You have a choice between Doctor A and Doctor B. You have heard both positive and negative things about each practice, so you decide to give them both a fair try. Doctor A’s waiting room has two flat screen televisions, racks of neatly ordered magazines, and even a computer to check your mail. Doctor B’s waiting room has no televisions, has one or two outdated magazines, and is bleakly furnished.
Assuming that both Doctors are equal in reputation and performance, which practice would you prefer?
Some may argue that the aesthetics of the waiting room are not important, as long as the customer service is good. These individuals have a high waiting threshold – patience that can be attributed to upbringing, attitude, trust, and many other factors. In businesses where waiting is inevitable, such as healthcare and call centers, these “high tolerance” individuals are the least of their worries.
The real concerns are the individuals with low waiting thresholds – the “low tolerance,” or impatient, customers. These individuals will often walk into a restaurant, hospital, or call into a call center, and will wait for, on average, a five to ten minute window before abandoning the effort. Since they cannot wait, first impressions are everything – if the room is organized, then so is the service, and vice versa.
But once you are past the first few seconds to pass the “first impression” judgment, how do you retain these customers for the long haul?
Transform the passive experience of “waiting” into an active period. Displaying health magazines in a hospital waiting room can be compared to providing health tips to callers waiting on hold. Both practices can expand your patients' waiting tolerance, while also preparing them for their appointment with a doctor or healthcare professional. For example, how many times do patients ask about patient history forms and other paperwork requirements relating to insurance eligibility? Why not address these questions through informative Message-On-Hold programs and auto-attendant menus – so you know the right questions to ask your doctor?