Although the waiting area is just a fraction of a patient’s physical therapy experience, it is however, the first impression and can make a huge impact on patient retention and satisfaction.
Your waiting area is your first chance to make an impression on your patients. Patients will be able to tell immediately if you’re professional, clean and if you care about them – just from the front waiting room!
We assume you’re keeping your waiting room clean and organized (if you’re not, you might want to make that priority #1), and hopefully your front desk staff is making the environment welcoming on their part. There are other ways you can spruce up your lobby as well! Your patients will thank you if you make your waiting room a pleasant, comfortable environment… as long as they don’t have to stay there too long!
Here are 3 things your patients hate about your waiting room, and how to fix them!
#1 It’s outdated
If you’re décor is outdated, damaged or aesthetically displeasing, you may be sending a negative signal to your patients upon their arrival. Although you don’t have to have the fanciest décor, your waiting room should still be modern, clean and bright. If you don’t have lots of windows, use light colors to brighten the room and bring in some new wall décor and throw pillows to make it more inviting. If your floors or walls have cracks or scuffs, you’ll want to fix those right away to show your patients you care about your practice and ultimately their health. Any damage or decay in your building can send a message of laziness or lack of compassion.
Further, if your magazines, brochures or other reading materials are a few years old, crinkled or ripped, they won’t be very appealing to patients. Updated reading materials about your services, events or promotions is a great way to get your patients more involved in their health, so not updating these materials is a big missed opportunity to provide value to your patients.
#2 The TV is blasting
Whether or not you should have a TV in your waiting room is debatable in the healthcare industry, but if you do, make sure you don’t force it on your patients that don’t want to watch. Some patients will want to watch the TV, some won’t. So, if the TV is turned up loud, or on a program someone doesn’t like, it can be upsetting to some patients.
Consider keeping the TV on mute and provide headphones to patients that want to watch, or always make sure it’s kept at a low volume. Most importantly, keep the programming appropriate at all times. Channels such as the Food Network, HGTV or Discovery Channel are generally appropriate and enjoyed by all ages. If you’ve got a TV in your waiting room, there is a MUCH more effective strategy you could be using that all FYZICAL members have access to.
#3 Your furniture is uncomfortable
For patients experiencing pain or discomfort, furniture is especially important, so this is an investment you shouldn’t take lightly. Make sure your furniture is comfortable, easily accessible and in good condition.
Some patients may also be uncomfortable sitting close to other strangers in your waiting room. Consider spacing out the seating or arranging seating in groups for families to gather more privately.
First impressions are everything, and you definitely want to pay attention to details when it comes to your patients’ time and comfort if you want to be successful.
You can start working now to build a private practice that not only your patients will love, but your competitors will be jealous of.