Sometimes We Forget That Our Patients Have Choices

Patients Have Choices.

From time to time, as Dentists, we’ll be surprised by the actions of our patients.

And I guess that’s because, as people, they have minds of their own, and as such, have the ability to reason and rationalize the decisions that they make.


It’s said that humans make buying decisions in the first instance emotionally and then subsequently justify those decisions with reasons of logic and rationalization.

Throughout my thirty two years of practicing dentistry in private practice and treating patients nearly exclusively on a fee for service basis, I’ve come across some decisions by patients that have left me stunned and humbled, and other decisions by patients that I’ve felt were not reflective of the trust and relationship that I thought that I may have had with them.

It’s funny.

When we first graduate and begin private practice, we feel that patients will instantly like us and follow us from location to location, within a reasonable distance.

And that doesn’t happen.

We start working as an associate dentist in a well established Dental Office and we help a patient of that Office out of trouble with such amazing care. And then the next time that patient comes back, they’re in seeing their regular Senior Partner or Owner Dentist, as if we’ve never even helped them?

And that does happen….

Before I purchased in Parramatta in 1987 I worked for three years prior in a suburb only ten kilometres

away. And when I left there, I thought that lots of those patients that I’d treated there would follow me to what now was my own Dental Office.

Not many did.

Sure a few did, and most of those are still with me this year, some twenty-eight years on. But others?

“It’s too far.”
“It’s too hard to park”…

You know the reasons.

In my third year in Parramatta there was an earthquake in Newcastle NSW, a big city some hundred miles away. Two of my good friends were working in different Dental Offices there in Newcastle.

Now earthquakes in Australia are as rare as hen’s teeth. They just do not happen. So my friends thought that as a result of this earthquake, dentistry in Newcastle would become an afterthought.

Not so.

To the contrary, my friends were busier.

And busier with patients of Dental Offices that were affected by the quake.

My friends would tell these new patients that their Dentist had only relocated to rooms around the corner, and it was still business as usual, while their original rooms were being repaired or replaced. And the new patients would reply:

“Yes, I know. But it was time for a change.”

So much for loyalty?

Or supposed loyalty?

Lastly, there have been times when we’ve all performed complex restorative Dentistry and expensive work on patients only to never see them again even for hygiene and maintenance?

Are you instantly putting names and faces into your mind now?

I still remember the first time this happened to me.

A lady, for whom money was no object, had her mouth totally restored with porcelain crowns from ear to ear, yet was never able to return for hygiene maintenance?

Only thirty-five minutes drive?

Twice per year?

It happens to us all.

The only commonality of patients is that they’re all different to some degree.

And though, en masse, they’ll behave in trends, there will always be exceptions in their behaviours that will surprise and astound you.

People are all different.

So when you implement change, be it treatment change, location change, or decorative and renovation change, expect the unexpected.

To some degree.

Some small degree.

There’ll always be exceptions to every rule.

Don’t become disheartened by those exceptions.

They will be rare and infrequent.

So long as you provide good Dentistry with an Exceptional Experience for your patients, the vast majority of those patients will stick with you in droves.


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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