Tags – Impressing with the Dental Waiting Room


If you’re a dentist, you know that first impressions are key. 

You only get one chance to make a good impression on your patients, and the waiting room is the first opportunity you have to do so. 

Many dentists make the mistake of thinking that the waiting room is simply a place for patients to wait until they’re called back. 

However, it’s not just a holding place for patients to sit and wait – it’s where their entire experience begins, and plays a key role in how your practice is perceived. 

That said, your waiting room should not be treated as an afterthought, but should be carefully shaped to build a positive impression of the treatment you’re about to provide. 

In this blog post, we will discuss ways to impress your dentistry patients with the waiting room and raise confidence in your practice as a whole.


1. Understand Your Target Audience

Before you can create something for someone, you need to know who those people are. 

Simply, your audience’s key characteristics need to be identified so you can shape the experience and cater to their wants and needs. 

So before you start making changes to your dental waiting room, define your target audience

This includes:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Education
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnicity 
  • Interests/hobbies

From here, you can create a persona of someone you imagine sitting in your waiting room, and this will help you make the appropriate changes. 

For instance, your waiting room will look completely different if it caters to families and young children as opposed to high-income professionals.


2. Awaken The Senses

Take a look at your current waiting room and consider how the senses are affected by it:

  • Sight: What is visible and appealing? What’s on show but does not look that great?
  • Sound: Can you hear any annoying noises or is there an awkward silence? Is the background noise of the television or music system at the right volume?
  • Feel: Is your furniture comfortable to sit on? Is there enough space to accommodate the number of patients typically waiting at the same time?
  • Smell: Does the waiting room smell fresh and clean or is there a lingering “hospital” smell that needs to be disguised? 
  • Taste: Do you provide any soft drinks to quench patients’ thirst?

Take the time to do a sense audit of your waiting room and pick out features you can improve to make it more appealing and comfortable for your patients.


3. Reduce Perceived Waiting Time

Even the most high-end features won’t matter if you keep your patients waiting for too long, so providing a more pleasant, inviting waiting room atmosphere is important to provide a better experience. 

In other words, it’s important to provide engaging entertainment in your waiting room to avoid patients feeling unhappy and frustrated. 

One effective tool to do this is by using digital signage – research reveals that this can reduce perceived patient wait time; a 30 minute wait can feel like 20 minutes as patients are occupied and time feels like it’s going quicker.


4. Get Interactive

You may enhance your digital material to make patients even more impressed. 

Giving patients the following kinds of interactive content can both entertain and assist them, making their wait appear shorter:

  • Interactive Games: Patients, particularly children, may pass the time more quickly by playing games that they can operate through interactive screens
  • User-Controlled Content: giving patients the control to choose their own entertainment can also help them stay engaged and interested while they wait – perhaps you could leave a tablet out so they can choose their own music 
  • Sign-in Kiosks: Kiosks that allow patients to register, change their details, make new appointments, and so on may not be considered an entertainment element, but can still satisfy them and make the intake process quicker

With interactive signage and content, waiting times appear to be shorter while the check-in procedure is made easier. 

Not to mention, it also helps to emphasise your practice’s dedication to embracing new cutting-edge technology.


5. Stick With The Times

There are two major red flags that could send the message that your practice is outdated:

  1. Old adverts and promotions: when you display time-sensitive content, like promotions with an end date, you need to have a plan in place to remove or update this. Update the design of signs and other promotional materials that have been created some time ago and ensure the messaging is still relevant for today.
  2. Old technology: if you fail to implement new technologies and keep using the same tools, you’ll fall behind the competition and suggest your dental practice is not keeping up with the times.

Providing an antiquated experience to patients might make your business appear out of touch. 

Plus, it may harm trust and cause clients to believe that you aren’t offering the highest level of care. 

So look for old advertisements and technology in your dental waiting room to see whether there are any elements that can be updated.


6. Use Content To Eliminate Fears

Although patients can feel anxious and stressed while they wait for an appointment at a dental clinic, it’s not uncommon. 

So offering some comfort to their worries and concerns might improve the overall experience for patients and employees. 

And, patients who are waiting for their turn will have a better experience if they do not feel stressed, but your employees will have fewer anxious patients to deal with, which means they will benefit as well. 

That said, creating educational and informative content and displaying this on digital signage can help eliminate these fears. Here you can:

  • Create a step-by-step video that looks at how the appointment will work
  • Explain the health benefits of particular treatments
  • Create short videos to introduce key staff members, dentists, and hygienists


The Bottom Line

It’s easy to think that however your waiting room looks now is sufficient. 

But you don’t want your patient’s first impression of your practice to be “good enough”, you want them to be wow’d! 

So, make these improvements to your waiting room and enhance your patients’ overall experience, from the moment they walk through the door.


To find out more, please get in touch with us today.


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