So, you’re a professional dentist near Skye, and you’ve opened up your practice only to discover that what you thought would be an easy success in an area where dentists are needed is actually struggling. Why? Assuming that your reputation and standards of care are excellent, which we will do, then there can only be one thing you’re missing: the waiting room.
If you think the waiting room is just a space for people to sit and wait in until it’s their turn, you have badly misread and misunderstood the situation. You should do everything you can to make the waiting room your most perfect space, and here’s how:
1. Put in Comfortable Seats
First and foremost, we have a simple proposition, and that’s to invest in comfortable seats, preferably those that offer some kind of storage space added in, and that aren’t crammed together like sardines in a can. When customers are happy just sitting, they’ll be coming back to wait in the future.
2. Update the Reading Selection
Is there anything more depressing than waiting to have some dentist drill into your teeth? Actually, there is, and it’s waiting for a dentist to drill your teeth while only having 2-year-old fishing magazines and fashion publications that even the older customers are called old-hat. Start with an array of up-to-date publications that cover news, fashion, local interests, and so on, but offer customers the chance to pitch in ideas for things they’d like to see.
You don’t have to get everything that every individual asks for, but a quick survey of your customers might reveal more demand for a certain publication or genre that you currently don’t stock. Understanding your customer base always helps with this.
3. Include a Kids’ Play Area
If you’re not accommodating your patients’ children — some of whom may also be your patients — then you’re not doing this dentist thing right. Creating an area with children’s toys, perhaps screens that they can play on, means you can help parents out during longer waits by keeping the kids engaged and entertained. If you make the toys educational, with some puzzle-based options, sensory play toys, and so on, then you can even make playtime valuable if they’re missing school to be there!
4. Keep a Contemporary Art Collection
When they’re not reading anything, let their eyes wander a little to take a look at the stunning pieces of art that you’ve put on the walls. You could cooperate with local artists or galleries to feature pieces there (with their information and/or advertising), which also will allow you to rotate the art every season or every year, allowing fresh, new works to be up each time patients are coming back. The art-gallery dentist waiting room would certainly stand out from the crowd.
5. Consider Self-Service Check-In
For those who don’t mind, why not install a self-serve check-in so that patients arriving can quickly press a few buttons on a touchscreen or swipe a card and check themselves in. You can always keep receptionists on hand to handle those who don’t wish to use the automated system. This way, everyone gets what they want, and your lines will move faster.
6. Use a Pager System
Finally, if things fall behind schedule, don’t keep patients just sitting and waiting, confined in that room. Offer them the chance, if they wish, to take a pager and go for a walk outside, maybe enjoy nearby amenities. You can buzz them when they’re about to be next in line, signaling that they need to come back. It works because it gives the patients more options and helps them to feel as though they are more in control of their time.