Patients care about the clinical skills of your dentist, of course. However, people being people, they are influenced by many other factors when it comes to their comfort level and satisfaction in your practice. One of the easiest places to achieve this is in your waiting room. Here, I’ve compiled a quick checklist for you to make sure your reception area is welcoming to all patients, new and returning. A patient’s stay in your reception area can set the tone for their entire experience. These easy and inexpensive tips will ensure a great start to a fantastic visit.
21 Quick Tips
- Have a pleasing front entrance. Do you have a welcome mat? What condition is it in?
- Make sure all outdoor signage is large and easy to read.
- Put some pretty plants or flowers outside, as a nice welcome, if your entrance is outdoors (as opposed to within a medical building).
- Nothing passes the time better than a good read and some great magazines. Make sure you have something for everyone. Replace and update magazines every 2-3 months.
- Display your doctor’s diplomas, awards and certifications. In fact, you should do this for the entire team! Do you have your “FAADOM” award or “AADOM Membership Certificate” on display?
- Have reading material available/brochures available on the latest technology you have implemented in your practice. An educated patient makes a great patient.
- Look at your floor. Do you see stains or tears? Is it time to replace it with new, updated flooring?
- Distractions: Many patients are anxious about being at the dentist. Soothing or upbeat music can help calm them. Or, a TV playing with fun, apolitical programming. These sounds will also drown out any anxiety-provoking noises coming from the back, like drills.
- What does your waiting room smell like? Some room plug-ins with pleasing aromas are an inexpensive investment. Remember to replace them as needed.
- It may be time to update your furniture. No patient appreciates tired-looking, worn out or uncomfortable furniture.
- Speaking of furniture, do you have ample furniture? Is there enough seating for everyone? Be sure to also have enough table space available for patients to put down drinks, personal belongings, etc.
- Live plants or flowers in the waiting room are always a nice touch. Make sure they are in top condition. You do not want dead plants around! Not only do some consider that bad luck, what does it say about your doctor if he/she can’t even keep a plant alive?
- DUST. Do you or your cleaning service dust every day? They should. Not only obvious surface areas. Undusted window sills and vents show neglect.
- Color scheme. Does your waiting area have a color scheme? It should. The color scheme should match your practice’s overall branding. Colors should be modern and calming.
- Is someone there to greet patients? Your reception area should never be unattended. The person in your reception area should be cheerful, polite and helpful and should acknowledge everyone.
- WiFi. Patients who can use their smartphones in your office while waiting are likely less likely to complain about the wait.
- Make sure outlets are accessible so patients can charge their phones or tablets while they wait.
- Be sure to have ample lighting. Nothing too homey, yet steer away from all fluorescent lighting which can have a cold feel.
- Have a coat rack or coat hooks available. An umbrella stand will also come in handy on rainy days.
- If you are in a pediatric office, the options are endless. Have a game area, stocked with toys or arcade games. An Xbox is also a great option and who doesn’t love a fish tank?
- Is your artwork up to date? Pleasing paintings or wall art that tie into your practices overall look and feel are ideal.
BONUS TIP: Are you going for a comfy feel or a modern one? There is no right answer. Just make sure you are consistent, and not creating a hodge-podge with thrown together furnishings
Some Final Thoughts
The best wait is no wait at all. Make sure you schedule in such a way that patients spend a minimal amount of time in your reception area. Their time is valuable. That being said, your reception area should be comfortable, pleasing, and a reflection of your practice. If it is time for an overhaul, consider spending money in an interior designer. This investment in your practice can reap big rewards.
This blog originally appeared on dentalmanagers.com