Did you know that "dental phobia" is a real thing? It's true, around 9-15% of Americans put off visiting their dentist when needed because of this real phobia of the dentist's office and what goes on there!
Luckily, you can alleviate your dental patient's anxiety and create a welcoming, informative, and relaxing atmosphere with the right waiting area. Having digital signage that both entertains (to calm the nerves) and educates (to relieve misunderstandings), can go a long way for producing happier patients.
Here are 8 ways to accomplish this.
1. Display Wait Times
Everyone who's ever been to a dentist or doctor knows one of the biggest annoyances for patients is an unknown, and seemingly never-ending, wait time. Not only is it a hassle, but it can really work to elevate feelings of anxiety in already nervous patients.
So, make your patients feel that their time is valuable to you and that their needs are acknowledged--post the wait time. This will help your patients feel informed and if done properly, feel that your practice is running efficiently.
One good rule of thumb is to be totally candid with the time. Don't try to fudge the numbers to make patients think they won't really be waiting very long. It will only anger them to be told there's a 15-minute wait, only to still be sitting there 30 minutes later.
As in the restaurant business, if you're not going to be totally exact in your display of the wait time, at least "under promise, over deliver." This will leave your patients pleasantly surprised at your dental office's efficiency.
2. Make a Local Connection
At first, this may not seem like a logical idea for a dentist office. However, having a screen on your waiting room's digital sign that mentions something related to the local community, creates a sense of familiarity with patients.
That connection to your patient's community helps humanize their dentist and make them more relatable. More relatable means less intimidating. Try having a digital screen listing such things as local farmer's market times, upcoming holiday events, interesting tidbits of local news, etc.
The feeling of connection and community you can create with this small effort might help patients feel more prone to return.
3. Introduce Your Staff
This is a great strategy for using your waiting room signage to help out your patients. People are more apt to feel comfortable when they feel they "know" their dentist or doctor.
Create a digital slide or weekly feature on one of your staff members. Select one person a week to feature, be it a receptionist, janitor, hygienist, or the dentist themselves.
This shows that your office values its employees, and makes you more trust-able. It also shows that as a dentist, you don't view yourself as a "cut above" the rest of your staff who help run, manage, and maintain your offices.
People, (and might we say employees), like that.
You can list credentials, educational background, and experience of those where it's relevant.
Or, include funny tidbits (that aren't too personal) about the selected employee. Things like their favorite food, interesting hobbies, or favorite TV quote.
This gives patients who are waiting, something amusing to distract them.
4. Educate Patients in the Waiting Area
One of the best ways to eliminate fear in patients is to inform and educate. What better way to teach them about that root canal than with an informative and reassuring video on waiting room's digital signage?
You can create a video or slides that inform patients of what their procedures will entail.
This can help them feel confident and realize there is little to fear, and that there are only benefits to be had from visiting your dental office.
5. Provide General Office Information
Another great use of digital signage in your waiting room is to give patients the basics.
Show your office hours, contact information, website URL, procedures offered, insurance information, specialties, etc.
This is also a great place to show patients any important news updates regarding your office. For example, if you're going to be closed for a certain holiday, vacation time, or construction.
6. Showcase Patient Success Stories
Does your office specialize in a certain type of procedure? Even if you don't a digital sign can be a great place to show before and after photos of patients who received care from you.
This can be encouraging and interesting to patients waiting.
It can also help incentivize existing patients to schedule certain procedures, cleanings, or other services from you they might not have otherwise had they not seen the success of other patients.
7. Get Them Laughing
This doesn't always have to look like some tacky comic up on your digital sign in your waiting area. However, when done tastefully, a well-chosen joke can really add personality and comfort to your office waiting area.
Put patients in a good mood, or even get them smiling by having a "joke of the day," or "quotes heard around the office," slide on your waiting room sign.
8. Create a Relaxing Ambiance
Last on our list of great tips to make patients happy in your waiting area is to use your digital sign to create a relaxing ambiance.
Here are some ideas for how to accomplish this:
Rotate through beautiful photography (bonus points if you can use photographs from a local photographer)
Play relaxing music.
Play some tasteful nature sounds, i.e. rainstorms, trickling streams, etc.
Display an image(s) of nature that correlate well with the color scheme you've chosen for your office decor
You can even do as little as choosing a color scheme for your digital sign's background color and text that is soothing and easy on the eye. Avoid harsh or kitsch color schemes like bright orange, yellow, or hot pink. Select professional fonts and images to display in your waiting room.
Get Started Today
Now that you're equipped with 8 great ideas for how to use digital signage to create a more appealing waiting area for your patients, get started today!