First impressions are everything, especially in your dental practice where patients need to feel comfortable and quickly establish a level of trust with you and your team. This first impression kicks off the moment the patient walks through the door into your waiting room. Before they speak to a member of staff, a nurse or a dentist, their first impressions of your practice are going to be based firmly around their experience in your waiting room.

Some patients may have called ahead and have had an initial introduction to your practice over the phone. However, as we all know, an in-person experience is much more memorable and the effects will stay with your patients much longer. Keep this in mind when considering the layout and facilities you offer in your waiting area. It goes without saying that your staff also need to be friendly, approachable, professional and polite in all interactions with your patients on every visit, from the first to the last.

There are many different things you can do to ensure your practice makes the best first impression possible on your patients. Here are some ideas you may not have considered which could make a significant difference to your patients experience and turn them into regular patients returning for checkups regularly.

Waiting Room Design

Waiting rooms these days run the full gamut from old and retro to modern and minimalistic. The key when designing your waiting room is to ensure that patients feel relaxed and comfortable. Patients often arrive at a dental practice feeling anxious about the procedures that lie ahead. Put them at ease with the design and décor of your waiting area. There are a number of considerations when choosing a design for your waiting room:

Free Wi-Fi

It’s 2015, people expect to have access to Wi-Fi and you definitely should not charge for it. Your patients lead busy lives, from professionals stopping in for a checkup to teenagers coming in for a filling, nobody wants to be disconnected for very long. You can even consider starting a Facebook page or Instagram account for your practice and encourage patients to check-in or tag you in their posts. And if they’re in a nice relaxing atmosphere, being well looked-after, you can be sure the posts will be nothing but positive.

Complimentary Beverages

At the very minimum, a water dispenser should be present in your waiting area, to allow patients to stay hydrated and refreshed during their visit. You can go the extra mile of course and provide some healthy snacks, tea or flavored waters. Little touches like this will cast your practice in a positive light and patients take note of these small gestures. Just remember, it is a dental practice you’re running so stay away from coffee, sugary sweets and unhealthy snacks. Keep health and nutrition to the font of your mind when choosing your snack and drink options.

Brief Your Staff

With all the above suggestions you can be sure your patients will get a great first impression when they visit your practice. They will feel welcome, appreciated and the little touches will go a long way. However, don’t forget to brief your staff and make aure that they are their usual chirpy, friendly selves. Customer service is a key part of any business and those human interactions are what they will really remember. Remind them how important this is for the practice and solidify the idea of creating a friendly, relaxing atmosphere for your patients when they arrive.

Making a great first impression on your patients doesn’t have to be a huge effort on your part and you don’t need a massive budget to implement some small changes. Think of how you would like to be received when you go for a check up and what little touches would make your experience most memorable. Do this for your patients and you can be sure they’ll come back time and time again based on that wonderful initial impression of your friendly dental practice.