The other day I walked into a financial advisor’s office and was immediately meet with wall pattern designs from the 90s, drop-out ceiling tiles, and a bowl full of Werther’s Originals chilling on the counter for good measure. While I appreciate the trip down memory lane to the early 2000s when I was waiting for my physical at the doctor’s office, this isn’t the type of environment you probably want to foster for clients.
As you can probably guess from the title, I wanted to talk about office space today and how you can produce a more inviting space with some simple tweaks. Let’s jump right in.
1. Make the Lobby Memorable
The lobby is the first place clients see when visiting your office. Consider that it sets the mood for their entire meeting, meaning it could relax them or it could cause them to be slightly unnerved. Also consider that it reflects on your business as a whole. Are you trustworthy? Does your firm strive to take a modern approach to financial advice? Do you care about your clients?
The lobby’s atmosphere can be far more impactful than you might think, especially if you’re going out of your way to ensure it’s a pleasant experience.
Wall and Flooring Design
If you’re still clinging onto one of those zigzag designs or another painfully dated pattern, it’s time to make a change. Make sure the new walls and flooring are something you feel represents your business while also serving to sooth and reassure current and prospective clients.
Nothing says ‘come on in and sit down’ like a dusty floral couch with one of those protective plastic covers or a sterile plastic chair with no place to rest your arms, right? Furniture can make a serious statement to people visiting, especially if the seating is outrageously comfortable. It’s also important to consider the color and style and how it pairs with the rest of the room.
2. Introduce Special Favors
Now, if you’re going to introduce something cool for clients to get excited about, it certain isn’t going to be that bowl of old candy you’ve got sitting in a corner. No, we need something that puts a smile on their face.
A soda, coffee, or cup of orange juice is perfect for setting the tone of a meeting. We want them to feel comfortable in the office and ready to have a productive conversation with their trusted confidant. Don’t forget to offer refills if their meeting stretches beyond the typical time period!
It might be worthwhile to offer a few smart snacks such as granola bars or fruit while they wait. Unless they ask, I probably wouldn’t offer this amenity past the lobby, as it might prove to be a bit awkward to have them chowing down while you’re discussing their finances.
Magazines are a waiting room classic, although you can offer books as well if you’re so inclined. Also, do us all a favor and keep the magazines up to date. As interesting as it was, no one wants to read that article from 1972 about how Watergate is currently affecting our economy.
As long as your clients aren’t planning on hacking the NSA from your wi-fi network, I’d recommend giving them free access. It’s a small perk, but it can make their time in the waiting room that much more pleasant.
Although we hope your clients are waiting for too long, providing an area where they can charge their phone can be a godsend. Should their phones die in the waiting room, it could put them in a bad mood before they even get in your office.
3. Create an Impression
An impression is as much about presentation as it is setting the atmosphere. With a few simple tweaks, you can make a big splash with clients before they even sit down in your office.
Smart Technology Usage
Everyone has a clipboard. You go to your doctor’s office, it’s a clipboard. You go to your dentist, it’s a clipboard. You go to your optometrist, you guessed it – it’s a clipboard. Either remove the sign in process or make it fun with a tablet to simplify the entire ordeal while digitally cataloging meetings with clients. It’s a win-win.
You can also use text messaging to remind clients about their appointments and confirm they will attend. This can be an effective way to engage with clients, ensuring they will attend their meeting.
Want to know what your clients truly desire? Ask them! Surveys help everyone involved; clients feel like they’re heard and you’re able to use that precious feedback to enhance the office visit experience for next time they drop by. However, remember to make the survey simple and easy to answer. No one will appreciate spending 30 minutes filling out the most monotonous survey they’ve ever received in their life.
This might seem overwhelming to you. I get it. Start with something small and work yourself up to the big stuff like furniture or completely redecorating. Also, if you’re not really keen on enhancing the lobby experience, try sprucing up your office a bit. Add comfy chairs, offer beverages from the mini fridge, or change up the design of the room.
Either way, it’s about making clients happy and getting them to enjoy the experience of visiting your office.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time. If you have any questions about this article, send it to my inbox and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!