No matter how great your products are, how wonderful your customer service is, how efficient your staff or how good you are at your job, if your office environment isn’t pleasant, you’re going to turn off your customers. From a messy, cluttered waiting room to a smelly, dirty bathroom, you’ve got to get your office’s physical condition under control in order to truly please your customers.
If your establishment needs a revamp, here are five simple tips to brighten and freshen your working space.
What’s worse than being stuck in a waiting room? Being stuck on an empty stomach. It’s rude to keep your customers waiting in the first place, but if they’re hungry, they’re going to get even more irritated. Solve both problems by offering refreshments in the waiting room. This can be as simple as a bowl of candy or as “complicated” as a coffee maker and a tray of pastries. Either way, it shows you care enough about your customers to provide them with a slight sugar high while they’re waiting. Bonus: If it doesn’t all get eaten, your staff will likely be more than happy to prevent anything from being thrown away.
Speaking of waiting rooms, take a look at yours. How’s the décor? If you’ve got the same tired old prints that have been hanging there since the ‘80s, it might be time for a change. Now, evaluate your reading material. Reader’s Digest from 2005? Boring. The local paper from three weeks ago? Even worse.
More businesses are treating their lobbies like staging grounds, installing televisions, better reading material and more attractive art. Keep your magazines updated and try to include a diverse selection. For a truly unique backdrop, invite local artists to hang your walls with an “exhibit” of their works. Many will do this for free if you allow them to post their contact information. Change it up every month or two to create a visually interesting space customers won’t hate sitting in.
Let’s face it: Restrooms can be, well, less than fresh-smelling. It’s an unpleasant fact of life, but in this case, biology doesn’t have to rule the day. Instead, get a handle on your bathroom’s aromatic ambiance by clearing the air and creating a more enjoyable scent. Hard-core odor control products take care of bad smells and usher in a clean-smelling space that won’t offend your customers’ tender noses.
Encourage your receptionist to keep photos on her desk. This humanizes the company and also creates an ice breaker for customers who are stuck in the waiting room. Stock your receptionist’s desk with extra pens, pencils, paper clips and other office supplies, too, in case a customer forgot his own and needs to finish something up while in the waiting room.
Above all else, train your front desk staff to flash a friendly, genuine smile to those who come through the door. It may sound cliché, but first impressions do matter. The first face a client or potential customer sees should be welcoming and set the tone for the entire transaction.
Whether your office is large or small, customer culture matters. When clients walk into a dark, stuffy, cluttered office, the impression they get isn’t likely, “This company cares about me and will make an effort to treat me well.” Creating a pleasant, welcoming space is simply good customer service—and a smart business move.