Is your reception area preventing patients from saying yes to treatment? Increase case acceptance in your practice by starting every patient experience off on the right foot. Make a strong first impression and use your space to further educate your patients. Below are six barriers to treatment acceptance that you might not even realize are barriers!
- Lack of information about you. People need to hear, see, feel and experience your message five to seven times before someone will act on your message. Your reception area is a golden opportunity to educate your patients about what you do. You have their undivided attention. They are there to see YOU and to hear what YOU have to say. There will never be a better time to share your message of good oral healthcare than in your own office. And this starts in the reception area.
- Advertising other services. Magazines like People, Sports Illustrated, Good Housekeeping, etc., all have ads promoting services that are not YOUR services. Companies place ads in magazines for a reason – THEY WORK! They motivate people to spend their all important discretionary dollar on their products. And guess what? You are allowing (and even sometimes paying) them to do it in your office. Can you think of anything more important than keeping teeth and gums healthy? I can’t. Your patients should be so lucky as to have you care for their smile.
- Televisions. Televisions showing anything other educational information about dentistry can set the wrong tone for any dental appointment. TV is one of the more powerful mediums because it can elicit great emotion through sound, images and audio. TV shows can make us cry, laugh, terrified, upset or all of the above and at the same time! What is showing on your television sets in your reception area can create emotion in your patients. Why not use the TV to get people more motivated to do the dentistry they need, want and deserve?
- Clock. When patients can see a clock ticking away, it makes time go more slowly. In addition, if you are running even slightly behind – it will highlight the situation. Even if you end on time, they will have that visual of time in their minds.
- Waiting. Are your patients routinely waiting beyond their scheduled appointment time? Talk about a way to get your patients so distracted and frustrated that they can’t hear your message about what you can do for their teeth and gums. They may be distracted wanting to get back to their life and feel they don’t have time to hear what you are saying. In addition, there is a good chance that they were messaging on Facebook or Twitter about their wait time. So now, they don’t have time to listen clearly but they are also inhibiting new patient flow. And finally, when you are late, you are showing them little respect for their time. In turn, they will show little respect for your time and be less concerned about showing up on time to appointments … if they show at all.
- Cleanliness. Patients do not understand quality dentistry from a clinical standpoint. They only know if it looks good (to them) and whether or not they are in pain. Beyond that, they do not have the clinical training to know what is good work. Therefore they judge quality on the tangibles they do understand – cleanliness being one of them. If your reception area has trash on the floor, is dusty, has wallpaper coming off of the wall, paint chips, scratches on wood, etc., these can all be signs to a patient that you don’t pay attention to the details. And if you don’t, then are you paying attention to providing quality dentistry?
Marketing isn’t just the materials you promote with; it’s also in the tiniest of details!
Take a look in your reception area. Is it projecting your desired image? Are your patients learning more about you, your team and your services? Or are they learning more about other products they can buy? A well thought out reception area will set every patient appointment up for success!