If your waiting room is starting to feel a little drab and outdated, it might be time to give it a much-needed update.
When you improve your waiting room, you impress your clients, provide them with a more comfortable setting, and decrease their perceived wait time. Plus, you keep your office updated, modern, and current with the times.
So, if you’re thinking about updating your waiting room, it’s time. Here are a few tips to help you put together a renovation plan that uses all five sense to improve the look, comfort, sounds, scents, and even flavors of your waiting room.
Sight: Think About the Look
Visitors create their first impression of your office based mostly on what they see. Their sight directs their initial idea about the look and feel of the waiting room. So, focus on the following details to create an atmosphere that will create a strong first impression.
Lighting: Try to avoid filling your waiting room with fluorescent lights. Mix other light sources in with your overhead lighting by using soft table lamps, and infuse in natural light from windows wherever possible.
Colors: The color palette that you use in your office should match your industry, brand identity, patient demographic, and the feeling you want your clients to have. Consider the psychology behind colors to help you select your tones.
- Red: High Energy
- Orange: Adventure
- Yellow: Uplifting
- Green; Healing
- Blue: Honesty and Calmness
- Purple: Creativity
- Silver: Sophistication
- White: Simplicity
- Brown: Down-to-Earth
A dentist's office may want a soft blue to calm their patients, while a pediatrician’s office may want to use bright, stimulating colors to make the office fun for young kids.
Artwork & Decor: Further set the tone in your office by filling the walls with art and using throw pillows, rugs, and accents to define the space.
Entertainment: The decor is something that will catch the visual attention of your visitors. But also think about the entertainment they can watch or read while waiting. Consider adding digital signage that displays private label television or custom content. And, provide magazines and books that can hold your patient’s attention while they wait.
Touch: Think About the Comfort
You want your clients to feel good while they wait. So make they are cozy and happy in the seating area by using comfortable furniture and floor plan layouts.
- Patients don’t usually want to stare at each other while waiting so create a floor plan that faces patients away from other seating areas.
- Provide a variety of seats, such as couches and single chairs, to give visitors an opportunity to sit where they feel most conformable.
- Consider the special needs of your guests. For example, if kids visit your office, provide smaller tables and child-friendly chairs. If your patients are often on crutches or in wheelchairs, make sure there is adequate room for them to get around.
- Don’t buy furniture based on appearance alone. Sit in the furniture to ensure that it is both stylish and comfortable. You may be the one looking at the furniture, but your clients are the ones who will be sitting in it. Make sure to put their needs above yours.
Hearing: Think About the Sound
You never want to leave your guests sitting in silence. Add an element of sound to break the tension in the room and create a more natural setting for your patients.
Digital Screen Volume: If you have a television or digital screen in your office, make sure the sound is appropriate for the room. You want guests to be able to hear it if they want, but you also don’t want it to annoy other guests who aren't watching.
Overhead Music: If you use overhead music, be sure that it matches the tone of your office. Choose a style that matches your client demographic and industry, and consider using private label overhead music so your visitors don’t have to listen to obnoxious radio advertisements.
Water Features: Another way to fill the space with sound without using television or radio is through the use of water features. You can add a trickling serene sound to your waiting room by using water fountains.
Smell: Think About the Scents
Scent is an easy thing to overlook when renovating and upgrading an office. We often don’t think about smells unless we are trying to cover up a bad one.
But adding soothing scents to an office does more than cover up unpleasant smells (as there may be in a hospital or auto body shop). Infusing your office with relaxing scents like lavender or eucalyptus can improve the environment of your waiting room while helping visitors feel more relaxed and less stressed.
It can also control the impression your clients have about your facility. For example, a fresh scent will make your office feel clean. As you add fragrance to your office through the use of essential oils or aromatherapy, just make sure the smells aren’t so overwhelming that they overpower your guests with scents that are too strong.
Taste: Think About the Flavors
If you want to give your visitors a top-notch experience at your office, consider how you can appeal to their tastes by providing them with one of the more of the following refreshments.
- Always have a water fountain available so guests can get a drink while waiting.
- Take it up a notch by providing a fresh pitcher with lemon or cucumber infused water.
- Provide a coffee bar for waiting patients and their families who are attending the appointment with them.
- Offer a small bowl of mints or candies to guests.
- You may even want to give out small snacks to your visitors while they wait. This may be a good option for auto waiting rooms where visitors have a long wait or in child care offices where kids enjoy being rewarded for patiently waiting.
As you set out to improve your waiting room, remember that client experiences are created using all of the senses. You can’t focus on the look of the office and neglect the sound. And, you can’t provide tasty treats and assume that will compensate for the extremely uncomfortable chairs.
You need to focus on improving the sights, scents, sounds, feel, and taste in your office to provide your visitors with a well-rounded, beautiful, and comfortable experience.
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