There are many excuses people give for missing their dental appointments. At the top of the list is the frustration at having wasted time in a waiting room. Too many dental offices are full of bland, sterile colors and furniture choices and stocked with the same outdated magazines. The rooms themselves can make the wait seem interminable.
Unfortunately, the waiting room can be a second thought in the design phase of a new or expanding office since it has the least function. To put your patients at ease, however, it may be the most important room in your space. Consider the comfort and aesthetics of your waiting room so that your captive audience feels more captivated and less frustrated.
You may have ideas about what you want for the waiting room space, but take time to consider what’s best for your patients. Ask your staff if they remember ever getting any complaints from patients about the quality of the waiting room. Think about these comments as you develop a plan for your new waiting room, and consider the following tips as well.
Technology is More Affordable and Flexible Today
Most patients will expect some form of entertainment or reading material in the waiting room at your office. It’s true that most of us spend a lot of free time staring at our smartphones. A spread of magazines and access to television tells your patients that you want them to be comfortable and relax before their exam.
A television is an affordable and easy solution. Just make sure you set it up in such a way that children cannot knock it down or change the channels. A wall or ceiling mount is usually ideal, because more people will be able to see it from any angle.
Keep the remote control at the front desk, and if you run a pediatric dental office, having some kids’ movies on hand will pay off tremendously. Parents will be grateful for distractions for fussy children. If your usual patients are older, you can keep the news and weather channels on. Just do your best to avoid playing any controversial subject matter so you don’t potentially alienate any patients.
Leverage the Waiting Room for Marketing
A waiting room doesn’t have be just a place for your patients to sit and wait. Rather, it can provide information on products and services in digital and print formats. Most dental device manufacturers offer information sheets about their products to both dental professionals and patients. If you have any such literature, make it available to patients in the waiting room.
If you have a subscription to any dental periodicals, consider keeping these in the waiting room as well. Chances are, most patients will be curious about new developments in dental technology and dental techniques. Use these magazines to pique their interest and potentially generate more revenue through the services they request.
Consider Streaming Digital Signage
Marketers are abuzz about digital signage today and for good reason. Digital signs are far more cost-effective, memorable, and useful than static signage. You can construct a digital display in the waiting room and use it to provide your waiting patients with various bits of useful information. Digital signage is incredibly versatile, so work with your design team to figure out the best way to use it for your office.
A high-end digital display is also going to convey value to your patients. They’re going to see that your practice is a cut above the typical dental office, and a digital sign can be a delightful, simple way to stay entertained before a dental exam.
There are countless ways you can make your waiting room more functional. Every practice is different, so don’t hesitate to consult experts about your ideas. At HJT Dental Office Consultants, we specialize in helping dental offices redesign their spaces into something unique and memorable, including waiting rooms. Reach out to our team if you want to make your waiting room work for your practice.