When you have patient appointments booked back-to-back, you may feel as though you don’t even have time to pause for lunch. As your day seems to fly by, your patients may feel as though time has come to a standstill for them in your waiting room—causing them to feel restless.
63% of patients say that waiting is the most stressful part of their medical appointment experience.1
Set their minds at ease:
1. Welcome them with a warm smile
Big smiles and a friendly hello—that’s the ideal greeting your patient should receive the moment they step into your office. If it’s not possible to have a staff member available at all times to greet patients, add a welcome sign with instructions telling them what to do next so they aren’t left lonely and loitering.
2. Comfy seating
Waiting typically involves a lot of sitting. So where are your patients parking it? Choose chairs or sofas that are soft and comfortable—something that you would be comfortable sitting in for 15, 20, maybe even 30 minutes before an appointment. When you set up the furniture, group chairs in small conversation-inspiring clusters rather than in a row against a wall. This allows you to offer more physical space because patients are discouraged from putting their personal belongings on empty chairs.2 You know what else makes patients feel comfortable? Smooth and soothing music. Try tuning in to a jazz station to complete the atmosphere.
3. Change their perception of time
When your patients are bored, they perceive the wait as being longer.3 Keep them busy and feeling productive while they wait with Internet access and TV. Remember that not all patients will have their own device, so consider making tablets available so everyone can surf and stream while they wait. And when selecting a TV channel, choose a documentary or nature channel with family-friendly content. To ensure that patients aren’t disturbed by the noise, turn the volume down and the closed captioning on. For those who may want to enjoy some screen-free wait time, offer magazines, books—even a self-brewing coffee station can make the wait seem shorter since patients will spend several minutes preparing and enjoying their drink.4
Stress-free doesn’t mean entertainment-free. Visit cogeco.ca/business to learn how we can keep your patients entertained while they wait.
1 The Script. (Date unknown). How to Improve Wait Time for Patients (Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/2013/9/24/jedi-mind-tricks-for-reducing-customer-wait-time
2Chaikind, K. (Date unknown). 14 Ideas to Transform Your Waiting Room [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.careinnovations.org/resources/14-ideas-to-transform-your-waiting-room/
3Toister, J. (2013, September 24). Jedi mind tricks for reducing customer wait time [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/2013/9/24/jedi-mind-tricks-for-reducing-customer-wait-time
4 Medical Bag. (2014, May 6). Waiting Room of the Best Medical Practices [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.medicalbag.com/business/waiting-rooms-of-the-best-medical-practices/article/472455/
5 eHotelier. (2016, May 6). The importance of a welcome [Blog post] Retrieved from https://insights.ehotelier.com/insights/2016/05/06/the-importance-of-a-welcome/
6 Toister, J. (2013, September 24). Jedi mind tricks for reducing customer wait time [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/2013/9/24/jedi-mind-tricks-for-reducing-customer-wait-time
7 Chambers, S. (Date unknown). Customer satisfaction doesn’t just impact the business’ bottom line, it also impacts team morale and retention [Online article]. Retrieved from https://www.nicereply.com/blog/importance-of-customer-satisfaction/