Appointment-setting aside, the ‘patient experience’ starts with your veterinary clinic’s reception area. Your reception area is both the face and the welcoming arms of your clinic, and although aesthetics plays a big role in attracting pet owners to your clinic, there’s more that you need to consider. You have to remember that most of your clients and their pets are anxious, they are visiting to get checked, after all — so it’s not enough to have a charming reception area and a well-trained receptionist.
The Importance of Promoting Calm and Comfort
The clinic’s reception area should promote calm and comfort to both the pet owner and the pets. Pets can ‘detect’ if their owners are in distress, and would also be nervous, too. And it only takes one nervous pet to affect other pets and pet owners in the area, and soon you’ll have a loud and chaotic reception area that’s jarring for everyone. On the other hand, if your reception area manages to calm down both the pet owner and the pet, you’ll improve your client’s experience, and also make your job easier as calm pets are a lot better to work with.
As such, we’ll be taking a look at different ways you can improve your vet reception area, and ultimately boost business:
#1 Choose Your Color and Lighting Carefully
Colour and lighting play a huge role when creating a calming ambience for the pet owners, but it can equally affect the pets as well. You should choose more soothing colours instead of the usual ‘clinical white’ or bright and vibrant ones. Various animals react differently to colours, so your safest option is choosing neutral and/or earthy tones as they’re much more calming. Likewise, you should also be smart about your lighting. Find a right balance between task, accent, and ambient lighting and avoid bright light in sections where your clients (and their pets) sit and wait — bright light can be uncomfortable for clients, and can negatively affect pets with light sensitivity. If you’re unsure as to which colour and lighting works for you, there are companies in Melbourne that specialise in medical fitouts for veterinary offices, dental practices, and so on.
#2 Incorporate Nature and Natural Light
Indoor plants and natural lighting can improve mood in both humans and animals and can boost the aesthetic appeal of your reception area. Indoor plants can help keep the air clean and fresh, and also reduce stress in both the pet owners and their pets (be careful when picking them since, as you already know by now, some plants are toxic to certain animals). Allowing natural lighting through skylights and windows can make your reception area look and feel more spacious and breathable, and can also help you cut back on your energy consumption.
#3 Clean the Air, Mind the Scent
Apart from the obvious scent that some animals give off, there are more subtle smells that humans may not notice but can trigger other animals and make them anxious. Consider installing filters and HVAC systems that effectively remove odour, pheromones, and irritants in the air to increase your client and their pet’s comfort. You can also use special air fresheners that are designed to calm down dogs and cats and make them feel that they’re in a safe place.
#4 Separate Pet Section
No matter how calming your reception area is, some pets may start acting hostile against other people or animals. As such, consider having a section for pet owners with opaque dividers that prevent their pets from getting aggressive at the sight of other animals in the reception area. Remember, it only takes one loud and anxious pet to trigger a domino effect.
Promoting calm and comfort in your vet reception area is good for everyone: a comfortable and satisfied pet owner who would be more likely to be loyal to your clinic and even recommend you to their fellow pet owners, and you’ll have your job cut out for you by working with a pet that won’t thrash around or try to escape. So, by adopting these tips, not only are you improving client satisfaction, but you’ll also be boosting your brand and business.