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These 6 Practices Can Show You How to Get the Patient Experience Off to the Best Possible Start

Is your reception area making the right impression?




YOU’RE ALREADY AN INVISION reader, so we’re confident you’re savvy enough to know that a waiting area that looks like a DMV just isn’t going to cut it. But what sort of reception set-up is best for you? An authoritative command center directly opposite the entrance that exudes medical professionalism and hints at the unrivaled patient care within? A funky counter and cozy furniture that says “Welcome, guest?” A personal concierge greeting customers at the front door, boutique hotel style, with a latte waiting after testing? Or perhaps a discreet antique table cleverly pushed back just far enough to give customers a glimpse of your exquisite frames on the way in? The key is to integrate the reception space seamlessly into your office, while ensuring your customers feel like they’re being personally attended to and setting the tone for an experience that’s memorable for all the right reasons. Here are a half-dozen eyecare businesses who know how to make a winning first impression.


Artisan Eyeworks reception
Ashland, OR

For eyecare businesses looking to foster community connections, the reception area can serve as a kind of shared space. This is very much the case at Artisan Eyeworks in Ashland, OR. With a food co-op, hardware store, coffee roaster and restaurants nearby (and a yoga studio right upstairs), the business is located in the town’s Railroad District, which “is really where the local people hang out,” says co-owner Dr. Kimberly Hoyt. As a member of the Ashland Gallery Association, Artisan Eyeworks takes part in its First Friday Artwalks, bringing in art lovers, who discover a welcoming reception space with casual, comfortable seating and a big, colorful rug. The design makes the most of the building’s high ceilings and corner light, with multi-hued wood floors and accents plus functionally beautiful fixtures that contribute to the warmth of a place where people are happy to spend time.

Ziegler Leffingwell Eyecare reception

Ziegler Leffingwell Eyecare
New Berlin, WI

Co-owner Dr. Dave Ziegler got the idea for Ziegler Leffingwell Eyecare’s concierge-style reception space while strolling through a hotel lobby one day. It’s one of numerous features of the practice — whose design also drew inspiration from Nordstrom and Apple — intended to ensure that staff “connect with patients and treat them like family,” Ziegler says. The retail and reception spaces overlap, changing up floor textures, colors and materials to create interest. Ziegler has strict rules for the concierge desk: “No clutter… Just a couple of Macs, a phone, a credit-card processing pad, and two welcoming faces. I’m a minimalist.” The silent phone is for internal use only; incoming calls go to the back office. Pretest suites have glass walls for an open feel; the concierge desk staff have a view of these rooms, improving patient flow.

VisionQuest Eyecare reception


VisionQuest Eyecare
Fishers, In

A beautiful reception area can serve as an aesthetic centerpiece for your office’s overall design, tying all the visual elements together. Few practices demonstrate this better than VisionQuest Eyecare in Fishers, IN, where the reception desk, framed in natural stone with solid surface counter tops, pulls the exterior into the interior, creating an inviting feeling. It also functions as the start and endpoint for the patient’s journey through the central core of the practice, whose circular design allows them to move from reception to testing and exam with a natural flow. This effect is heightened by the installation of natural wood-toned luxury vinyl plank throughout the public area at a 45-degree angle, which leads the client through the space to focus on the frame displays.

Spectrum Eye Care reception

Spectrum Eye Care
Stoney Creek, ON, canada

Drs. Bita Moeinifar and Richard Combden designed their office to look nothing like a traditional optometry office — in fact the inspiration for the space was a hotel lobby. As Moeinifar puts it, “You don’t check in at a front desk, there aren’t receptionists ignoring you while on the phone and you aren’t bombarded by a sea of frames.” To establish the “lobby” feel, they designed a large wooden slat feature wall, with gorgeous lighting and floating ceiling clouds and placed plants and trees throughout the space. Upon entering, patients are greeted by friendly staff to the sound of chill lounge music, escorted to the giant Onyx stone illuminated reception bar and served bottled water while they browse, lulled into serenity by the lovely crisp scent diffusing through the HVAC.

Zionsville Eyecare reception

Zionsville Eyecare
Zionsville, IN

As part of its last remodel, Zionsville Eyecare removed its traditional waiting room and put in a concierge-style reception desk and hospitality bar to welcome patients. To owner Dr. Nicholas J Garn, the key to great service is “little things like … standing to greet each person as they enter.” Reception staff play a key role in implementing this philosophy, according to Patient Care Coordinator Team Lead Amy Bucci. “Our front-desk team sets the tone for the patient visit. They are the gatekeepers of the schedule and the first friendly face our patients see when entering the building,” she says. This means handling the check-in procedures and paperwork, but their duties don’t stop there. “They also offer coffee, water, hot tea and snacks to our guests, take ownership of the schedule knowing who is late for their appointment, which doctors may be running a few minutes behind, or who has been waiting a little too long for their adjustment — all while keeping the patients engaged and the energy lively,” she says.

Look + See Vision Care reception

Look + See Vision Care
Austin, TX

When it comes to the reception space at Look + See Vision Care, anyone looking for old issues of Time or Money, or a TV in the corner, need not apply. Instead, the area welcomes patients into a fun and interesting book collection, curated by owner Dr. Tammy Vo herself. The library includes things like Calvin and Hobbes, pictures of dogs under water and books of short stories. “I think people really appreciate and enjoy it,” she says. The music is also important. “We bump it through our Sonos speakers,” adds Vo, a former piano major and violinist in an indie folk band.




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