Your customers’ experience begins in the waiting room. And it’s up to you whether that experience is good or bad. Most customers dread making appointments—they anticipate a day wasted while waiting in a crowded room full of frustrated people. Unfortunately, many doctor’s offices and businesses with reception areas overlook the spaces’ potential. But with our five ways to improve the waiting room experience, you’ll easily create a positive experience your customers won’t forget.
- Make customers feel at home. Uncomfortable chairs and too-close proximity to other clients are common complaints of waiting room patrons. If you want return customers, create a homey environment that makes clients forget where they are. Decorate your reception area with cool, calming colors and provide ample space between comfortable seating options to keep customers from feeling claustrophobic. Accommodate your audience with facilities that address their needs. A vending machine full of healthy snacks or a play area for children can make the wait seem shorter.
- Offer up-to-date reading materials. Grimy, tattered, outdated magazines scream germs and unprofessionalism. But a well-kept magazine rack full of current issues shows the conscientiousness you apply not only to the upkeep of your waiting room, but also to your clients. Providing customers with reading materials also demonstrates your concern for their time and enjoyment. Pick subscriptions that suit the interests of your customers (women, men, children, etc.) to keep them engaged and make the time fly by.
- Provide charging stations. These days, everyone has a mobile device. And the apps available to users allow them to read books, play games, and catch up on the latest news. But these time killers come with a caveat—they frequently need recharging. A simple fix is to put a charging station in your waiting room. An E-VIVE charging station is compatible with 95% of phones on the market and can charge up to eight devices at once, including iPads, e-readers, and more. Nothing is more nerve-wracking than being stranded with a dead phone, so show your customers you care about their safety and give them a way to recharge before they hit the road.
- Update customers on wait time. Receptionists can attest that nothing makes customers angrier than a long wait. Some patients feel that doctors consider their time more valuable than their clients’—a notion that quickly destroys doctor-patient relationships. To avoid this scenario, use a queue management system that keeps clients informed about their wait time. Hang monitors that show updated times or use a messaging system to periodically send notifications about their place in line. Be flexible and allow patients to reschedule appointments if they feel the wait time is unreasonable.
- Educate your patients. According to research, one in five American patients uses their wait to research information about their symptoms. But are they accessing the right information? Give them materials you trust by creating your own informational brochures or use an interactive educational platform they can access from their smart phones. Make information available via multiple mediums, including video, audio, and text, to reach a wide variety of learning styles.