on their responses to this question, customers can then be placed into one of three categories: detractors, passives & promoters.


Net Promoter Score Catagories


From here, your NPS is easy to calculate.  

First, you will want to calculate what percentage of total respondents are detractors, and what percentage are promotors.  

Then, you can determine what your NPS is by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. 

Why is knowing your NPS important?

With -100 being the lowest possible score, and 100 being the highest, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the benchmark for a “good” score is around 50.

In a real-world application, however, it is not so black and white. The average NPS for the health industry is 27, and when you look at the dental industry more specifically, it is even lower at an average of 1!

By actively tracking and monitoring your NPS, this can not only show you how you stack up against your competitors, but it can also highlight areas where you may want to focus or re-direct your efforts in order to improve your patients’ experiences. As we know, happier patients will mean increased loyalty, better reviews and more word-of-mouth referrals.

The benefits of using NPS include:

  • The survey has a high completion rate due to its low commitment and low friction approach – the survey is only one question and can be completed via one click in a text or email, rather than in person
  • The data from the survey is easy to digest
  • It drives growth by providing actionable insights

How can you leverage your NPS to improve your quality of care, and in turn, revenue?

As critical as collecting your NPS is to measuring and understanding overall patient sentiment, actually putting in the work to improve it requires actively listening to the feedback you receive – good and bad – and putting in steps to re-align your practice workflows based on this feedback.

By sending your patients the survey question after they have left your practice, you are opening up a channel for direct communication with your patients, giving you a dynamic list of patients that you can then contact to learn more about their experience.  

If you find that your NPS score is low, take this as a proactive opportunity to reach out to your ‘detractors’ to get their feedback and attempt to solve any issues that may have arisen. Consistent collection of this feedback will, over time, reveal trends in the data and can highlight where you can make improvements to the quality of care that you are giving to your patients. 

Taking this one step further, reaching out to ‘passives’ to see where you could have done better, and contacting your ‘promoters’ to say thank you, can also go a long way in making your patients feel as though you have their best interests in mind, and may increase the likelihood that they will recommend your practice to others. This is crucial, as it is widely known that word of mouth is the most effective way of growing your patient base.

In all, and if done correctly, the high-quality interactions that you can have with your patients as a result of your NPS will directly correlate to higher patient retention, fewer missed appointments, and greater advocacy for your practice in the wider community, ultimately leading to increased revenue.  

About the author  

Mikaela Filo is a recent Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Sydney, plunging head-first into the world of Dentistry as the Marketing Coordinator & Product Manager at Centaur Software 

Outside of work, you’ll find Mikaela down at the beach reading or going for walks with her puppy and friends. 

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