How our service starts with a coffee shop vibe

Weird smells, pointy implements and someone poking around in your mouth. Yep, a trip to the dentist is a pretty hard sell even at the best of times.

With that in mind, we know it’s incredibly important that our patients feel welcomed and comforted from the moment they walk in the door.

That service, that process of making a patient feels at ease, starts at the very point they make contact and it extends right up until they say goodbye.

When we founded Buttercup 7 Day Dental, we decided to deconstruct our service and build it back up from scratch.

We started, as you might have guessed, at the very beginning in the dreaded waiting room.

Rethinking waiting rooms

Let’s face it, most waiting rooms are just empty boxes with super cheap chairs propped up against the wall. Usually, there are some tatty golfing magazines from 2009 and a copy of Rolling Stone from when Oasis was still a thing.

If you’re super lucky, you might even chance on a newspaper from the past month!

Even nice waiting rooms — rooms with nice chairs, nice music, nice televisions playing silently in the background — still feel like waiting rooms.

It quickly became clear to us that you can dress a waiting room up as nicely as you want but if you start with the assumption that you’re designing a room for people to wait in, then a waiting room is exactly what you’ll get.

“I appreciate history, but you have to bring your own experience into rooms.” — Istvan Francer

So, when we were setting up Buttercup, we decided to do things differently. As design maestro, Istvan Francer, says, we had to put history to one side and bring our own experience to the design process. We had to build a space with our own ideas.

So, instead of designing a waiting room, we asked ourselves: What sort of space people would want to be in if they weren’t at the dentist?

Our answer? A West End coffee shop!

Everything about our ‘waiting room’ is designed to make you think you’re in a super relaxed coffee shop. From the smell of the beans to the comfy seats, everything about the space is designed to feel like somewhere else.

We know that how much a patient likes the space they’re in will influences the experience they have. We’ve seen it time and time again.

If we asked patients to wait in a dreary, passionless box, there’s no way their experience would be as positive.

And it’s the same in other industries, too.

A recent study from RIThink showed that the interior design of a restaurant is one of the most important factors in influencing a customer’s satisfaction.

So, the difference between an average meal and a great meal could quite possibly lie in your interior design.

Don’t let history dictate you approach

So, what’s the point here? Well, rethinking your customer-facing spaces could possibly help your business, too.

If you’re going to overhaul your interiors, it’s important that you don’t just copy what your competitors have done before. Reworking the same ideas is the perfect way to create something uninspiring and ineffective.

When you’re redesigning interior spaces, I strongly recommend putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and asking yourself what you’d actually want.

While our customers definitely wanted a space to relax and unwind, it’s possible that yours won’t. Maybe they want to be in and out in the least time possible.

Whatever they want, it’s important to take that onboard and design a space tailored to their specific wants and needs.

Restaurant, dental practice, shop, delivery depot, spa, it’s all the same. Build a space for your customers and you supercharge their experience with your business.

Angela Rowlands