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PDA DENTISTRY: Revitalize Your Reception Area: 5 Quick Tips


Client: PDA Dentistry



You all know the old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s something we’ve been hearing since we were kids. So why is it that this common pearl of wisdom is so often overlooked among dental professionals? Often, it’s because we get caught up in the daily grind of running a good practice. It takes a lot of time and energy to make sure everything runs smoothly. We have to make sure our equipment is up to date, our doctors have state-of-the-art training and our customers are receiving the absolute best in customer service. At the end of the day it can seem like aesthetics—something as seemingly mundane as a plant or a picture on the wall – aren’t as important in comparison.

Yet in the field of dental care one can never underestimate the importance of presentation. If you want to run a practice that makes money and keeps patients coming back to you, it is critical to offer stellar presentation—and that starts in the reception area. It is the first thing your patients will encounter when they come to see you and the last thing that will linger as they walk out the door. Did the lobby have interesting magazines to read or was I stuck leafing through tedious dental brochures? Were the chairs comfy or did I get that numb tingling sensation from sitting on a hard bench? Was the reception area bright and sunny or did the color scheme only add to my nervousness? Would I have rather had a shot of Novocaine than stared at their artwork much longer? (OK, we’re just kidding about that last one but you get the point.)

These thoughts may seem silly, especially when you spend so much time focused on what happens in the dental chair. But providing them with an entry area that conveys a sense of warmth and professionalism is an essential piece of your customer service. From the minute they book the appointment to the minute they walk out, you want them to feel they had a positive experience—and all those details contribute to that sensation. Here, we’ve collected samples of five quick and inexpensive steps you can take to ensure your patients keep returning year after year.

1. Let there be light!

Let’s be honest—for most people, the dentist’s office is not their favorite place on earth. Many have had bad experiences in the past and some people are nervous about their impending appointment. The last thing they want to do is sit in a dark, gloomy room as they wait for someone to call out their name. Nor do they want to look up at a buzzing fluorescent bulb that casts a flat blue light on everything down below. Replace those ugly old fluorescents with full spectrum bulbs and you will be amazed at the difference.

2. Pretty it up with Plants 

Fill the reception area with a nice variety of hanging plants, flower vases, potted trees and vines. This is a simple and affordable way to spruce the room up in a matter of minutes. The plants will look pleasant and deliver a feeling of calm to patients. Where possible, use fresh plants. They look better and make the air fresher. Opt for low-maintenance varieties that can survive with less light or water. (Think cacti, palms, etc.) If you can’t get enough light in your room to grow healthy plants or if you don’t have enough staff to keep up with the maintenance, artificial plants are always an option too. Regardless of which plant route you take, having some sort of greenery in the room is a surefire way to bolster its aesthetic.

3. Paint a new look

A simple coat of paint can work like a miracle to brighten a room up or change the atmosphere around. It will make your reception area seem newer, fresher and more vibrant, flushing out stale energy and making older offices seem modern and sleek. If you add a little putty as you go, you can smooth out pock marks or nail holes. Yellow shades will brighten a room and make it feel sunny while light blues convey calm and soothing feelings. Shades of grey will appear dignified, professional and upscale. Whatever atmosphere you are trying to project, there is certain to be a hue out there to compliment it!

4. Sounds of music

As noted, many patients who come into the dentist’s office are nervous. If you want to run a money-making business, it is your job as a dental professional to replace that sound of the drill in their head with a feeling of calm, trust and relaxation. A great way to do this is by literally offering them an alternative to listen to. Peaceful, relaxing music will do wonders to put people at ease and make them feel less anxious.  The sound of waterfalls or nature playing in the lobby is an excellent choice, as well as classical music or easy jazz listening. You don’t need a professional sound system or fancy speakers. Just turn on the radio and watch how your patients respond.

5. Get things moving!

A simple furniture rearrangement can truly transform the look of a room—and you don’t have to call in the feng shui experts to make it happen. Look at where the light comes into the room and arrange the furniture around it. Place seating areas by the windows if possible and take into consideration the heating and the cooling systems. Place magazines and end tables at convenient locations where people don’t have to walk across the room to get them. Put artwork on the walls and make sure it is pleasant and calming to look at. (No pictures of patients wincing in pain or jokes about drills). Also, think about other decorations and amenities such as fish tanks, coffee makers, water stands, WiFi, etc. Stay creative and always be thinking about the customer experience. You will have an exceptional reception area in no time!


Photo with permission from Pixabay.