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It still feels too hot in the midwest for it to officially be Pumpkin Spice Season, but I’ll take any sign that cooler weather and football are on the way. So, as I wait for temperatures to drop out of the triple digits, let’s take a few moments this Friday to consider the consumer experience through the lens of Starbucks. As always, if there’s something I can do to assist you in your professional or personal goals, don’t be a stranger. Reach out to my team and join me on a monthly coaching call, where we all get smarter together… and make it a great weekend! – DUSTIN

In a world where convenience is king, businesses across industries are redefining the customer experience to meet evolving expectations. Orthodontics, a field deeply rooted in science and art, can take valuable cues from unexpected sources to enhance patient convenience and satisfaction. One such source of inspiration is none other than Starbucks, the global coffee giant that has mastered the art of customer convenience.

The Starbucks Magic

Imagine walking into a Starbucks, greeted by the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the friendly smile of a barista. What makes Starbucks stand out isn’t just its coffee; it’s the seamless experience they provide. From their mobile app ordering to personalized drink options, Starbucks has honed the art of making each visit a convenient and delightful one. And the lessons Starbucks offers can be applied to the world of orthodontics.

Personalization and Choices

Just as Starbucks allows you to customize your coffee exactly the way you want it, orthodontists can offer a personalized approach to treatment. Consider creating treatment plans that cater to individual preferences and needs. Offer choices in braces styles, aligner options, and treatment durations. Just as Starbucks offers a range of sizes and flavors, patients can have a say in their orthodontic journey, enhancing their sense of control and engagement. It’s amazing to me how often we try to shoehorn patients into one treatment system or set of objectives. If an adult patient has been told by every orthodontist in town that they need jaw surgery, but they don’t want jaw surgery, why should the patient have to live the rest of their lives with crooked teeth? We need to be better about giving patients more choices, and through informed consent, we should always include the option of limited treatment.

Streamlined Processes

Starbucks revolutionized the coffee experience with their mobile app, enabling customers to place orders in advance and skip the line. Similarly, orthodontic practices can streamline administrative tasks. Introduce online appointment scheduling, digital forms, and virtual consultations. By minimizing waiting times and paperwork, you create a smoother experience for patients, demonstrating that you value their time. It still boggles my mind that we can order and ship anything in the world with a single click but to schedule an orthodontic appointment in most offices, you have to pick up the phone or submit a webform that doesn’t schedule live into the practice software. Reach out to my friends at Greyfinch if you want to drastically improve the new patient intake process, including live scheduling into the software and automated next steps for delighting your customers. If 3-4 million consumers can show up to airports each month and find their way into an airline seat that was booked with a mobile app, why in the world can’t your orthodontic practice schedule a few thousand patients per month through a similarly-convenient process?

Embrace Technology

Starbucks leverages technology to anticipate customer preferences and offer personalized recommendations. In orthodontics, advancements like 3D scanning and digital treatment planning can provide a more accurate and efficient path to a perfect smile. Embrace technology that enhances precision, reduces treatment time, and keeps patients engaged in their progress. Our members are really enjoy using Light Force, In Hand Dental, DIBS by OrthoSelect, Invisalign’s Smile Architect tool and so much more. Put yourself in the patient’s shoes and thoughtfully consider how convenient or inconvenient your practice makes treatment for consumers.

Creating Comfortable Spaces

Starbucks’ inviting ambiance encourages customers to linger and enjoy their coffee. Similarly, orthodontic offices can focus on creating comfortable and welcoming environments. From a friendly and empathetic staff to soothing decor, a relaxed setting can ease patient anxiety and contribute to a positive experience. In the Gold Monthly Membership Program, I help doctors and their teams understand the importance of the five senses on their facilities. From lighting and sound to scent, touch and taste, your office is either (A) helping or (B) hurting new patient conversion. There is no option (C).

Empowering Through Education

Starbucks isn’t just about coffee; it’s also about education. Baristas educate customers about different blends and brewing methods. Likewise, orthodontists can empower patients with information about their treatment options and oral health. Providing educational resources and transparent discussions ensure patients make informed decisions and feel confident about their orthodontic journey. It’s so important to speak with patients at the level where they make decisions and not from our level of specialized experience. 

As the world evolves and customer expectations shift, it’s essential for orthodontists to adapt and prioritize patient convenience. Just as Starbucks offers a memorable experience beyond a cup of coffee, orthodontic practices can create a journey that goes beyond braces or aligners. By drawing inspiration from unexpected sources like Starbucks, we can elevate the orthodontic experience, offering personalized choices, embracing technology, streamlining processes, and creating comfortable spaces that resonate with patients. Remember, excellence in orthodontics isn’t just about achieving a perfect smile; it’s about providing a memorable and convenient journey that leaves patients so happy they’re excited to refer friends and family to your practice.


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