The days of customers overlooking neglect where they have to wait for service is over. Your company’s ratings may be affected by this first impression. Shopping around for service has become as simple as pressing a button on a device that is always within arm’s reach. And time- we all know- has become as valuable as money. If we have to wait, we aim to accomplish while we wait. It’s very important for customers to be able to spend their time effectively. So, is your waiting area worth your customer’s time?
Observe your Waiting Customer
The first step to fixing a broken waiting area is observation. Observe waiting customers and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. They have your best answers. The biggest flaws of a waiting area is not having a clean restroom, enough seating and poor traffic flow for waiting customers. At the very least, waiting customers should have a place to sit and a clean rest room. If this is a problem for your business and these flaws can’t be remedied, consider reducing wait times by temporarily hiring extra help. In the long run, hiring the additional help to keep the customer returning will pay off for the business and the business will eventually be able to obtain larger waiting areas. Just because you have a smaller waiting area doesn’t mean there can be no room for improvement. See our post on small spaces.
Choosing the Right Furniture Will Make All the Difference
In the meantime, filling the waiting area with the right furniture can make all the difference. Measure carefully for proper furniture scale to the room. Furniture is the first thing customers will experience while waiting. So, it feels like a first impression for them. Choose a reception desk that is a balanced focal point easily accessible from the entrance and the waiting area. Customers should have a place to rest their hands while they fill out any necessary paperwork, schedule appointments or pay for services. The reception area should be able to handle incoming traffic and have enough storage to tuck away necessary files and deliveries. Prepare for phone, computer and printer space adequately. Elevated fronts are helpful to conceal confidential customer information. To ensure the reception desk is approachable, design techniques like matching the wood grains with the end tables or coffee tables in the waiting area brings the whole area together. Choose reception chairs that are comfortable and useable by all your guests keeping in mind their age, mobility and size. The longer your customer’s wait time is, the more comfortable the chairs should be. If you have customers that wait more than twenty minutes, upholstered cushioned seating is important and needs to be resistant to wear and stains. The lounge furniture pictured above is the Swift line from National. Invest in the best your budget will allow. Be mindful of standing customers who are waiting and avoid this by having an ample amount of seating arrangements.
Thoughtful Considerations may go Unnoticed but Not Unappreciated
Thoughtful considerations never go unappreciated. Keeping areas clean may seem to go unnoticed, but if it’s unsanitary, someone is likely to notice and it may be on a review for the whole world to see. Choosing correct matching color schemes for your walls, upholstery, drapes and flooring can easily set a calming mood that can ease the customer’s mind about wait time. Making sure that the space has the correct balance of light or available natural light adds warmth to the space that induces a welcoming perception. Home touches like adding live plants, an aquarium, decor or toys for children makes passing time go unnoticed. Providing amenities like coffee, tea, snacks and bottled water eases unforeseen pangs that may tip a customer’s mood in the wrong direction. Consider making outlets easily acessible for charging devices. Wi-Fi should be provided for customers who need to access the internet to continue to work while they wait. If your budget allows, add a television or other media devices.
The Best Way to Tell if your Waiting Area is Worth your Customer’s Time
The way to tell if customers appreciate the waiting area you provide is to observe your employees. Do they ever use your waiting area? Do you ever use the waiting area? If there are no procedural policies stipulating employees from using the waiting areas and your answer is no, most likely, you may need a little help. Try taking your lunch break in your waiting area. This may help you start with improvements right away. If you are overwhelmed, the simple answer may be to seek advice. Call Omega Commercial Interiors and ask for Peggy. Let us know what you discovered by taking your lunch break in your business’s waiting area by leaving a comment below.