What is the first impression people have of your business? The first contact a potential client has with your brand could be a radio spot, a social media channel or your receptionist’s telephone etiquette. But we could say that it is your reception area that often gives the first solid impression of your business.
How do you use this to your advantage?
Communicate your brand
It’s not just about putting across a good impression. You also want the right impression to come across. If you are a quirky brand that prioritises creativity, you want your reception area to impart that idea. As soon as a potential client steps through the door they should realise this is a place where innovation happens. In other words, classic designs and cookie cutter decal wouldn’t give the right impression of your brand in that instance.
“Your store is an important advertising tool. It is so important that its elements, from signage to shopfitting, communicate your brand message,” says Eben Human from Assignment 3, a leading signage and printing company in South Africa. They work closely with advertising and branding agencies and directly with business owners to determine the right look and feel for their stores. Not sure what your brand image is? Then your first job should be to pinpoint and define your brand.
If someone walks in but has to wait for whatever reason, make sure that their time is spent as comfortably as possible. Have reading material on offer that suits the setting. For instance, customers waiting to have their hair cut will probably appreciate hair or lifestyle magazines. If you have a consultation firm, on the other hand, you could provide trade publications relevant to your industry.
Have the right host
People underestimate the role of the receptionist or secretary in creating a good first impression. Remember that in many situations he or she will be the first human point of contact someone has with your business. If your receptionist is slouched at the desk, impolite and unprofessionally dressed, that is the impression received of your entire operation. Make sure you have the right receptionist representing your business.
When walking into your reception area, what kind of atmosphere greets your customer? Does it give off a calm and relaxed feel or an energetic one? Either could be appropriate, as long as it ties into your overall brand as mentioned above. You could imagine an advertising agency having an upbeat atmosphere with a lot of hustle and bustle, but you would prefer tranquillity in a dentist’s office.
If the atmosphere isn’t what you would want it to be there are ways to remedy this, such as with background music or decal. If you’re really serious you might even want to change your office layout. This is where having the help of professional shopfitters will help you, like Assignment 3 in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression so make sure you get it right the first time. That could be the difference you need to get referrals and repeat business.