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5 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Waiting Areas

5 Aug 2014 10:48 AM

You’ve heard about mystery shoppers, right?

Well, there is no reason why you can’t modify this highly beneficial idea and become a ‘mystery patient’ yourself! By doing so, you’ll be able to identify and experience those all-important first impressions that your reception offers to your patients. In doing so, you’ll be able to spot any problem areas that need addressing too.

In addition to your mystery patient adventure, you could also have a friend or family member take a copy of the below checklist and be a mystery patient too. The bonus is that they get to look over the practice with fresher eyes and they will probably be more honest than one of your patients.

You need to remember that your reception area is sending subconscious messages to every single person who walks into your practice. So when you do your walk through, make sure you consider the following 5 issues:

 

1.     How Clean Does The Practice Look?

Are the walls, floors, seating and counter tops clean?

Carpets and seating should always look clean and fresh – no-one likes a dirty floor or wants to sit on a grimy seat. Especially in a place of unwell people – they’re likely already somewhat anxious about germs and bacteria! If the upholstery is in a bad state, you should get some price comparisons for reupholstering or purchasing new furniture.

If your walls are accumulating scuffmarks from general wear and tear, enlist the services of painter to give the walls a fresh, one coat wonder! If you have ‘Wash and Wear’ paint, you can have a cleaner wash the walls for you.

It is wise to invest in a professional cleaning service that will take care of the daily cleaning duties, including upholstery cleaning. However, don’t just assume that a cleaner will automatically do what is required for your practice. Ask your practice manager to create a housekeeping checklist, which should include all cleaning duties required on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Make sure these are signed and approved by both the cleaner and manager.

 

2.     How’s The Lighting?

Flickering light bulbs or light bulbs that no longer work are not only annoying, but they will not create the bright lighting that you require, nor give the impression of bright and clean medical rooms.

While it may seem like an insignificant issue, every day, new patients are coming into your practice – so every day your practice should look bright, fresh, clean and welcoming.

Add daily light bulb checks to the morning housekeeping list, so your receptionist can ensure that all the light bulbs work before the practice opens – and if needed, replace them as soon as possible.

 

 3.     Is The Receptionist In View At All Times?

It’s important to prevent your patients from waiting unnecessarily. If your receptionist goes into the staff room to make a cuppa, you don’t want any patients to be waiting for his or her return, so make sure your receptionist is accessible and in view at all times.

– Avoid having loads of paperwork in view at the reception desk, as this creates an impression of inefficiency.

– If the phone is on the reception desk, keep the ringing volume down low, in order to avoid disruptions when communicating with the patient that is in front of you.

– Have the phone go to voicemail if it’s not picked up after 4 rings – there is nothing more annoying than an unanswered telephone constantly ringing.

 

4.     Is There Something To Do While You Are Waiting For Your Appointment?

Get rid of old glossy magazines that have been sitting around on the table, gathering germs and bacteria. Daily newspapers are a much better idea, which are be disposed of at the end of each day.

It’s a great idea to prepare a glossy monthly newsletter about your practice, which you can print and leave on the tables for your patients to read too.

Even the choice of television station can affect your patients’ experience. If your practice has a television, make sure that it’s switched onto a channel that is least offensive. Avoid daytime drama shows and music shows, as modern music is known to slip in offensive language, cheeky displays of skin and provocative dance moves that younger and older patients don’t want or need to see. News programmes are the safest choice!

Creating a play area for the children is great for everyone, the little ones are kept busy and your patients can wait without bored children trying to create their own noisy fun! You do have to be vigilant with making sure the toys are kept hygienically clean, else it might be better to avoid toys altogether. You might like to opt for colouring and activity sheets that the kids can complete and take home with them. Or you could have a smaller television with kid’s programmes playing – with the volume turned down low.

 

 5.     Clear Signage So You’re Not Confused Where You Need To Go

If space allows, create a check in and check out area at reception, clearly marked with signage. This will speed up the appointment process and cut down on wait times for your patients.

You can help avoid your patients asking the receptionist unnecessary questions by having signs around your practice, from where the toilets are to where the kids play area is – and where they need to go when their name is called for their appointment.

These small changes are quite inexpensive, yet essential in creating a first impression that will reflect the quality, professional service that you provide.

 

After looking at your reception through the eyes of your patients, you may decide that you need a more in depth refurbishment to give an impression that exceeds your competitors – and that you care about your patients. Call Cassin & Sons on 1300 122 774 for a friendly, obligation free quote.