10 Ways Your Waiting Room Can Improve Customer Service

Our industry is changing, patients have more choices than ever before. Competing with box stores and online companies on price is futile. Customer service is going to be a bigger factor than ever before. Let’s start with the minute your patient enters your office. What can you do to improve their experience?

1. Provide a basket of reading glasses: What’s worse than having reading material but not being able to read it? Or needing to fill out paperwork but accidentally leaving your reading glasses at home.

2. A place for wet umbrellas: You don’t want patients lugging wet umbrellas all over your office, and they don’t want to be carrying them either! This is a win-win for both of you.

3. A basket of dollar store umbrellas and rain hats for rainy/snowy days: This is a memorable customer service moment for patients. The skies open, they’re unprepared but voila you get to play the hero. Purchase ones from the dollar store (rain hats are a good buy too) that way if they’re never returned, you won’t care.

4. A Keurig with real cups: Being able to choose your type of drink (not everyone is a coffee drinker) and drinking from a “real” cup provides a measure of comfort while you’re waiting in a sometimes intimidating place.

5. TV: TV’s are pretty standard in waiting rooms these days. Make sure yours is tuned in to something your patients will actually enjoy watching.

6. Wi-Fi: You already have it in your office, why not make a guest log-in for your patients so they can get something done or play a game while they wait? You can hang a small sign near the reception desk with the log in and password for your patients’ convenience.

7. Good tissues: Sometimes a patient needs to blow their nose, colds, seasonal allergies and so on. Don’t supply patients with cheap, scratchy tissues.

8. Reading material that is meant to entertain not educate your patients: Yes, having reading material about hearing loss/hearing aids shows you’re in the loop, but when spending time in a waiting room, people want to be entertained.

9. Coat rack: Don’t make your patients carry around their heavy winter coats or wet rain jackets.

10. Comfortable temperature: It’s tempting to want to keep costs low, along with the temperate in the winter or to keep a warmer office in the summer months. Make sure your patients are comfortable remember they have options.

Lastly, check, double check… triple check the demeanor of your staff. Your waiting room could provide a phenomenal patient experience, but one rude/unfriendly staff member will ruin the entire experience for your patient.

Do You Know the ROI of Your Website?

For a great deal of your website, much like public relations (PR), the return on investment (ROI) is not easily quantified. Metrics do exist, but for the most part they provide erroneous data.

PR should tell a story, lots of stories, ideally stories that are told and shared by one potential customer to another or by one satisfied customer to a potential customer. The value and credibility when one person provides information about your practice to someone else is immeasurable.

It is possible to use a page on your company website that replicates conventional “call to action” marketing pieces. The ROI of these pieces can be measured.

However, a portion of your company’s website pages should serve to replace and/or replicate your outbound marketing systems, for example:

Yellow Pages – “Googling” a business for their address and/or phone number has replaced the old yellow pages book as a source for directory information.
Brochure – Your website is an opportunity to provide information about your practice with the advantage of being able to present considerably more information than the average office brochure with the added ability of frequent updates and edits as your company evolves.
A customer’s first impression of you and your business used to be via the yellow pages. Their expectations were fairly low and they were never really able to form an impression about your business. The Internet has changed the potential customers “first impression” experience and more importantly it has changed their “first impression” expectations.

We also suggest that clients use their website to reinforce a sale after the sale has been made to prevent buyer’s remorse. You’ve just spent 60 – 90 minutes with your patient. Hopefully, but not realistically, you’ve answered every question they have and allayed every fear they may have after they leave your business. Your website can help to answer unasked questions and allay latent fears that any consumer, who just spent thousands of dollars, is bound to have.