Looks aren’t everything, but whether you like it or not, your potential clients judge your business on what they see. If your reception area is sterile or cluttered, you could send the wrong message to potential clients. Make a few changes to improve what people think when they walk in the door.
Think Like a Client
You see the office every single day. You probably don’t even notice the stacks of papers, the crooked picture on the wall or the scuffs in the paint. But everything is new to a client when he walks in the door. Instead of glossing by the office surroundings, take a critical look at the space.
Go outside and check out the front of the building. Does it look professional, clean and maintained? If not, fix the problems you notice. Now head indoors, but look at everything with a critical eye. Are there any obvious eyesores that need addressed? Make a list of the issues so you can start working on them. If you have trouble being objective, ask a few friends to come down to the office and tell you what their first impressions are.
Go With the Flow
The reception area should make it clear where clients need to go to check in. If you have a receptionist in the front, position the desk so that person faces the door. If there are several desks in the front area, make it clear through the arrangement which desk is the check-in area.
Make potential clients feel welcome by creating a waiting area. Even a few chairs in a corner will do. It feels awkward to stand in the reception area while waiting for an appointment. Make sure the waiting area is comfortable and clean so your clients don’t mind waiting.
The employee who greets walk-in clients most likely has other duties, so it’s difficult to keep the desk completely clear. But find a way to cut back on the clutter if possible. Use filing drawers to hide files that aren’t being used immediately. Move extra office supplies to a back storage area. Use desktop organizers or baskets to contain items that don’t go in the desk. A simple decluttering can make the reception area feel much cleaner.
The employee who sits in the reception area of your small business is a crucial factor in making a positive impression on potential clients. Emphasize the importance of greeting clients immediately in a welcoming, friendly way. Establish a check-in procedure to ensure that process goes smoothly. All of your employees help build your reputation, not just you or your product. Train your employees appropriately to make it a positive reputation.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to improve the view for potential employees. A few quick fixes and your reception area won’t make your clients run for the hills before you can hook them.