The Key to Carparking for Dental Clinics
Recently we outlined some key areas of dental practice design that often get overlooked for the more aesthetically inclined parts of a dental practice.
This included wayfinding, accessibility, and carparking to build a positive patient experience.
Going beyond the things that make a dental practice look nice is a key consideration to ensure an efficiently operating clinic that delivers a seamless customer experience, which is why we have decided to put parking under the spotlight to highlight its importance, and offer tips to consider when planning for your ideal dental practice.
Parking is something that is often overlooked when purchasing or starting a dental practice, to the owner’s future frustration. Particularly for suburban dental practices, making car parking a high priority during your pre-planning phase is critical for happy patients and future success.
Here’s what the team at OPTIMA suggest:
Your (Future) Space
It’s super important to have forethought prior to committing to a new site. What this means is to consider all your requirements, and if the property/location you are interested in meets those needs.
Simply, does the land area have sufficient space for your dental practice construction plans AND client car parking needs? It’s very easy to get caught up about your beautiful new practice, but if your customers have a poor experience getting to your practice, they will likely go elsewhere.
Taking this one step further is to consider your future goals for the dental practice. It’s easy to look at your new practice as a clear step up from where you are currently operating, but it’s essential to have a future focus when planning your dream dental clinic. Patient numbers will increase over time, you most likely add a few chairs/surgeries to expand your business. Your car parking situation should take this planning for future growth into account. Nailing this from the outset will save many future headaches.
Do you share parking facilities with adjoining/nearby businesses? What is the peak time of day/week? How many patients will be in your chairs/waiting rooms at any one time? Will your parking adequately cover this?
Accessibility also needs to be covered. While this is front of mind inside your dental practice, ensuring this extends to your car park is critical.
Great Customer Experience
For patients, parking availability is among the most important elements when deciding on a dental care provider. A great customer experience can only result from putting yourself in your patient’s shoes and focusing on the end-to-end service you provide, which goes beyond the time your patient is in the waiting room or the chair.
The positive patient experience begins with booking an appointment, but also includes the ease in which they can access your dental practice. You may have the best dentists working inside the practice, but if patients have difficulty finding a nearby parking space outside, there is only so much extra effort they will put in to reach you before moving to a competitor with easier access and better parking facilities.
No customer has ever complained about having too many car parks to choose from. While people may not be triggered by parking facilities to leave a positive review online, it removes the risk of negative reviews, which can be a common theme among dental practices online.
Pleasing your patients before they even enter your practice is a sure way of having a great patient retention rate. Having your customers coming back is obviously good for business but having them happy on arrival and arriving early or on-time will improve the experience for everyone and get them telling their friends about how great your new practice is.
The Perfect Layout
The ideal car park is a free car park that is on your property, with ample spaces available, allowing patients to get in and out of appointments with ease. While you may not always be able to achieve every aspect, getting as close to this as possible will add a key selling point to potential patients, and help keep your existing ones.
Your responsibility to your customer extends beyond the work you do in the chair. Providing a good experience to them should be your first intention – even prior to purchase or planning – and a successful new dental practice will be the result.