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10 Tips to improve your waiting room

Frequently overlooked, patient waiting rooms are critically important to the flow of your practice, as well as the happiness of customers and patients. Waiting rooms or waiting areas can be stressful places, for both patients and their owners. Therefore your waiting room must be welcoming, comfortable, and ultimately make patients & owners feel at ease. 

Your waiting room is often the first impression new customers have of your practice. It can even shape the opinion of your current customers. Therefore by following waiting room best practice and investing in this area, you could see several benefits, such as high retention rates and improved customer satisfaction.

We've put together 10 top tips you can take into consideration, to make your waiting room better. Read more detail about each point in the blog below

Tip 1: Keep Clients Updated

Waiting rooms can become busy, or even incur long wait times. From a client's perspective, there's nothing worse than not being informed or knowing how long you will be waiting for. Having a receptionist or other member of staff frequently update customers on wait times makes them feel more important and valued. This can also lead to fewer complaints or frustration when wait times are longer than usual. 

Tip 2: Make It Comfortable

Waiting room furniture is more important than you may have thought. Not only does it offer a place for your customers to sit, but it also sets the mood for the whole room. When it comes to your waiting room furniture, it must be comfortable. High-quality materials will ensure seating is soft and durable, lasting a long period of time. Opting for more expensive materials also offers additional benefits such as easy-to-clean options. A top-tip when it comes to your furniture is to opt for a style and colour scheme that ties in with your brand. This will make you look more professional. We offer a range of bespoke built seating options, which we would be happy to help you with. Simply give us a call on 01304831831 or send an email to

As well as seating, there are other ways you can make your waiting area more comfortable. Such as allowing plenty of natural light to enter the room, and adding some art and décor. Some studies show that clients prefer landscapes and nature scenes, which promotes a calming and soothing atmosphere. 

Tip 3: Entertain & Educate

Waiting rooms and waiting areas offer an ideal opportunity to educate and engage your customers. It's also said to increase client satisfaction. Entertaining or educating customers is beneficial when distracting them from long wait times, and also to helps deliver practice-specific promotions or messaging. Display boards and TVs can help provide information, advise, or even promote products & services. 

By offering something for your customers to read or watch, you stimulate their minds. Which can help reduce worry & boredom. From industry magazines and leaflets to educational videos and posters, there's a wide range of resources at your disposal. Feel free to check out our resources section (found in your myPlus account) for a wide range of posters and educational material you can display in your practice.

Tip 4: Offer Refreshments

Plenty of other sectors already use refreshments in their waiting rooms. If you've ever walked into a car dealership or a salon, you are often greeted with a hot drink. It's a nice touch, but why do businesses go to this length and what effect does it have?

This all comes down to reciprocity. It's an extremely strong instinct that can have a great deal of influence over your customers. When you offer something to someone, you automatically trigger their psychological instinct to do something in return. This helps the process of advising certain procedures or upselling products.

An easy way to offer refreshments is by having a water tank or tea/coffee-making facilities in your waiting room. Not only does it keep your customers hydrated and entertained, it shows you care and increases the perceived value of your practice from the customers point of view. 

Tip 5: Keep It Clean

Waiting rooms are high-traffic areas and easily become dirty. Especially with muddy paws and shoes, fur, and all sorts of other grime. If you have a visibly dirty or stuffy waiting room, customers may easily assume your practice is just as un-hygienic behind closed doors. This can be very off-putting and even place doubt in the professionalism of your practice.  

Ensuring floors and surfaces are clean, as well as allowing fresh air to flow into your practices has always been important in this industry. However, with the pandemic heightening awareness of personal and environmental hygiene, there is increased demand to keep areas sanitised, looking clean, and feeling fresh. 

There are some easy actions you can take, to help keep your waiting room in its best possible state of hygiene. These actions include: opening some windows to allow air to flow through the area, providing hand sanitiser, regularly going in and wiping surfaces and seats, as well as thoroughly cleaning floors to keep dirt, fleas and other harmful bacteria to a minimum.

The Duplex 340 Steam Floor Cleaner is a highly recommended product to stay on top of clean floors. By using hot steam, it's chemical-free, meaning you can safely and effectively clean floors. It's lightweight and compact making a great choice to regularly clean your waiting room area. It can also be used all around your practice - thanks to having interchangeable brushes for a range of surfaces.

Tip 6: Add Some Extra's

As well as the standard waiting room amenities, there are some useful and thoughtful additional touches you can add, which gives your veterinary waiting room a competitive edge over others. 

One super useful extra piece of equipment you can add to your waiting room are weighing scales. Not only do scales allow customers to weigh their pets and give up-to-date & accurate readings to your staff, but they also add a level of engagement to your waiting room. Even if you have not requested the weight of an animal, you may find customers use scales to better educate themselves on the weight and health of their pet. Or even just to kill time. To add value you can place scales near some educational material about the importance of keeping an eye on the weight of their pet. 

Tip 7: Something For The Pets

It's easy to focus on your customers when it comes to your waiting room, however, their pets (your patients) are as equally if not more important. Therefore we should consider them more at every stage of the veterinary experience, including the waiting room. 

By providing a selection of carefully chosen treats, you show that you also acknowledge your furry patients. Plus - everyone loves treats. It's a great way to make them feel more at ease and have positive associations with your practice. Which always goes down well. 

Cat shelves are also becoming more popular within practice waiting rooms. Cat shelves or cat trees are a great way to help work towards a cat-friendly clinic accreditation. By providing a high-level tree or shelf, you help reduce tension and stress in cats that are constantly battling over territory. These provide a great resting place for cats, stimulating them, reducing mischievous behaviour. 

Another great way to cater to your pets in your waiting room is to introduce pheromones. Pet Pheromones help provide a sense of safety and well-being. Relaxed and emotionally balanced animals are better able to make choices humans prefer and can have more acceptable behaviour ( By introducing plug-in pheromones into your practice, you can help promote a relaxed state of mind, and calm your patients. 

Tip 8: Introduce Zones

Vet practices can be stressful places for animals. Animals can get worked up and tense before even seeing the vet. Waiting rooms can also be stressful places for their owners. If they have an animal who is prone to high levels of stress or doesn't get along with other animals - the waiting room can become a nightmare. 

By introducing pet-friendly zones, you can help reduce stress and segment animals by their social type. Marking out areas of your waiting room for nervous pets or allocating a section, especially for pets that are shy and don't socialise well - can help improve the dynamic of your waiting room. By allowing owners with nervous pets or pets who don't socialise well to sit separately, you help reduce the stress levels of your animal friends, as well as make their owners feel at ease too. 

It can also be a good idea to separate dogs and cats up within the waiting area. Again marking out zones, you make it easily identifiable as to where these areas are for your customers. Placing paw prints on the floor for each animal type is an effective and easy way to do this. There are also other methods such as signs and posters. Creating separate cat & dog zones is another step you can take to work towards your cat friendly clinic accreditation. Want to make your waiting area more cat-friendly? Read more here.  

Tip 9: Upsell 

Waiting rooms give your customers time. Time that is often spent thinking about the wellbeing of their pet, or simply time sat waiting to be seen. This time presents the perfect opportunity to increase the revenue of your practice. Rather than trying to keep customers after they've seen the vet, you can use the time they spend waiting, to recommend and upsell additional products/services. 

Whether it is in person, or through the use of POSM (point of sale material) such as product stands and posters; up-selling is a great way to increase spending per customer. By utilising the time they are waiting, you are entertaining them, while also preventing them from using up the additional time after they've been seen; meaning they can be on their way, allowing you to move on to the next patient. 

One example that can be easily carried out is promoting dental products. Whilst customers are waiting, feel free to open a conversation with your customers about their pets dental hygiene, allowing you to recommend products. It makes the customer feel valued and gives that personal touch. If doing this in person isn't possible, you can use posters and other material to get your customers thinking about their pets dental health. 

Tip 10: Collect Feedback

Lastly, but most importantly - ask for feedback. 

No one knows your customer better than themselves. It's often the best place to turn to when looking to improve your practice waiting area. You can either ask in person "how was your wait - is there anything we can do to improve" or simply use some clever marketing such as an email after their visit to receive valuable feedback. 

This can be done prior to making any changes, giving you a better idea of what changes to make. Or to gather feedback on the changes you have made and the effect they are having.