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Referrals Are Important to Your Practice. Here's a Cheatsheet to Help You Optimize Them.

by Sara McPherson, on 10/25/19 12:39 PM

One of the keys to maintaining a world-class standard of service is ensuring we bring value to Six Month Smiles providers day after day. We’re stepping away from clinical content for a moment to make you aware of a powerful tool to help you increase referrals: Identifying your most satisfied patients. Satisfied patients are happy patients and they are often your best (free!) marketing tool.

By cheerfully spreading love and awareness of your practice through word-of-mouth, these individuals can literally send new patients to your door. Identifying your existing happy patients allows you to capitalize on their satisfaction and eagerness to tell others about your practice and how your services benefitted them.

Customer loyalty is such an effective marketing tool that in 2003, Bain and Company introduced the Net Promoter Score® (NPS), a metric used to measure consumer loyalty. Millions of businesses use NPS to measure and track how they’re perceived by their customers. The best part is that NPS is so easy to calculate. Simply send your patients a single-question survey:

 “How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

 Respondents give a rating between 0 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely). Based on their response, patients fall into one of three categories:

Once your patients are segmented into these categories, calculating your NPS is simple. Take the percentage of Promoters and subtract the percentage of Detractors. That’s it! For example, if 10 percent of respondents are Detractors, 20 percent are Passives and 70 percent are Promoters, your NPS score would be 70-10 = 60.  

Scores range from –100 to 100 and with a weekly or monthly review of your results, you can gauge patient satisfaction and evaluate your loyalty-building efforts. Reviewing consecutive data helps you identify trends so that you know when you are headed in the right direction and when you need to implement countermeasures to correct course.

You’re probably curious about what is considered a good score. Technically, any score above 0 is “good” because it means you have more Promoters than Detractors. A score of 50 and above is “excellent”; a score of 70 or higher is “world class.” In addition to individual NPS scores, it is important that the overall trend improves over time. Progressively increasing scores are an indicator that your customer loyalty is growing and that you are building lasting relationships that will generate referrals.


Improving customer loyalty builds your practice’s financial health in two ways. First, it increases the growth of your current customer base through broader retention and increased cross-sell opportunities. Second, it expands new customer acquisitions through promoting word of mouth referrals[1] . It’s not about scoring a number: It’s about exceeding expectations, giving your patients something positive to say about your practice, and about the pride you feel in providing excellent service.

At Six Month Smiles, we ask our Providers that vital question – How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague? – and evaluate their responses each month. Our NPS is a core metric that is part of our Company Quality Policy. We take it seriously and it plays a significant part in driving our company goals. We are proud to say our NPS is 69. We are proud of our score and we continue to strive to meet customer excellence and achieve our goal of “every patient deserves to smile with confidence and every dentist can help.”

We encourage you to implement this best-practice measure in your practice. It only take a moment at the end of a patient’s appointment for them to complete the survey and it could prove to be a game-changer when it comes to growing your practice!

[1] Satmetrix Net Promoter® Benchmarks Data Sheet

Topics:Marketing InformationDental Practice TipsReviews


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