6 Dec 2013  •  Marketing and Design  •  4min read By  • Practice Plan

First Impressions – More Than Just Waiting

Here, we discuss why first impressions really do count and offer some ideas on how you can utilise your dental practice waiting room to help increase treatment uptake in your practice.

Every day there’s an opportunity where you can communicate with your patients without overtly selling and putting pressure on them; but a way in which you can still showcase your treatment offering and open up conversations that could lead to greater treatment uptake.

It simply comes down to understanding the environment that you are able to create and one thing to bear in mind is that it is true when people say that first impressions count; a phrase that should be used in earnest when critically appraising the customer journey and communication with your patients throughout your dental practice.

One key area within your dental practice which is the most obvious for critical appraisal is your waiting area – this is where opinions are formed, impressions cemented and decisions are made. Aside from the moral and ethical point that people matter, the point here is your waiting room is not merely a place reflecting a professional image and comfortable environment with great quality chairs and a cool water dispenser, it needs to engage with the people that sit in it.

If all is in order, you could argue that there isn’t much ‘waiting’ that your patients will experience. However, you are missing a trick if you don’t take into account how your patients could pass their time. Waiting rooms are the ideal place to touch your patients on an emotional level because they are receptive, open-minded and well… waiting. The bonus being that you aren’t pestering them for a few minutes of their time. So, why not take advantage of a limited opportunity?

Firstly, you need to realise that you do much more than just provide dental services. You could be the core part of a person’s ability to live a fuller, healthier, happier and more successful life. Therefore, you need to understand what ‘first impressions’ mean to them personally when it comes to their smile and how you start to communicate this.

Making an emotional appeal to your patients could inspire them to explore new dental solutions – in a nutshell, your patients need to see your treatments in terms of the benefits to them.

Maybe think about introducing a well-placed case study book or magazine which features real-life stories reflecting everyday anxieties or problems in people’s lives that have been transformed through successful dental treatment – readers will relate to these stories at a time of need and awareness. Or you could even use a television screen to showcase a looped variation of cosmetic treatments and consumables that are available to patients along with some short snippets of  entertaining content to keep the patient engaged. This can help your patients feel a little more at home whilst making them aware of what you have to offer helping to stimulate sales and increase the spend of your customers.

Overall, this is a high-impact way of informing your patients about a variety of your products and services in a non-salesy and non-pressured way. The icing on the cake is that they are sitting in your dental practice when interest is stimulated, which could spark a conversation once they move on from the waiting area.

Here’s just some ideas to help increase treatment uptake in your practice, why not check out some more – click here.

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