“When you disappoint someone (or exceed their expectations), that interaction is going to color all the interactions that person has tomorrow and next year.”

– Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception

When a patient visits your practice for the first time, it’s important to embrace the opportunity to influence their perception of how a visit to a dental office should proceed.

If you take the time to palpate her lymph nodes and obviously observe and explain your analysis of her mucosa; if you take the time to talk about her family history and past experiences with dental professionals, you will have set yourself apart from the dentist who skips some of these steps as he rushes from one appointment to another. If we slow down, spend time and interact with our patients, that is what they will expect. 

So, when a patient changes dentists (maybe she found a better price or one a little closer to work) your influence will come into play. Your patient’s expectations will be higher, and if the new dentist fails to meet her demands, she’ll come back because she’ll notice. 

She’ll notice that he skipped a step; that he doesn’t care or isn’t as thorough as you are. Suddenly, the lower price is no longer the better price.