Does your waiting room need some improvement? Does it reflect your practice? Does it put nervous patients at ease? Does it keep children entertained? If you’ve answered no to any of these questions then take a took at our tips below:
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
Sometimes we can forget how nerve-wracking some people find visiting the dentist, so try and create a relaxing atmosphere for your patients.
- Play some relaxing music. Work out your patient demographic and play something age appropriate. Don’t blast out Kiss FM to a waiting room of OAP’s (yes this actually happens).
- Try and limit noise from the reception desk. Could the ringing volume on the phone be turned down?
- Use an essential oil diffuser to aid relaxation and calm nerves. View their many benefits.
Keep Children Entertained
Anyone with kids knows only too well how stressful it is to be sat in a waiting room with children, so why not make it fun for them? You never know, they might even look forward to coming and recommend you to their friends too!
- If possible create a space just for children. You don’t need a huge area for this. I once visited a practice that created a little den under their stairs which the children loved!
- Have decent toys for a range of ages and keep them updated, there’s nothing worse than broken toys with bits missing. Buy hard wearing toys that will last. This rainbow stacking toy by Grimm’s is hard wearing, good for many ages and will look beautiful in any waiting room.
- During half term waiting rooms are usually packed full of kids so why not have some activities available just for that week? You could make a DIY photo booth using these awesome dental props. Or try this brushing activity for younger kids. You can even advertise this on your website and social media, a post like that would get a great response.
Take Pride in your Waiting Room
The waiting room is a reflection of the whole practice and patients will judge you on it. Your waiting room needs to be a positive representation of your practice.
- Keep it clean! Your waiting room might be pristine in the morning but is it still clean and tidy nearer the end of the day? It might be an idea to get your reception team to check the waiting room area every couple of hours and give it a quick tidy.
- Use picture frames instead of blu tac for your signs and posters. Framed signs look a lot better than ripped posters with curled edges.
- Seating is important! No one wants to sit on grubby looking chairs with the stuffing coming out, so inspect them regularly and replace if necessary.
- Don’t leave your patients standing! I’ve seen on many occasions patients having to stand because there’s not enough chairs available. If you don’t call patients from the waiting room yourself then this might be an issue that you are unaware of.
- Make sure there is a bin available with tissues near by. Everyone comes to the dentist with gum in their mouth!
- Have drinks available. It’s a known fact that your mouth dries up when you’re nervous so patients would really appreciate having cold water available. You could even go one step further and have hot drinks available for the early arrivers and when you’re running late!
Waiting rooms can be boring so try making yours more entertaining.
- Make WiFi available and advertise your website and social media on posters. Encourage people to check in on Facebook for free advertising. If you’re ‘down with the kids’ then take a selfie with them on the dental chair for them to post on Instagram. Social media is a great marketing tool for dental practices and should not be over looked.
- Throw out the old magazines!! There’s nothing worse than a waiting room full of old ripped magazines that are falling apart and no one wants to read about what Kerry Katona did on her holiday in 2012! How about getting daily papers for people to read or monthly magazine subscriptions? You can even get free monthly magazines with Free Mags if you’re happy to have a couple of advertising posters. Quality over quantity is important.
- If you use a TV for marketing then the loop needs to be reasonably long. It’ll drive your patients insane if you have the same 5 minute loop running over and over again. How about just having the TV on a news channel (on mute with subtitles on if you’re playing music). Think about what you’d like to see if you were sat there waiting?
- Make it personal. You could have staff pictures on display with a little bit written about them. This makes things more personable and could help your patients relax further.
- Have an interesting wall display and change it up every month. You could have things like a wall of interesting dental facts, cheesy dental jokes or even some local art work. You can get personalised posters cheaply made online using People Per Hour.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful, why not take some time out of your day to just sit in your waiting room. Pop it on the agenda for your next practice meeting to get everyone’s opinions.