Some questions one needs to ask themselves when planning a new office or remodel are:
- Where will my office be located?
- Who are my current clientele or demographic?
- What demographic do I wish to attract?
- What does my office say about me?
- As a professional?
- As a person?
These are just a few preliminary questions that need to be answered honestly prior to planning any sort of long-term office. Geography and demographics play a big part. In every city there are things to consider such as the climate and income strata. Designing an office in the sunny, hot desert of Arizona is completely different than one in the cloudy, rainy northwest. Same goes for an affluent district of town vs. an area with people of lesser means.
Light, scale, proportion, colors, materials—all affect the way an office “feels”. How an office feels affects perception of patients and clientele. How they feel will affect your bottom line by way of referrals and repeat patients.
So, what is your vision? Do you want to be a “drill-fill-and-bill” dentist? This is easily matched by way of doing everything as inexpensively as possible. Pay no attention to the design as a whole and you will attract those types of patients. This mindset is also perceived to trickle down to everything about you. Patients recognize that if you are doing everything “on the cheap”, that is a mindset that is not only the office but also how you may or may not keep up with the latest technology, techniques and the way you treat your patients.
Do you want to be thought of as “the best” in your respective specialty meaning do you want to attract only the high-end clientele? One needs to be prepared to pay very close attention to every aspect of their office design and operations to accomplish, however this can alienate people who do not wish to spend the high-end dollar even if they can afford it.
If you wish to appeal to a broader spectrum, then it is even more important to pay attention to every design aspect and detail to attract your target demographic. Every balanced decision, collectively, adds up to how the final product will feel, not just to patients but to you and your staff as well. Happier staff (which includes YOU) makes for higher productivity, higher sales and simply a happier environment—which all adds up to the “experience”.
The overall experience is a much greater sales tool than simply being a great dentist or practitioner and is an intangible that will positively affect your bottom line.