It’s a common sight in dental clinics: a waiting room packed with jittery patients. On the one hand, it could be a sign of a growing practice. On another, it could be a result of inefficient operations. Either way, it should be managed.
Otherwise, you run the risk of having not just anxious patients, but angry ones who will jump over to the next dental clinic that will serve them faster. With that, here are the best ways to manage waiting times.
Shorten the wait
This is the most obvious. Assess your dental practices and policies and see if you could speed up the process of accommodating patients. Perhaps, you’re overbooking frequently or waiting for late patients. Use practice management software to manage consultations better.
This will allow you to serve as many patients as you can while protecting your bottom line. Create a policy wherein patients who show up, say, 15 minutes late, should reschedule. You can reduce the long waiting times by streamlining your dental procedures.
Organise well your tools, instruments and machines. Check them regularly so you can get repair for dentist equipment early on. Remember, malfunctions are the worst time-wasters.
Create the illusion of shortened waiting time
Sometimes, even when you’ve cut down waiting time, patients still think they’ve waited for too long. That’s often because they didn’t do anything for that period. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’ve decreased the actual waiting time.
If the perceived waiting time is long because of idleness, you still haven’t provided a good patient experience. So, create the perception of shortened waiting time. Digital signage can help here. Provide informative content on your platform.
You won’t just keep your patients busy; you’re also equipping them with the information about their health and how you can help.
Improve the waiting experience
This would entail tickling the senses. To appeal to the sense of sight, consider hanging eye-catching, relaxing wall art. For the sense of hearing, play soothing music to ease anxieties of jittery patients. Think about how comfortable your pieces of furniture are to appeal to the sense of touch.
Pay attention to the scents as well. Does the space smell clean? Or does it reek of that “hospital” smell that makes people nauseated even before they get to the dentist’s chair? Use air fresheners to soothe moods.
No patient ever likes waiting. So, address your long queues problem immediately with the tips mentioned above.