Dental practice waiting room upgrades

Impressing patients and earning new referrals takes more than simply providing top-notch dental care. Growing your dental practice means keeping your eye on the entirety of your patients’ experience.

Face it, few people are thrilled to be next in line to sit in your chair. Some are nervous. Some have small children to contend with. And most everyone is busy.

Make the experience a positive one and patients notice. The waiting room is your first opportunity to tell patients, “We care about you!”

Know your patients

Planning a waiting room that caters to your clientele means getting to know your patients.

Age, income and education level, gender, familial status, location–all these characteristics work together to determine the needs of your target audience. A practice catering to median-earning young families will look and feel different from one that serves high-income professionals.

Upgrade the décor

It’s not 1980. Your office décor should reflect this.

While you need not invest exorbitant sums of money, you do need the place to look modern and up-to-date. Set the tone the moment patients walk through the door with a pleasant and eye-catching ambiance. Hang art that’s interesting to look at. Engage patients visually and they will perceive wait times to be shorter than they actually are.

Comfy furniture

In a perfect world, patients won’t be waiting for long. In reality, sometimes they’ll have no choice.

Chairs should be comfortable and plentiful. Remember that patients often arrive with a spouse, friend or children. Arrange seating in a variety of formations. This isn’t a classroom and it’s not the DMV. Think less in rows and more how you’d arrange the furniture if you were running a coffee shop. Some people don’t like to sit next to strangers so make sure they don’t have to.

Appeal to techies

Free Wi-Fi is no longer seen as an extra. Nowadays it’s a must have. Make an impression with charging stations or even a pair of work desks to allow patients to be productive while they wait.

Refreshments

A coffee bar and complimentary bottled water pay dividends that well outpace their cost.

Video

Custom videos. Private label television. Short clips, cable TV or movies. Studies have shown that entertaining patients with digital signage decreases perceived wait time by up to 33%. This means that a 30-minute wait now feels like a 20-minute wait.

Sign-in kiosks

Allow patients more control over their visit with optional sign-in kiosks. Patients can check themselves in instead of waiting in line and utilize wait time to update their information or schedule their next appointment.

Think Outside the Box

A cozy fireplace. Play room for kids. Indoor plants. Vending machines. Even a complimentary massage chair. Wow patients with unexpected amenities and you’ll never hear the end of it. In a good way.