In 2017, an online survey by Ipsos revealed that 76 percent of millennials believe that office design and aesthetics influence their overall impression of a particular company or office: 63 percent said that logos have an impact on their view, in addition to the brand’s website (82 percent). This is to say that in the modern world, branding is essential to success. Along with branding in healthcare, the patient experience plays an integral role in how an individual perceives an in-office visit.

Interested in making your dental office more welcoming for patients? Here are five tips to get you started.

Invest in Quality Furniture

What is the first thing you notice when entering a business or office space? If you’re like most individuals, it’s probably the furniture. After all, this is where you will spend your time waiting to be seen by the doctor.

Essential components of any office space include couches or chairs, entertainment (such as a television or magazines), and a specialty area for children. The key here is to invest in quality furniture. Patients can tell if you skimp out and use old, hand-me-down pieces. Consider IKEA for affordable solutions to make your office more welcoming for patients. For example, this brown leather Morabo Loveseat is the perfect piece to add modern elegance. Also, consider this Rodelund flatwoven rug to add a touch of warmth. Finishing touches, such as this Grinsbyn chandelier and Vittsjo coffee table, tie the room together.

Add a Design Element to Each Room

While less is often more, adding a design element to each room will make your office even more inviting and conversational for patients. Select a theme and ensure each piece compliments that aesthetic. Consider color and shape, and don’t be afraid to try something new. One idea is to incorporate natural elements—such as potted plants—into your office, as they have a way of evoking feelings of peace, calmness, and serenity and add a touch of beauty. For a low-maintenance option, consider artificial plants such as this Fejka eucalyptus or palm.

Wall decor is another excellent choice for making your dental office more welcoming for patients. Consider landscape shots of nature or cities, depending on your overall desired mood. This Bjorksta photograph of a beach promotes feelings of happiness and comfort, while this one of a city feels a bit more exciting and spirited. Whatever your desired style, there are many options from which to choose.

Play Soothing Music or White Noise

While the tips above focus on touch and sight, we turn our focus towards sound for our third tip. The 2016 Hospital Construction Survey revealed that more than 50 percent of healthcare companies are implementing noise-reduction construction materials to boost patient experience in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Why? Studies show that sound, when loud and unruly, can cause a spike in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Sound can also disrupt the physician’s focus and reduce the patient’s sense of privacy and trust.

Playing soothing music or white noise, such as rain or forest sounds, will make your dental office more welcoming for patients, as it eases their minds and allows them to take a deep breath and relax. Additionally, while many dental offices are open-style, consider adding walls or curtains to allow more privacy. Patients will appreciate the individualized approach and consideration for their personal space.

Set the Lighting and Temperature

Another critical element to creating a welcoming environment for your dental patients is incorporating soft lighting and setting a pleasant temperature. These elements play a significant role in patient satisfaction. Exposure to light has mental and physical effects depending on the brightness, saturation, and hue. And temperature can make us comfortable or highly uncomfortable depending on the time of year, our clothing, and resting internal temperature.

For lighting, first, maximize on any natural lighting sources, such as windows. For additional filler, use LEDs, as it’s more pleasing to the eye than fluorescent bulbs and can be micro-adjusted using a dimmer to account for the time of day. As for the office temperature, 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit is considered the sweet spot for most individuals.

Give the Patient a Warm Smile and Greeting

Our final tip for making your dental office more welcoming for patients is to have happy and helpful office staff greet your patients. A warm smile and “hello” fosters a sense of comfort and builds the foundation of friendship between you, your team, and your patients.

Consider the individuals on your team, their unique personalities, and areas in which they succeed. Ensure the individuals who are the first line of communication with patients are bubbly, kind-hearted, and connect well with patients. They are an essential component of your office’s first impression on patients and should embody your principles and values.

Making your dental office more welcoming for patients is key to lasting success. A patient’s impression of your office space, choice of color and lighting, and staff all matter when judging their overall satisfaction rate. Branding and patient experience go hand-in-hand and, by implementing tips, you will be sure to find lasting success.