I was surfing the web looking at dental websites recently and came across a picture of a front office area that horrified me.
What horrified me was the thought that in 2018 anyone would actually have an office that looked like this, and then it horrified me that the dentist actually believed that this picture of their outdated office would be a magnetic drawcard for new patients.
Let me tell you what I saw in this picture…
Firstly, the staff of the practice were not visible in this photo. The photo showed a window opening in a wall, and I’m assuming during general duties of the day the dental team are partitioned away from the general public behind this window opening in the wall. And the window opening was indeed that, an opening with a sliding glass window in the frame of the opening.
The window was positioned at about four to four and a half feet above floor level, so that patients [on the outside] would only ever be able to stand at this window.
And I’m imagining that on the office-side of the window there is a desk where staff can sit but not be seen by any people sitting in the waiting room.
The picture on the website was rather low resolution for some reason. Beside the window was the [mandatory] water cooler and beside that in the centre of the picture was a waste bin complete with overhanging plastic insert.
This attribute [of making trash cans centre stage in photos] is not exclusive to dental offices. You’d be surprised how often a waste bin pops up in a real estate magazine photo.
Would you rush out to make an appointment because of the picture I described?
I’m guessing not.
What if you had called for an appointment and this was your first vision of the inside of the dental practice when you arrived?
Would you keep on coming in, or would you back out the door and hope the security camera had not seen you?
Partitions, walls, and upstands do nothing to welcome new patients to your dental office.
And they do nothing to create “we” relationships between you and your patients.
In fact, they do the opposite.
They are barriers.
They are physical barriers that promote a separation mentality both in the patients’ minds and also in the minds of your dental team.
These sort of physical barriers, with or without the glass window, were initially invented for the olden days of dentistry to prevent departing patients from dribbling blood from their dental wounds across our dental office front desk.
Back in the days when you just wanted to usher that infection control nightmare out of your office with a trill:
“We’ll post you your bill…”
Nowadays things are a lot different.
The great dental offices have client lounge areas at the entrance where there is a sense of community.
And departing patients are able to spend time seated, across a table from the scheduling coordinator on a level and equal eye-to-eye basis.
Creating the correct environment promotes better connection, and with this increased connection more desired outcomes are created.
Take a look at your patient flow areas.
Are these areas presenting hurdles for your business and for your patients to negotiate unnecessarily?
If they are, then fire up the chainsaw….
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