In a world of orthodontic shoppers, what can orthodontic practices do to make parents decide to look no further than their office? The answer is simple: your practice must create value.

First, ask yourself a difficult question: Do patients perceive the value of treatment? More specifically, do they sense the value of coming to your office in particular? Many don’t. Even worse, they may feel they’ll receive identical orthodontic treatment elsewhere at a better price. The recent recession has helped amplify this perception.

In fact, the economy has created a new consumer mind-set. Because of added pressure on family finances, parents are more hesitant about accepting treatment for their children. The one factor that will negate this behavior is creating strong value for recommended treatment in your practice. In customer satisfaction surveys, most practices receive positive statistics concerning treatment and service, but tend to score lower than expected on value. Given that parents want to like their orthodontist and the team, a low perception of value is dangerous to any practice.

The creation of value begins with the first new-patient phone call—long before parents walk through the door. The practices that understand how to establish and sustain a perception of high value with their parents and adult patients will grow in the new economy. Those that don’t must settle for just getting by … or worse.

In the new economy, the message is clear. If parents see orthodontic treatment as a price-sensitive decision, your practice’s ability to convey value has to be higher—much higher—than ever before. To make this happen, you will need to put in place new management and marketing systems and do comprehensive staff training.

In the post-recession world, show parents why your office is the best choice and orthodontic shopping will stop—at your door.

Roger P. Levin, DDS