Have you ever been out someplace and walked into the establishment’s restroom only to immediately have your skin crawl with how poorly they clean and maintain it? When this happened didn’t your impression of the business you were visiting immediately drop? I know mine sure does when this happens. It is such a universal reaction I’ve never understood why any business owner or manager would ever let this happen. No matter how positive of an experience I may have been having, my impression and my experience has now been diminished and I am less likely to return or recommend my friends and family visit.
Yes, one could claim that this happens far more often in restaurants and gas stations than it does in dental offices, but does it really? Don’t we visit restaurants and gas stations more often than we visit the dentist? As a dental office designer I probably have more opportunity to see dental office restrooms more than the average patient who only visits their own dentist twice a year, and I can tell you there are some pretty disgusting dental office restrooms, too. And, just like their restaurant and gas stations counterparts, many are not friendly to the disabled in our population.
Retaining patients and growing referrals is much more about designing a positive and memorable patient experience than it is about the technical expertise of the dental work being done. Patients, just like patrons to a restaurant, want to feel good about their overall experience visiting their dentists. They want to feel welcome, wait in clean and attractive reception areas, sit in comfortable and ergonomically friendly dental exam chairs, have their business transaction occur in privacy, and when needed, visit clean and sparkling restrooms. When this happens they assume that the quality of treatment they are receiving is top notch.
So, when you get to the office today take a close look at the restroom. Does it make the kind of statement about you and your dental practice that you would like for it to? If not, how come?