TIPS FOR TURNING A LOBBY OR WAITING AREA FROM SHABBY TO CHIC
The success of any business relies on customer care. But what does a lobby filled with faded artwork, less than accommodating seating and a haphazard pile of well-worn periodicals say about a company’s commitment to the customer experience?
In a sense, the lobby represents the face of a business – is it friendly and welcoming or cold and indifferent? And it should match who you are. If you care for patients, for instance, your waiting room could be warm and comforting or more clinical and hygienic. And clinical can still be friendly and comfortable. Here are thoughts on making the most of an opportunity to demonstrate your concern for clients’ well-being:
Employees should be instructed on how to “welcome” customers. A greeting of “I’ll be with you in a moment,” delivered by someone with a phone sandwiched between his or her ear and shoulder doesn’t cut it. There should be a defined process for making customers feel they truly matter. Signage also can direct customers to where they can be greeted.
Commercial quality furniture can be expensive, but with some research, you can avoid spending a fortune. To keep your investment in tip-top shape, staff should be encouraged to keep the furniture clean. If you have a television, arrange seating to ensure visitors can see it and, if possible, provide areas where visitors can chat if they don’t want to watch.
Nothing says “welcome” like beverages. Water, of course, is a necessity. But if you have a drinking fountain instead of individual bottles or a water cooler, make sure it’s clean and functional. If you provide coffee, have decaf and plenty of cups available. A multipurpose beverage maker with disposable brewing pods allows you to brew tea, cider, coffee and hot chocolate. Though there is a cost, it’s a nice touch that goes a long way in impressing visitors.
Outdated periodicals in waiting rooms have long been comedic fodder. So, how do the magazines in your lobby stack up? Having racks to hold reading materials can help keep things in order. Magazines with dates older than one year and those with pages torn out need to be replaced. If your company has brochures, don’t forget to add them to the mix.
Lobbies are “touch zones” – from introductory handshakes to door handles to magazines and beverage dispensers. You’ll find that visitors appreciate having hand sanitizer and tissues at their disposal.
A low phone battery is the bane of many trying to stay busy while waiting for an appointment. Having a charging station available – with several different cords to accommodate major phone brands – is a consideration that can help win the hearts of texters, emailers or social media consumers.
Don’t be afraid to be creative in devising ways to make your customers feel welcome when they visit your business. After all, they come to you for your service or product, so you already know their mindset and preferences. Use that as a starting point to enhance your customers’ experience when they visit.