Let’s face it, patients struggle enough to maintain their dentist appointments without the awkwardness of uncomfortable waiting room experiences. Outdated decor, cramped seating, no Wi-Fi… all these and more can dissatisfy and dissuade patients—especially younger generations—from returning to your office, even before they ever meet you and your staff. How can you ensure your patients feel comfortable while they wait (be honest, sometimes it’s quite a while) to see you? We have 5 proven waiting room updates you can implement immediately that are sure to impress your patients!
- Stress-Free Seating. Patients can feel uncomfortable sitting in your waiting room chairs for reasons other than a lack of personal space. Outdated or worn-out furniture gives the impression of uncleanliness, which may be more stressful than sitting too close to strangers. Swapping old seating for modern chairs and couches and updating their layout can give your waiting room a stylized, boutique feel without looking cramped or unwelcoming.
- Little Luxuries. Coffee, water, and healthy snacks can be a great addition to your waiting room. But don’t stop at the complimentary food and beverages. Offering free Wi-Fi (and a few extra wall outlets) allows patients to continue working even while they wait and gives moms an easy way to keep their children entertained with smartphones and tablets. Even a variety of magazines or educational pamphlets can spark patients’ interest. Just be sure you have the latest edition available!
- Timely Updates. Keeping patients informed about their wait time can be an added benefit to your practice, especially if you’re busy and prone to falling behind. Even though no one likes waiting, it’s helpful for patients to be aware of how much time is left in case they need to make a phone call or use the restroom. Appointment updates can be as simple as an automated text message alerting your patient you are running a little behind.
- Local Connection. Showing patients your involvement in the community is a great way for patients to connect with you and their community. Consider adding a bulletin board to your waiting room where local activities, events, or updates can be posted. If you are involved in local charities, this is a great way to showcase how you give back to the community and encourage patients to become involved locally as well.
- Patient Focus. Consider the average demographic of your patients when updating your waiting room. Do you have a lot of elderly patients who need wheelchair accessibility or are a family practice who sees lots of children? Making accommodations for your target patient base can help put them at ease in a waiting room that is designed for their comfort. Similarly, if you want to attract a more high-end patient base, consider creating a more luxurious, boutique waiting room atmosphere.