The authors tested the effect of preceptor feedback to residents of patients' ratings of perceived art and technical quality of care on residents' subsequent performances. New ambulatory patients were asked to complete questionnaires measuring satisfaction with physician behavior during initial encounters. Sixty-eight residents were evaluated by 424 patients over a six-month period. Continuing residents with the lowest scores were assigned to a feedback or a non-feedback group. Residents in the feedback group were individually shown their mean scores on each item, as well as scores for all residents, and were then advised of physicians' behaviors that could increase patient satisfaction. During a subsequent six-month survey of new patients, scores in the feedback group improved more than those in the non-feedback group in art of care, technical quality, and total patient satisfaction (p less than 0.001).