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Bring Your Veterinary Waiting Room Experience to the Next Level

Updated: Apr 12

Enhancing the veterinary waiting room experience is crucial for client satisfaction beyond the provision of quality medical care. Modern veterinary clients seek comprehensive service excellence, beginning with their initial encounter in the waiting area. It's essential to evaluate whether your reception space offers a welcoming, safe, and comfortable environment for both humans and animals. Additionally, efforts should be made to reduce wait times for appointments and ensure that any waiting period is as enjoyable as possible. If these areas need improvement, consider implementing changes to elevate the overall client experience in your practice.

Develop and Implement Policies – First and foremost, you want to take measures to proactively avoid your welcome area becoming a chaotic environment. To do this, create a set of rules and expectations, like all dogs must be leashed and smaller animals crated for safety purposes. Make sure front desk staff is well-versed in and prepared to enforce these policies.

Focus on Comfort – Obviously the goal is to get clients and patients out of the waiting area and into the exam room as quickly as possible, but there will inevitably be instances when there are delays or a certain amount of lag time. Prepare for those situations by making sure your lobby is designed with comfort in mind, such as with comfortable furniture, soothing colors and relaxing music.

Provide Extras – Offering additional amenities can really help bring your waiting room experience to the next level. For instance, some veterinary clinics now provide the option to watch television, play on tablets and enjoy complementary beverages while waiting. This can pass the time in a more pleasant manner, which will lend to a better overall experience for everyone.

Keep Them Separate – From a patient perspective, having to share the reception area with a variety of different species and other unfamiliar animals can be incredibly stressful. This can result in a negative overall experience, which is never good for delivering care. You can prevent this to some degree by offering separate waiting areas for different species. If you don’t have the space, using room dividers is another option.

Clear the Air – One of the biggest complaints people have about spending time in the waiting room of a veterinary clinic is the distinct odors that abound, many of which can be pretty unpleasant. The use of air purifiers, plug in air fresheners and specially designed HVAC systems can help reduce the undesirable smells and create a more breathable, fresh environment – something everyone can appreciate (including your employees).

Sharing is Caring – Take advantage of the time you have to capture and hold your clients’ attention by using the waiting room as a place to showcase and share your celebrations as a practice. Highlight employee accomplishments and share thank you cards, letters of appreciation and other correspondences you’ve received from clients. Build and foster relationships by displaying photos that clients have shared of their beloved pets. Encourage others to share their own images or stories so everyone can enjoy them!

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and the experience in your waiting area will be that first connection for many. For others, the experience they have will determine whether or not they will keep coming back. The tips listed above can help you transform your reception area into a welcome environment that promotes client retention and may even result in word-of-mouth referrals, which is always the ultimate goal.

Our Advice on Bring Your Veterinary Waiting Room Experience to the Next Level in 2024

How can you improve the client experience in your veterinary waiting room?

Enhancing the client experience in your veterinary waiting room involves creating a welcoming, comfortable environment while minimizing stress for both pets and their owners. Implement clear policies to maintain order, such as requiring dogs to be leashed and smaller animals crated. Design your waiting area with comfort in mind, incorporating cozy furniture, soothing colors, and relaxing music. Offer amenities like TV, tablets, and complimentary beverages to make wait times more pleasant. Consider separate areas for different species or use room dividers to reduce animal stress. Improve air quality with purifiers and fresheners, and foster a community spirit by sharing celebratory news and client pet photos. These strategies can significantly improve client satisfaction and encourage repeat visits.

What factors create a positive waiting room experience?

A positive waiting room experience is shaped by several key factors: implementing clear safety policies such as leashing dogs and crating smaller animals, enhancing comfort through thoughtful decor and seating, offering amenities like television, tablets, and complimentary beverages, and minimizing stress by separating different species or using dividers. Additionally, maintaining a fresh, odor-free environment with air purifiers and improving engagement by showcasing client and pet stories or achievements contributes to a welcoming atmosphere. These elements not only make wait times more pleasant but also reinforce a caring and professional image of the practice.

If you have a family-oriented clientele, is there a safe and engaging space for children while they wait?

For practices with a family-oriented clientele, creating a safe and engaging space for children in the waiting room is essential. This can include a dedicated kids' area equipped with child-friendly furniture, books, toys, and activities that are both entertaining and educational, ensuring the space is well-demarcated and visible to parents for safety. Incorporating interactive elements, like animal-themed games or a small aquarium, can further enhance the waiting experience for young visitors. Such thoughtful additions signal to families that their needs are anticipated and valued, contributing positively to their overall impression of the practice.

Could streamlining the check-in process with tablets or kiosks reduce wait times and improve the client flow?

Yes, streamlining the check-in process with tablets or kiosks can significantly reduce wait times and improve client flow in veterinary practices. This technology allows clients to check in efficiently upon arrival, updating personal and pet information, which reduces paperwork and frees up front desk staff for other tasks. Automated check-in systems can also provide real-time updates to the veterinary team, enhancing scheduling efficiency and minimizing bottlenecks. Implementing such solutions not only speeds up the registration process but also enhances the overall client experience by making visits smoother and more convenient.

How should staff be trained to handle potential conflicts or stressful situations in the waiting room while maintaining a positive atmosphere?

Staff should receive comprehensive training in conflict resolution and stress management techniques to handle potential conflicts or stressful situations in the waiting room effectively. This training should cover recognizing early signs of distress or conflict among clients or between pets, de-escalating situations through calm and assertive communication, and implementing predetermined protocols for various scenarios. Staff should also be trained in maintaining empathy and professionalism, ensuring they can provide reassurance and clear instructions to clients. By preparing staff with these skills, the practice can maintain a positive atmosphere, even during challenging situations, fostering a sense of safety and trust among clients.

For more practice management tips, tricks, and expert advice, bookmark the DVMelite blog and check back often for fresh content.

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