Creating a Memorable Experience for Your Clients

by Misti Patrella

I was sitting in the chair, waiting. My hands, clamped tight, were starting to sweat. I was looking around, for someone…anyone to walk by.

I admit to the world that this is not my strong suit. It never has been.  I am courageous about many things. The dentist isn’t one of them.

In my own defense, I spent 8 years of my youth in an orthodontic appliance of some sort or another. And I’ve had braces, twice. My mouth was a mess. I now have great teeth thank you the intervention of my parents and the sadistic tendencies of Dr. Beckwith. But, I definitely still have trauma when sitting in that robot space chair.

Now, back to my current predicament.  It seemed like they were taking an inordinate amount of time to start the actual cleaning.  Not only were my nerves raw, but I was getting frustrated. Then the very knowledgeable lady from the front desk came into the room.

“Uh-oh.  Something is up, ” I said nervously.

“I’m sorry, but we just checked and we don’t accept your insurance,” she replied with a sheepish look on her face. “My apologies. We should have been more clear when we you made the appointment.”

I had the bib on, and they’d already taken the x-rays.

“What? Really?”

“Yeah. Actually, I tell all of our patients who are self-insured (I own my own business – not a lot of options) that it’s better not to have that dental insurance. You just end up paying out-of-pocket anyway.”

“Man! They didn’t tell me that! Well, thank you.” I started to undo the bib. I was mad, but it wasn’t her fault. I was about to the front door, when I heard her say something to the dentist.

Then I heard, “You know what? We’ll clean your teeth anyway.”

I was shocked. “What? Really?”

Sometimes an upset client is an opportunity to deepen a relationship – not to lose one. 

“Sure. Like I said, It’s our fault for not double-checking when you made the appointment. We’ll clean your teeth for free.  ”

It took me a second to process.  “You are going to give me a free cleaning?”


“Okay!” I agreed with a huge grin on my face.

I then proceeded to have an amazing cleaning where we laughed the whole time. It was pretty much the best dentist appointment I’ve ever had. Thank you so much to the amazing Dr. Eric Ulm and the lovely and hilarious staff at Maxtown Family Dental.

Now getting a free teeth cleaning may not seem like the basis for a blog article. But what actually happened was sheer brilliance on the part of my new dentist. Let’s review.

  1. They took responsibility – They immediately took responsibility  for the situation.  Realizing that it could have been prevented on their end.
  2. They took action quickly – They decided to turn the situation around in a matter of seconds.  They didn’t let me leave the office.
  3. They went above and beyond to fix it – There could have been a whole bunch of different resolutions to the situation, but the one they chose one that had a lot of value.  They went big. Basically making it difficult for me to say no – awesome.
  4. They made the resolution fun – They shifted the energy of the situation and we all ended up enjoying each other.

Next time that you are worried about a client being upset, create a resolution as big and beautiful as my free teeth cleaning. Sometimes an upset client is an opportunity to deepen a relationship – not to lose one. Not only do I have a new dentist – but I’ve told a ton of people how amazing I think Dr. Ulm and his staff are. Truly Awesome!

How do you create memorable experiences for your clients?  Share below!!


6 thoughts on “Creating a Memorable Experience for Your Clients

  1. It was my very first paid photography job. I went to the client’s house to photograph her 6 month old. I brought my speedlites since I’d be doing an indoor shoot. I set up my softbox in the baby’s room… She was ready for me and in a great mood. Then I began to test my lighting with the trigger on my camera… Nothing happened! I could not get my flash to work with my trigger for anything. The longer this went on, the more nervous and incapacitated I became. Clearly I was not a real photographer. What should I do to save face?
    So I looked at mom, who was trying not to show that she thought I was incompetent… And decided to just tell her the truth… That I could not get my lighting to work. I told her that I was refunding her sitting fee and going to redo the shoot for free. A week later I had her bring her daughter to my house– having set up and tested and re tested my lighting set up, and having a sleepless night. We had a successful shoot and one image I got that day remains one of my favorite image I ever took.
    She has called me back since. I’m redeemed…and I didn’t quit photography.

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