What if your dental patients were scared away long before they sat in your chair?
It all starts with your reception area. If this space doesn’t feel warm and welcoming to your patients, then you’re throwing their repeat business away.
Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide to eight different ways you can create a welcome reception area!
Why Renovate the Reception Area?
Before we dive into how you can give your reception area a makeover, you may have a pretty simple question. Specifically, why is this so important?
First impressions are just as important for businesses as they are for individuals. And the reception area is the first thing your patients are going to see, so you want to impress them.
Patients also tend to assume the reception area represents the personality of the dentist. If the area feels cold and impersonal, they will assume that you share those same qualities.
Finally, a pleasant and comfortable waiting area will keep your patients from getting upset at potentially long waits. This means a makeover can save you from a lot of different headaches down the lines!
Our guide is here to help. And don’t forget to draw inspiration from other areas, such as Damira Dental Studios.
1. Upgrading the Chairs
Arguably, the most important improvement to your reception area design is better chairs. After all, this is where your patients will spend most of their time in the room!
If you don’t already have them, make sure you get chairs with cushions and armrests for maximum comfort. And if you do already have them, try to make time to sit in one of the chairs for about half an hour and see if it is still comfortable or if you need to replace your furniture.
2. Better Layout
Better chairs are only one step to a more welcome reception area. Next, you need to improve the layout!
Most dentists just have rows of chairs next to the walls. This is actually disconcerting: you’re putting customers up against the wall and in corners, all while asking them to sit next to a stranger.
Try to have a varied layout: chairs around a coffee table, a couple of chairs in a corner, and a kids’ play area (more on this later). Everyone will feel more comfortable and enjoy having options.
3. Soothing Colors
Some of the ideas on here are nice and simple. For instance, you can give the reception area a new coat of paint!
Sometimes, reception areas have colors that are shocking, like bright pink or orange. Or the color might make patients nervous, such as bright red.
To upgrade, all you have to do is paint the room in warm, neutral colors. Focus on more muted shades of blue, green, gray, or violet in order to make your patients feel more at ease as soon as they walk in.
4. Adding a Play Area
It’s vitally important that your reception area design includes a play area for children. This ultimately benefits the kids, the parents, and everyone who works in your office!
This is because kids are naturally full of nervous energy, and that may be made worse by being at the dentist. If there is no way for them to channel the energy, they may run around the office and disrupt everyone.
Create a children’s play area in one of the corners. Make sure it has bright colors and a variety of toys. This gives the children something to do while containing all that energy.
5. Miniature Library
Reception areas have a bad reputation for the reading selection. It often feels like the dentist is just bringing in his own months-old magazine leftovers for patients!
Try to have newer reading material, and be sure to diversify. That means having selections that will be popular with both men and women.
Don’t forget to have some small books and magazines designed for children. This way, everyone has something engaging to read while they wait!
6. Adding a Liaison
As we said earlier, the reception area creates a first impression. And since most of the patients’ time is just sitting in silence, that first impression may be “the dentist is cold and distant.”
You can turn this around by adding a reception area liaison. More than another secretary, this is someone who knows your patients and greets them when they walk through the door.
The liaison can also walk around the room and have short conversations with patients while answering the questions. This leads to a simple but powerful effect of making your welcome area seem warm, inviting, and human.
7. Better Lighting
Most dentists underestimate just how important lighting is. Bad choices can make the reception area feel more like the set of a horror movie than a pleasant waiting space!
Try to avoid fluorescent fixtures. Customers usually have negative associations with this lighting, and some preliminary research indicates these lights may cause things like stress and headaches.
Instead, think of decorating your reception area as if it were your own living room. That means a combination of warm bulbs, and plenty of natural light (that means ditching those super dark curtains).
With a few changes, it stops feeling like a waiting area and starts feeling like a home!
8. Give them a Sign (or Two, or Three)
Our last suggestion is nice and simple. Patients are often stressed because they don’t know where to go or what to do. One easy solution: give them a sign!
You can use signs, chalkboards, or whiteboards to give clear instructions, such as “please check in with the front desk” and “first time patients must fill out paperwork before their appointment.”
With these signs, you’ll be answering their questions before they can even ask. How’s that for service?
Now you know how to spruce up your reception area. But do you know other great ways to get more business?
At ADA Marketplace, we are focused on bringing you business and enhancing your practice. To see how we can help boost your profits, check out our dental marketing section today!