The dental office lobby is your patient’s first impression of who you are. Think about what you want your patient to see, feel, hear, or experience when they walk in your front door. Creating a welcoming and calm environment for your patients is just as important as the care they receive. After all, it’s possible they could spend a great deal of time there.
Before we discuss the top ten secrets of a great dental office lobby, you must remember your audience. Whether children or the elderly, you want to provide an environment that caters to their taste. Visiting a dentist office can be anxiety-inducing for some. Providing a waiting area that makes your patients feel relaxed indicates that you care about their well-being.
There are several different theories on what colors evoke what emotion. Choosing colors that are calming and appealing to most audiences is nice, but avoid the dreaded bland, sterile look. Start with a neutral palette and then add pops of color. Do you have a color scheme on your logo or business cards? Incorporate those colors into your lobby.
2. Style Theme
Determining your style or theme will keep your décor focused as opposed to chaotic and disorganized. Keep the theme simple and relative. A lobby decorated full of lighthouses and sailboats might seem out of character for a dentist in the heartland. Themes can be based on your personal preferences or hobbies, just be careful that you don’t isolate yourself from your patients. Not everyone appreciates deep sea fishing or antique furniture.
Artwork is a great way to express your theme or add pops of color. Avoid large “before and after” cosmetic dentistry photos that might upset patients. Tasteful framed portraits of the dental staff and professional achievements or awards are a great way to fill empty wall space.
Furnish your lobby with interesting things to look at. Providing chairs and a table of brochures is not minimalism, it’s boring. Incorporate fresh flowers or décor that reflects the region or theme. Water features like a small water fountain or a fish tank can create a calming effect.
Natural lighting always makes a lobby more welcoming. However, if your lobby doesn’t have windows, consider using lamps in addition to standard florescent lighting.
The last thing you want is your patient to be uncomfortable while he or she is waiting for you. Chairs should be comfortable and placed in such a way that patients are not forced to sit right next to each other. Create a clear path to the reception desk and to the back office entrance.
Stock your lobby with current magazines that appeal to a wide variety of readers. Consider local or regional magazines and newspapers as well as nationally published materials. Providing a mini fridge with bottles of water (with your logo, of course) is a nice touch. Patients also appreciate technology such as Wi-Fi, television, or a desk with electrical outlet access.
8. Special Use Areas
Even if you don’t specialize in children’s dentistry, you may want to incorporate an area designated for children. Quiet toys, puzzles, and books can keep a child occupied while waiting with their parent. Charging station for mobile devices is another way to provide an extra service for your patients.
It is never good when patients are left alone with just their thoughts and the sound of the dentist’s drill. Use sound abatement procedures to contain the back office sounds from floating to the lobby. If using background music in the lobby consider your audience – even though you won’t please everybody.
Keeping the lobby area neat and clean is imperative. Designate routine checks throughout the day to ensure patients have a pleasant experience while waiting for you.
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