As you very well know, going to the dentist is hardly a top 10 favorite activity of most people. Many people dread their biannual visits. The good news is that you can help leave a positive, lasting impression and secure long-term patients by making a few easy changes to create a more welcoming experience.
Study Your Demographics
If your patients are mostly representative of a specific demographic, be sure to decorate your waiting room and patient rooms accordingly. If you specialize in pediatric dentistry, make sure your designs are kid forward and kid friendly. If your patients are primarily young professionals, create a trendy and aesthetically pleasing ambiance. If you have a more general and mixed clientele of people from all different ages and interests, use a more neutral design palette.
Make it Engaging and Entertaining
Despite your demographics, make your office space engaging and entertaining. This is particularly critical in the waiting room. Keep the minds of your patients busy and engaged so that they do not have time to become nervous or anxious. You can offer traditional reading material, fun and informational dental videos or dental trivia, tablets secured to the furniture that offer games and electronic reading materials and much more. Do not forget to offer kid-friendly activities for the youngsters.
Offer Free WiFi
People are becoming more and more accustomed to free WiFi, and it can easily influence the choice of patients as they decide which dentist to choose under their new policies or when they move. Many people become irritated they have to take time off work to go to the dentist. If they have access to the Internet for free, they can continue working uninterrupted. This will provide them with a more positive experience and put patients in a better mood before they get in the chair. WiFi also allows people, young and old alike, to play games on their mobile devices and people can share their experience immediately on social media to provide you with free advertising,
Hire the Right Staff
The right staff is essential to a welcoming environment. Your team should understand the importance of customer service and patient care equally. All employees should have a positive attitude and be friendly at all times. Patients should each be greeted with a genuine smile and a welcoming tone. It is also important that staff be hygienic and neat in appearance to make patients comfortable at all times. And, be sure the staff is dressed in appropriate and friendly uniforms so that you do not offend or put off patients during their visit.
Have you considered swag bags? Everyone loves freebies. You can offer them before or after their appointment. You might include anything such as coupons to other local businesses or additional dental services, floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, sugar-free candies or mints, apples, information on trendy dental care practices, magnets or anything you find relevant. You do not have to spend a lot of money to make the swag bag highly impactful on the association of a positive experience and the dentist.
Differentiate your dental practice from your competition with amenities your clientele highly desire. You should absolutely have a charging station. Many technology, mobile, Internet and utility companies provide them without cost to businesses for the free advertising. You might even offer an electric car charging station as more and more people make the switch. Do not forget to have a bike rack. This is probably one of the least expensive and wisest investments to attract younger people who are likely to be your patients for a much longer period of time. Offer free beverages as people wait. And, allow people to pay by any number of payment options from mobile payments and online payments to checks and credit cards.
When you make your patients feel welcome, they will feel more relaxed, be more likely to share a positive experience with others through word of mouth or social media and it will increase your patient load. Some of these changes may require a small investment in the short term, however the long-term ROI will far exceed such minor costs now.