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What Message Are You Sending with Your Waiting Area?


When I begin working with a dental office, I can usually tell how well their business is doing just from standing in the lobby and taking a look around. I can tell how impeccably they manage their patient files, how diligent they are with follow-up, and how much attention they give to detail.

The truth is, it’s not rocket science. If I can gather all these conclusions based on what I perceive in the few seconds I take to glance around the office, so can all of the patients.

When it comes to observing a room like the reception area (I hate the term “waiting room”) of your dental office, most people won’t really notice when everything looks right. What they will notice, however, is when something’s not right... and when that happens, they make instant judgments about the rest of your practice including your ability to care for them and their health.

Here are some guidelines I give my clients when it comes to presenting a professional, comfortable and impeccable front office.

Keep Everything Fresh
The human eye will be naturally drawn to any flaw or imperfection, and when it comes to your reception area, those flaws can seriously damage the patient’s perception of your business.

I tell clients to get a bucket of paint that matches their office walls. At the end of every week, take a brush and go over any markings that come as the result of normal wear and tear. After all, a lot of people come through your office, and it’s practically inevitable that every once in a while someone will accidentally bump the walls.

The same goes for the furniture. Check weekly for tears or stains in the leather seats or damage to end tables. If you have tile or wood floors, be sure that any scuffmarks are removed.

Make it a regular habit to walk through the front office and ensure that everything looks good as new before the new workweek begins.

Examine Your Office from All Angles
Walk through your reception and front desk area imagining that you’re a new patient. When you stand at the counter, can you see the receptionist’s desk? It should be organized and clear of any clutter (no sticky notes or piles of charts).

Take a few minutes to sit in every chair you have arranged in your reception area; sometimes the view is quite different depending on where you’re sitting. What do you observe from each position? Look at the floor, look at the walls, look at the ceiling. Do you see any damage? Remember that your paying patients will see that damage, as well.

Many dentists offer reading material in the recption area, and sometimes they don’t put much thought into which magazines they display. Imagine that you’re the mother of two young children sitting in the waiting area after school for your dentist appointments. How do you feel if you see an issue of Cosmopolitan sitting on the table for your 10-year-old daughter to pick up? Choose family-friendly reading materials.

Put Comfort First
As you walk through your office and consider all these points, remember that ultimately, comfort and cleanliness for the patient comes first. Are the bathrooms too cold? Is the carpet stain-free and recently vacuumed? When I peek behind the front desk, can I trust that the staff is organized enough to be able to take care of my health?

Become an expert at creating an inviting, clean atmosphere for your patients. The little details do matter and they will add up quickly; make sure they add up in your favor!

This information is just a sampling of how CEODentist trains dentists and their teams to approach their practice as a business and expand their network. If you want to get your specific questions about this topic answered, please Contact Us to speak to a CEO Dentist team member today.

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