Having a welcoming and inviting office atmosphere goes beyond just making sure your visiting clients and prospects feel comfortable. It defines how you and your staff are perceived and contributes to overall client satisfaction and retention. It can also affect the amount of trust that someone places in you to handle one of their most important assets–their money.
Walk through your office and experience it from your clients’ perspective. Modify and enhance your experience based on your findings.
Here’s a checklist to help you out in the most common areas of your office so your clients have the most pleasant experience possible.
It Starts Outside
Your clients’ first impression of your business begins forming the moment they start looking for your office sign. Check for the following things:
- Signage is clearly visible from the street.
- Parking is easy to find, clearly marked, and clean.
- Parking has easy access to the office, an adequate number of spaces, and bright exterior lighting.
- Access for elderly and less mobile clients and guests is available if needed (stairs, handrails, ramps, etc.)
- The front door has your business name, logo, and office hours.
Entering the Office
Once they successfully find your office and front door, how do your clients feel walking in? Is it neat and clean, welcoming, is there anything that could be off-putting to someone?
- Receptionist/Front Desk Area:
- Clean, organized and welcoming.
- No confidential or personal information is in view.
- Waiting Area:
- Ambiance: appropriate décor, professional, welcoming.
- Seating: comfortable, clean, not showing signs of wear.
- Awards and articles: well framed and hung in view.
- Reading materials: local magazines, industry magazines.
- Mints or candy are available.
- Create a nice notebook that includes copies of articles on your business and/or team members.
- Clear and visible signage showing the location.
- Stocked with adequate supplies.
- Clean at all times.
- Lotion and air freshener are a nice touch, often forgotten.
- Check once a day for cleanliness and supplies that need to be restocked.
A comfortable atmosphere can mean different things for different people. There are a few things that should be taken into consideration when ensuring you can please the majority.
- Soft but bright.
- Well lit throughout the entire office.
- Utilize accent lighting such as lamps.
- Be aware that some may be sensitive to strong smells.
- Opt for a clean smell, not overpowering air fresheners.
- Not too cold and not too hot.
- Most people are comfortable around 72 degrees.
- Straighten the waiting area several times throughout the day.
- If you have a cleaning service know the frequency of their visits and the services included.
- Whatever services are not included will need to be assigned and scheduled to ensure there are no gaps.
Most clients that come to your office will be meeting in a conference room or meeting space. Just because you aren’t in this room on a daily basis does not mean that it can be neglected.
- Professional and appealing décor.
- An adequate number of comfortable chairs.
- Don’t forget notepads and pens.
- Technology for presentations:
- Screens, computers, speakers in good working condition and well maintained.
- All team members are trained on how to use the equipment and how to troubleshoot if needed.
- Meeting snacks:
- Snack-sized nut mixes, candy, chocolates, etc.
- Make sure items come individually wrapped (nobody wants to eat what everyone else has touched).
- Extra copy of your information packet
Occasionally you may host clients in a private office, but most often they are visible from the common areas. Don’t let them be a forgotten part of your first impression.
- Don’t be afraid to show some personality.
- Should be professional.
- Kept clean and tidy.
Beyond Furniture and Lighting
It is often said that the little things can go a long way. Here are a few little things to help you go the extra mile.
- Make sure to offer a drink upon arrival and again when seated in the meeting area.
- Beverages available: water, coffee, tea, soda.
- Be sure to keep items in stock that a client may want (i.e. sugar, creamer, ice).
- Don’t forget your manners:
- Saying hello goes a long way.
- Makes clients feel welcome, important, and acknowledged.
Helping the clients that visit your office to feel welcome not only shows you care about your clients’ experience but also builds trust.