The look and feel of a dental clinic are as important as the quality of services it provides. The waiting room is going to be the introduction of your business, as well as serve as a transitional space. You want your patient to be as comfortable as possible as they wait for their appointment.
Since a patient will spend most of their time in the waiting room, before or even after an appointment, start there. It is important to keep in mind that excellent investments at the beginning of setting up or at the time of refurbishing a practice are better than losing customers later. The aim is to make the entire experience pleasant, right from the time the patient steps through the door to the time they leave.
1. Spruce up your waiting room
There are a lot of elements in a clinic that can make the dental experience very daunting. One reason is that the environment resembles a hospital with the equipment and the smell of sterilizers. We can change a few things in a clinic to make a pleasant difference in the ambiance.
One way to make patients feel at ease would be to select a soothing palette and a color that is easy on the eyes. Using color psychology, one can influence a person to be calm simply by using a specific shade of a color. Employing neutral colors like creams and greys or even earthy tones can instill a sense of serenity. Using colors like blue, green, and yellow can evoke a sense of confidence and can boost a person’s mood.
Invest in comfortable furniture:
Discomfort can affect anxiety levels, hence having comfortable seats is a great idea. Plastic and metal chairs might be great for the budget, but they might not be the best for your patients. They will also help the clinic look more relaxed and intimate. Invest in comfortable sofas or recliners, mostly chairs with some form of arm-rests are preferable.
Update magazines and pamphlets/posters:
Old posters with torn edges or dull print will make the clinic seem outdated and unkempt. For a neat and professional look, make sure that all magazines and pamphlets are up to date, posters are well-kept, and the tables are spotless. To go the extra mile, have an array of dental magazines that detail the regular upkeep of teeth outside the clinic.
Eliminate potent scents:
Sterilizers usually have a pungent smell and are reminiscent of hospitals. Using scented candles and essential oil extraction might not be a good idea since preference for scents may vary, and a few patients might be sensitive to it. One way to neutralize the hospital smells is to use coffee grounds placed in the corners of the clinic to absorb odors. One can also use baking soda and lemons when cleaning to eradicate any powerful smells that may linger.
Employing visual and auditory distractions can be a great way to take the patient’s mind off the upcoming procedure or pain from treatment. It can even work as background noise to make the clinic seem more welcoming and relaxed. However, it is a good idea to keep the noise at a minimum to not disturb patients or cause sensory problems for patients with anxiety or nondivergent patients.
2. Politeness should be a foundational block of your clinic
Dental appointments can be nerve-racking for many people because of a plethora of reasons, ranging from bad dental experiences in the past, anxiety issues, sensory issues to anticipatory pain. This anxiety can increase tenfold at the prospect of talking to in-clinic personnel that may seem unapproachable in their uniforms. This anxiety surrounding dental treatment can also result in skipping appointments. The best way to deal with this issue is to have a very approachable and amiable staff.
Training professionals to be approachable and easy to talk to can do wonders for patients who are anxious about their appointment/treatment. A brief conversation about the treatment and answering a patient’s concerns can put them at ease and make them feel heard.
It is important to keep in mind that the patient will have a big part of the conversation with the staff in the waiting-room, since that is the first point of contact for a patient, whether it be over a phone call or in-person. Hence, having well-trained and polite staff is imperative to the ambiance and the success of the business. Satisfied patients in the waiting room will be a great indicator of how well a clinic does on the customer service front.
3. Organize the patient flow
Having a proper flow of patients is imperative to reduce the wait time before treatment. It is best to organize the workspace and properly plan the waiting room. The clinic should have labeled stations set up in such a way that in-coming patients and out-going patients do not run in each other. The space should look organized and neat. A constant bustle in the waiting room is bound to lead to a lot of noise and movement, which is a factor that can affect anxiety and peace in the clinic.
Making a few changes in the environment can create a good ambiance in the waiting room or the operation space is not expensive and certainly does not take a lot of strategic thinking. They are simple and quite cheap to implement and maintain.
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