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9 Easy Enhancements to Promote a Positive Waiting Room Experience

9 Easy Enhancements to Promote a Positive Waiting Room Experience

Have you waited in your waiting room lately? You should. In fact, that’s one of the best ways to find out what your waiting room experience is really like. If you’re wondering why this is such a big deal, waiting room experience is an important part of patient satisfaction. And patient satisfaction will be extremely important in 2017, when the shift to value-based care goes into full effect. So don’t risk getting low scores on those patient satisfaction surveys, losing reimbursement or, worse, paying penalties. Give your waiting room an upgrade with these nine easy enhancements:

1. Clean it up. When was the last time you gave your waiting room a complete, deep cleaning? From top to bottom, dust the ceilings, run the vacuum, mop the floor, dust and polish the furniture, clean the windows and clear out the clutter. Your waiting room will be fresh and clean, and you’ll eliminate any offensive odors. Be selective with your cleaning products though, so as to finish with a neutral scent.

2. Offer a variety of reading materials. Even in this technological age, patients really still do read magazines and books. Be sure to offer a variety of reading material. Even if your patients are mostly men, remember that men read magazines, and women will likely wait with them. Don’t forget to toss out any old, worn or torn magazines and replace them with clean, current copies.

3. Go digital. People have become accustomed to being able to get free Wi-Fi while out in public. Offering it to your patients while they wait will ease the lag time. If you really want to make your technologically savvy patients happy, provide portable-device charging stations and small working areas for your patients who may bring their work while they wait for appointments.

4. Rearrange the seating. Note how your waiting room chairs are arranged. Is there room for a family to sit together? Are seats arranged in such a way that patients are forced to sit too close together? Small tables positioned between every few seats will help alleviate that too-close proximity and also offer patients a place to set their belongings. Take note too, of your furniture’s condition. If it’s overly torn, stained or dilapidated, consider replacing it.

5. Communicate. Let your patients know when they check in approximately how long their wait will be. If this changes while they’re waiting, notify them. Also, if they arrive early but the appointment is running late, let them know. Your communication will go a long way in easing their anxiety and frustration, thus providing a positive waiting experience.

6. Provide entertainment. Give your patients the option to watch something while they wait. It’s fairly simple to hang a flat-panel TV so it’s out of the way and if it helps, have a rule that the receptionist controls the remote. You can eliminate the need for DVDs by purchasing a video subscription service.

7. Provide refreshments. You don’t have to be elaborate, but putting out a few carafes with coffee and hot water, along with coffee, tea and cocoa supplies, will go a long way toward making patients feel relaxed while they wait. Use discretion with food, though, being mindful of common patient allergies and food contamination issues. For example, opt for a store-bought tin of cookies rather than homemade.

8. Create some ambiance. Add some finishing touches to your waiting room to establish a relaxing atmosphere. Consider items such as a stocked fish tank, visually appealing art (perhaps from local artists!) and soft, soothing music such as nature sounds or light instrumentals.

9. Consider your clientele. Above all, evaluate who your primary patients are and cater to them. If you serve pediatrics, have easy-to-clean toys available and be mindful of what channel you set the TV to. If you serve geriatrics, make sure there is ample room for patients with walkers and wheelchairs to navigate and that seats are easy to get in and out of.

Practice Builders can help you improve patient flow in your practice. Just email us at info@practicebuilders.com or call us at 855.898.2710 for a free marketing consult today. Let us help you keep a steady stream of patients coming through your doors!

Medical Healthcare Marketing

6 Easy Ways to Research Your Competition so that You Can Attract More Patients

6 Easy Ways to Research Your Competition so that You Can Attract More Patients

If you want to stay ahead of the game, you’ve got to know your competition. We’ll show you how to do your own market research so you can get the scoop on competing healthcare practices. When you know their strengths and weaknesses (and understand your own) you’ll be better-positioned to strategize your own marketing efforts and increase your patient load.

Here are six stealthy ways you can dig deep to understand competing healthcare practices:

1. Find them on the Internet. You likely already know at least one competitor in your local region, but first you need to seek out who you’re vying with for patients. In this case, your friends are Google and Google Tools. Do a search to figure out who your local competitors are, and then go one step further and employ the help of Google Trends and Google Alerts. You’ll feel like a secret agent as you discover all you ever wanted to know about your competition!

2. Peruse their website. You can learn a lot about a medical practice by their website! A company’s mission and values will clarify what their primary goals are, staff bios will introduce you to the caliber of their employees, patient testimonials will reveal what sets them apart, and a blog will display some of the practice’s personality.

3. Follow their social media. Following a competing practice on Facebook or Twitter is a great way to discover what they’re doing in the community, how they engage their patients and even what their patients think of them. Speaking of reviews, check out Yelp and see what lurks there. Don’t forget to search on your own practice, too. Many healthcare practice’s strengths and weaknesses come out via social networking channels.

4. Call them, incognito. You don’t want to make a call from your office phone, because caller IDs are a clear giveaway of who’s on the other line. But call a competing practice and put in a few inquiries to find out a little more information about them. You’ll also see how their customer service stacks up.

5. Sign up for their newsletter. Again, incognito. You might feel like a snoop using your work email address, so use a personal account and sign up for your competitor’s monthly newsletter. Similar to social media and a blog, a newsletter will reveal how a practice educates their patients plus give you a glimpse into a practice’s upcoming events and past accomplishments as well as how they interact with their patients.

6. Listen to your own patients. Some patients may willingly volunteer information to you about why they were dissatisfied elsewhere. It’s also a question you can ask, especially new patients who may have recently left a practice. If you’re uncomfortable digging in the dirt, simply ask what brought them to you. You may not find out a specific practice pain point, but you’ll still come out ahead in understanding how your own marketing efforts are paying off.

But you don’t have to research your competition alone, because that’s our specialty. Let Practice Builders help you do the right market research and create a marketing plan that suits your needs and goals. Contact us at info@practicebuilders.com or 800.679.1262 to sign up for a free marketing consult with us, and we’ll get started!

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Gain More Social Media Followers in 5 Easy Steps

Most medical and dental practices have set up social media accounts by now as a way to market themselves as part of their healthcare marketing strategy.

Even if you’ve had your social media accounts for a few years or a few months, you still want the same thing – more followers. Here are the top five tips you can follow to gain more followers on your social media accounts to expand your practice, increase your revenue and gain new patients.

Regular Updates

One of the easiest ways to interact with your followers and gain more is to have regular updates. You can post a few times a day or a few times a week; the schedule is up to you and the intention is the same – to have enough material to draw in an audience.

Sporadic updates weeks or months apart makes your social media account look like a ghost town. Regular updates make your account look active and gives you enough material to attract new followers, plus it ensures that your social media page will show up on their feed when they log in throughout the day. Updating regularly will also help you keep track of comments and messages so you can communicate with new and old followers and market your practice.

Meaningful Updates

Updating on a regular schedule is a great start, but to take your account further you need to make sure that your updates are meaningful.

Updates throughout the day about your day – what you’re doing, what you’re eating, etc. – are great for personal accounts, but updates for your medical or dental practice need to have more substance. You can hire a content writer to help with your content or search the Twitter-verse and Internet for updates and interesting stories related to your field that you can use.

Hashtags

Twitter and Facebook users often use the search function to find out more information on health topics or to look for practices in their area.

By using hashtags for certain keywords – like #CrownReplacement or #KneeSurgery – you can draw in new patients and new followers who are looking for information on the medical or dental fields that you specialize in.

Giveaways

Giveaways, deals and drawings are other ways that can help you find more followers. For one, it allows you to make use of valuable hashtags to get your target audience’s attention. You can also ask your audience to follow you to be entered in the giveaway or deal – if they win, great! If not, they are at least starting to follow you and are gaining more information about your practice.

Links and Reposts

Linking to articles or reposting posts from other accounts is another good way to gain more followers on social media. By sharing information from other sites and sources, you’re gaining a new audience that follows the sources you’re drawing from. Plus, it makes you look like an expert in your field by sharing information that relates to your expertise. It also helps give you meaningful content that you can share on a regular basis with your followers and makes your account look active and engaged.

Looking for more ways to gain more followers and create a more active social media presence? Our experienced healthcare marketing consultants can help provide you with guidance, content and social media marketing ideas. For more information, you can contact us at 800.679.1200 or by email at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing