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Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" style of presentations and writing will make you smile or just shock you into taking some action. Either way, she is very effective at empowering others to reach their goals and feel better about themselves. Her entertaining workshops are available for national and international audiences. Writing for the dental industry since 2010, she uses an alterego (Diana Directive) to illustrate her points in a sarcastic but effective way. Presentations can be scheduled by contacting Lisa at www.discussdirectives.com/dental.html.
Your waiting room gives patients their first impression of your office-but is it a good one?
Your patient walks in… what are they thinking? “What a dump?” “What a tiny room you have to wait in?” “Will that crying kid shut up already?”
Patients may have a wide range of reactions to walking into the dentist’s waiting room. The question really is, what will make it … “the place to be?” We rounded up a collection of suggestions that will make your patients' waiting-room experiences more enjoyable.
Continue to the next page to see eight ways you can improve the patient experience from the second they walk in the door.
1. Better music
Music means a lot of things to a lot of different people. (I still haven’t figured out why folks think elevator music is the way to go. Boring!) Why not put a little pizzazz in there? Put some music on that pumps you up. After all, when someone is jamming, they are less likely to be bored or anxious.
2. Better magazines
Maybe “better” isn’t the right word, but a “better variety” would make more sense. Just because patients tend to look at their phones nowadays doesn’t mean you should stop having reading materials out. After all, phones can run out of juice, right? Why not have a vast selection that isn’t just “Better Housekeeping” and “People Magazine”?
3. Accessible WIFI
In this day and age, you must have WiFi. And, please don’t require a security code. If you do, post it on the wall so that patients don’t have to ask for it-which some people feel uncomfortable doing.
4. Accessible coffee
Please make sure that the pot is accessible to patients. I really hate having to give my order to the receptionist so that she can make it in the back. How am I supposed to know what flavors you have? Also, keep the hot chocolate as an option so that I can give it to my kids to keep them quiet.
5. Child-friendly area of the room
Create a place where kids can go so they can stop kicking my chair when I am minding my own business. It is so frustrating when their parent doesn’t stop this obnoxious behavior. Can’t really blame the kid-after all, kids get bored.They need bribes and treats, and providing those can be an easy way to make the experience much better for children, parents-and everyone else in the waiting room!
6. Pleasant front office staff
The first person patients come in contact with is crucial at maintaining your brand. Please make sure that your staff is warm, friendly and engaging. Otherwise, why bother with anything else you are doing?
Patients don’t want to think about the pain they are in or how bored they are. TV is a huge distraction that can distract and rachet down anxiety levels. Think about the patients!!
8. Cosmetic updates
How the space looks matters. If new furniture isn’t an option, how about a fresh coat of paint? Artwork doesn’t have to cost much, but it can liven up a room. Put some plants in and water them. Dead plants just don’t do it for your office. Think about how realtors stage a house when they put it on the market; it’s the same concept.
You may wonder why I would take the time to write about something as superficial as how to upgrade your waiting rooms. It is simple: It is about your brand. You want to grow your business. When you have the business, you want to keep it. Look at your waiting room through the eyes of your patients. Is this “the place you want to be”?
If you have any other suggestions for upgrading waiting rooms, email firstname.lastname@example.org