5 Ways to Keep Up with Clients’ Changing Expectations

by Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH

Things have changed since March 2020 in many respects. The way we practice, the way we communicate with our clients, and what is expected of us as dental professionals has also changed – are you doing enough to keep up?

We need to look at what our clients need and how we can best serve them.

Looking to explore this topic deeper, a study was conducted in February 20211 on the macro trends of consumer behaviour. In this study, researchers explored the over-arching themes in consumer behavior to better understand the major shifts that will direct the business landscape in the long-term.

There are five key takeaways from this study that can help shift the way we perceive the needs and wants of our clients:

1. The number one concern of our clients is to be proactive with their health and safety. It has been our primary job since the pandemic started to stay healthy and out of the hospitals (i.e., stay six feet apart, stay home, wash hands, wear a mask, get fresh air, eat and sleep well).

2. Home is the Self-Help Centre. Most of the public were staying home during the pandemic as they felt that was the safest place to stay. Because of this, many things shifted to at-home care. Doctor’s appointments shifted to online consultations when applicable, and dental assessments were done virtually. We are doing as much as possible to stay home and access care from our homes.

3. Clients expect instant gratification and convenience. When possible, we must have the tools on hand to give or sell to our clients rather than send them out to stores to look for products. The public expects this from us, and in my opinion, this has been a major hurdle in the dental practice. Why are we not offering our clients and patients the tools that they need to achieve optimal oral health at our own offices? When I was injured and needed physiotherapy, they didn’t send me out to purchase the compression sock, bands, and ball that I needed to get healthy. This is a roadblock that many dental offices cannot see. If we supply our clients with the tools they need, we will get them healthy.

A trial study conducted in 20202 reviews the efficacy of Oral-B iO oscillating-rotating with micro-vibrations power brush, Stannous Fluoride toothpaste, CPC rinse, and floss. The clinical findings were of such:

  • The first group (with gingivitis) that was using a manual brush with Sodium Fluoride toothpaste improved by 20%.
  • The group using the iO power brush and Stannous Fluoride toothpaste improved by 80%.
  • The third group who combined the Oral-B iO oscillating-rotating with micro-vibrations power brush, Stannous Fluoride toothpaste, CPC rinse, and floss improved by 100%.

So, why are we not sharing our professional discount with our clients and sending them home with the tools to help them? It is not an expense. We can’t not order these kits because “we don’t want to spend the money.” Your office can sell these packages to your clients. Get your clients healthy and your practice will grow.

4. Need for personalized trusted advice. We all want to feel heard and unique. Customize your client’s treatment and homecare recommendations based on their specific needs.

5. Digital is the new way of life. A great way to stay connected with your clients is to get them to download the Oral-B App that connects to their iO or Genius X power brush via Bluetooth®. When this app first came out, I was so excited. I couldn’t believe what just became available for dental offices, essentially for free! Staying connected with clients after their appointment is essential. It is part of the “after” appointment experience and a strategy that is important in every business and practice. The “after” experience is often dismissed as not important – but it is actually one of the most important ways to stay connected and engaged with your clients. When we created an “after” experience for our company, rdhu, after an event or a course, we started to see exponential growth. Staying connected with our members costs us a monthly fee, as it is part of our Customer Relations Management program. With the app, you can add your practice information, customize reminders about when to brush and floss, and make other personalized recommendations for your client. It can also remind them of their next appointment! This is all… for free! Hence, the reason why I was so excited, as this alone is a gift for dental practices that is priceless.

An Ipsos study conducted May 20213 shows that clients expect more from us. They want us to understand them. To feel heard. They want us to value their time and improve their lives.

Now is the time for change. Now is the time we can shift the status quo and deliver excellence to get our clients, and essentially the world, healthy.


  1. P&G Consumer Pulse Panel Data Feb 2021.
  2. Adam R., et al., Anti-Gingivitis and Anti-Plaque Efficacy of an Oral Hygiene Routine
    including Oral-B iO Oscillating-Rotating Electric Toothbrush, Stannous Fluoride
    Dentifrice, CPC Rinse and Floss: Results from a 12-week Trial. Data on file, 2020.
  3. Ipsos May 2021 Online Survey. Perfect Patient Experience Study.

About the Author

Kathleen is the president of rdhu, a Professional Development company, which provides team events, hands-on programs and online learning to help Transform the Dental Hygiene Experience for the clinician, the client/patient and the practice. rdhu.ca

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