How Orthodontists Can Make Their Waiting Rooms More Interesting for Kids and Families

Published on May 5, 2022

Orthodontist marketing is the key to getting more patients through the doors of your practice. Over the last few years, Central Florida orthodontists who want to grow and retain their independence have had success positioning themselves as family orthodontists who can help kids, teens, and adults.

Once your orthodontist marketing takes hold, quality of care and customer service combine to decide if a first-time patient becomes a reliable regular. Once care begins, a patient must maintain a relationship with an orthodontist – but it’s crucial not to take that for granted.

If you carefully craft your customer experience to appeal to your patients, you will have a smoother time retaining them and getting them to keep their scheduled appointments. That makes life easier for you and shuttles them toward their treatment goals all the faster.

Customer experience is the patient’s total impression of your brand based on everything they (and their families!) encounter in their dealings with you. That includes:

  • Setting an appointment (first-time or follow-up)
  • Completing all the necessary intake paperwork
  • Visiting your office
  • Treatment time in the chair
  • Paying for services and checking out
  • Follow-up communications

Of course, all of these matter – they make a difference in what your patient thinks of you. Even the best orthodontist marketing could fall flat if any of these touch-points clash with the patient’s expectations.

But when it comes to appealing to the whole family, one thing stands out above all others: Making that waiting room time go by quickly and painlessly for visitors of all ages.

During any time spent in the waiting room, boredom and anxiety are your worst enemies. You and your staff should aim to keep everyone engaged and excited about the process. This helps you set the stage for successful treatment and a more memorable relationship.

Creating a Space Where Visitors Won’t Mind “Waiting”

We know, there are countless things to think about when you’re running an orthodontic practice. If you’ve been relying on patients’ smartphones to keep them entertained in your waiting room, it’s not too late to bring the experience up to the next level – and it’s easier than you might think.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Ditch Educational Dental Content in Favor of Family-Friendly Media

Many large dental and orthodontic chains use a pre-planned loop of educational media in their waiting rooms. Unfortunately, this can cause more trouble than it is worth. There are three likely reactions to this material, and none of them are positive:

  • Most people will tune the information out
  • Children will often be restless and disengaged
  • Adults who are anxious about treatment may feel worse

While the idea behind educational media is sound, the execution is simply not worth it. Patients of any age don’t go to a waiting room to learn about treatment – they want to have those conversations with their physician. A better approach is to embrace what patients want: A relaxing wait time.

Animated movies or cartoons are great options for a family-oriented practice. If this doesn’t fit, consider recording your own content so patients, especially younger ones, can start to feel like they know and trust you before treatment begins.

2. Try to Make Time for Patients to Tour Your Office

One way to make a wait go by faster is to keep people moving. If your office layout allows it, this is a terrific opportunity for families to tour around, see your equipment, and meet your staff. You’ll build rapport from the beginning and patients may have questions ready by the time they meet you.

It’s especially valuable to discuss any special equipment you expect to use in a pending treatment. Kids are much more comfortable with new experiences when they are “exciting,” not just “unexpected.” And adults love to hear that their orthodontist is prepared with all the latest technology.

3. Remember, Fun Isn’t Just About Screen Time

Some orthodontists have integrated video gaming right into their customer experience, as kids are able to play games during most of the treatment process. With its lightweight, handheld frame, the Nintendo Switch console is especially suited for this.

But remember that when there are no screens around, kids will play with just about anything they’re offered. Look at the average age of your younger patients and find engaging, hands-on activities that they can complete in five or ten minutes, from Play-Doh to Uno.

A little fun goes a long way in making your office a place they’ll be happy to come back to!

Contact us today to discover more about orthodontist marketing.

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