The way you decorate your office influences not just the quality of the work environment and the wellbeing of your staff, but also the way your customers perceive you.
When a prospective client visits your offices, you need to take care of all the small details that can make a bad first impression and your lobby is the best place to start with. There are many factors that can determine whether you close a sale, from the professionalism of the staff to your persuasive abilities, and things like lobby decorations may seem like they belong on the bottom of the list. However, first impressions matter more than you think.
When entering your premises, the lobby is the first area that clients interact with and what they see can put them in the right or wrong mindset. According to Newvoicemedia, it only takes one negative experience for customers to never do business with a company again, so going the extra mile to create a welcoming environment in your lobby is more than a quirk.
Having a clean and well-organized space is the first step. To stand out from your competition, you need to cover more than just the basics and offer customers a flawless experience.
Rethink your seating choices
Client interaction doesn’t start when you meet each other and shake hands. In most cases, clients have to spend a few minutes in the waiting room first, and you need to make sure these few minutes don’t make them frustrated in any way.
Many office managers don’t give much thought to seating choices and only place a default number of chairs, chosen in such a way as to match the building’s design, but this one-size-fits-all-approach might not make everyone happy.
To improve customer waiting experience, you need to think beyond conventional seating choices and provide options for everyone. Depending on their age and health requirements, not everyone can sit comfortably on traditional chairs. Some customers may need extra lumbar support, while others prefer soft armchairs.
Needless to say, you also need to have seating options that are accessible to customers with disabilities. Adding more variety to your waiting room furniture doesn’t put a strain on your budget, but will make customer appreciate you more, especially Millennials, who rank customer comfort as one the top factors when choosing a company.
Solve low-battery anxiety
According to a study conducted by LG, a whopping 90% of smartphone users have what’s called low-battery anxiety – the fear of running out of battery. The findings of this study aren’t surprising at all, considering that most of us are glued to our phones, but the study also revealed something that should concern business owners: when having to choose between staying where they were and going back home to charge their phones, one in three participants decided to drop everything and go home.
No one wants to be stuck in the waiting room with a phone running out of battery, so adding enough wall outlets and portable phone chargers in the lobby can literally save your meeting. More and more restaurants, hotels, and cafes in the UK now have phone charging stations, so people are starting to think of this as a basic utility that all businesses should provide.
If you’ve ever waited in line in a busy doctor’s office, you know just how much feeling hot or cold can affect your mood. This works for business lobbies as well.
According to science, the ideal indoor temperature is between 19 and 22 degrees, and you should try to stick to this temperature no matter the season. Otherwise, by the time they meet you, your customers may feel uncomfortable and frustrated, which will influence the outcome of your meeting.
If you’re worried that keeping your heating and cooling units turned on all the time raises your energy bill considerably, smart thermostats are a great option because they automatically adjust the temperature depending on the environment. For example, if your waiting room is very busy one afternoon, the smart thermostat will detect the extra traffic and adjust the temperature accordingly. But, if it senses that the waiting room is empty, it will enter sleep mode so you don’t waste energy.
Artwork and displays
In a business setting, artwork and displays are more than just decorations. For your staff, the right artwork can boost productivity and for customers, it can inspire reliability and professionalism.
Customers don’t want to wait in a stark and austere lobby that resembles a hospital. On the contrary, you want your lobby to feel as personal and inviting as possible so that they can feel at home and relax. Paintings and murals will put customers in a good mood as they wait for their appointment, so don’t leave those white walls empty. To boost your reputation, you can even collaborate with local artists and feature their work.
Apart from traditional artworks, digital displays are another great way to boost customer comfort and they can also act as a subtle advertising tool. A short product video or slideshow with your offers, strategically placed in an area with high traffic, and peak customer interest and help you close more sale.
Be careful not to exaggerate with lobby artwork, though. Too many paintings and displays can have the opposite effect, making customers feel confused and distracted.
Food & beverages
Free snacks and drinks in the lobby are a major trend in employee happiness and customers appreciate them as well. Even something minor, such as a watercooler or a mini snack station with crackers, peanuts, and protein bars, can keep customers happy as they wait to meet you. This trend is very popular in the US, which also uses the system to boost customer interaction. For example, you can invite customers to take a business flyer or answer a short questionnaire before taking a snack.
Your office lobby is often the first place where customers interact with your business directly, so try to go the extra mile and improve their comfort in unique ways. It doesn’t cost too much, but it can lead to considerable returns because customers want to work with businesses that care.