Move Over Starbucks: A Dentist/MBA Student Does a Survey of His Own

Posted .

In past blog posts, I have written about the fact that I am pursuing an MBA.  This endeavor is partly a self-enrichment project (you can only watch so much American Idol!), but mostly because I am a continuous student, always interested in learning how to better the clinical and business aspects of my practice.

The first case study in my current marketing class (MBA 560!) covers Starbucks’ efforts to improve customer service by understanding customer value, needs and behavior.  Part of this effort involved a survey wherein patrons were asked, “How could Starbucks make you feel more valued as a customer?”  The results interested me as, like dentistry, Starbucks is really more of a service business than a purveyor of a product.  Sure enough, the survey revealed that customers feel more value from a friendly, attentive staff far more than the other possible responses, including cost of beverages and promotions or specials.  Of course, it is a given that the coffee is good, right?

So, I decided to put some of this book learnin’ to use and design my own survey to find out dental patients’, including my own, values, needs and behavior.  I created a survey using Facebook and SurveyMonkey applications, which consisted of a single question, “What makes you feel more valued as a patient?”  Respondents were able to select up to eight answers, including a write-in answer.  The survey was posted on social media (MBA 610!)—Facebook through my personal page (970 “friends”), business page (1,036 “likes”), and I utilized Facebook’s advertising application to “boost” the survey for one day, which resulted in the ad being shown to an additional 4,574 Facebook users, which I targeted for age and proximity to my office.  I also shared the SurveyMonkey survey to LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, and to 1,183 patient emails and 811 patient texts using my patient communication application, RevenueWell.

The Facebook and SurveyMonkey results mirrored each other almost exactly (closely matched the Starbucks survey as well!).  The SurveyMonkey results can be viewed at the following link,, or, take a look at the chart at the bottom of this page.

With well over 100 combined responses, the survey is a statistically-valid sample (MBA 505!).  Similar to the Starbucks survey, I noted that “Friendly, attentive staff and doctor” is by far the quality that makes the patient feel most valued.  “Personal treatment” and “Timeliness/punctuality” are distant second and third, respectively.

So, I now scientifically know what I intuitively knew:  My targeted market and existing patients prefer a friendly, attentive staff and doctor above all other given options.  Moving forward, we will redouble our focus on customer service and spending time getting to know patients better (as well as staying on time!).  Give the people what they want!

Dental Patient Satisfaction Survey SPR 15