Steps to Handling Optical Patient Complaints


I don’t know about you, but I rarely complain, I just don’t go back. But when I do complain, I do go back, whether it was resolved or not. I just feel better if I let them know what went wrong. Because if it went wrong with me, it went wrong with someone else. If the complaint was handled right, I make recommendations to other people to use the service and or products.

Follow and practice the following guidelines, you might be able to not only keep patients, but gain referrals as well. 

12 Steps to Handling Optical Patient Complaints.  

1.) Listen

Stop and give your undivided attention to the patient. If you are on the phone, make appropriate responses so the patient knows you are listening. Do not argue, do not interrupt- let the patient get it all out!

2.) Repeat

Repeat the complaint back to the patient to confirm you heard them and understand. 

3.) Apologize

Immediately, whether it’s your fault or not. “I’m sorry you had to go through that” Do it without agreeing to guilt on your part or on behalf of the practice. 

4.) Empathize

Acknowledge their feelings. ‘I don’t blame you for being upset.’ 

5.) Discover 

Find out all the information about the problem. You can’t solve the problem until you know exactly what the problem is. This will also help you decide the best way to handle the complaint. 

6.) Ask

Ask the optical patient what they would like to have happen. 

7.) Act

Suggest solutions. Get the patient’s approval on the recommended action. If no immediate action is apparent, assure the patient that an appropriate manager will be informed and that he or she can expect a response.

8.) Thank The Patient

Thank the patient for taking time to to let you know. Assure them that patient satisfaction is important to your optical office. 

9.) Document 

Give any patient with a complaint an opportunity to document it. A simple form that contains the patient’s name and date of the complaint, the patient’s statement of the problem, the staff member’s statement or response, a description of the action taken, and the staff member’s signature with a date. The form both assures patients that their complaints are taken seriously and provides documentation that can help forestall potential problems and educate staff on how to prevent future similar complaints

10.) Ask Again 

Is there anything else you can help them with? 

11.) Follow Up

Follow up with any issues after the fact. Do what you said that you would do to solve the complaint. 

12.) Track and Discuss with Optical Team

The reason why filling out patient complaint cards is so valuable it because you have a tracking method. Tracking Patient Complaints will help you implement solutions to prevent future problems. 


Where Patients Can Complain 

In the US General Optical Counsel 

In the UK: Patient UK 

Claire Goldsmith MidPage


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