Let’s face it: most businesses could stand to improve how they handle client experience.
Some companies disregard it, assuming clients only care about the price, speed, and quality of a service or product. Other companies overthink it, spending upwards of five or six figures on complicated CX tools and flashy brand displays that prove to be extraneous and ineffectual.
There’s a middle ground between these two extremes that’s all too often overlooked. No, you shouldn’t do nothing to improve client experience, but you also don’t need to overhaul your company, map out a 171-step customer journey, and hire a team of behavioral psychologists and data analysts.
Instead, start with the simple stuff.
Want to improve your client experience? Start by looking around your office.
How do guests feel when they enter your business?
What’s the first thing they see?
Is there a comfortable place to sit?
These sorts of questions may sound rudimentary, but they point to elements that separate extraordinary businesses from the rest. Nailing the in-person fundamentals can be the difference between providing exceptional client experiences and scaring people away.
The way your location looks, sounds, smells, and feels should serve to welcome and charm your guests, not send them running to the door. If they don’t feel safe and relaxed in your space, they probably won’t want to return—unless they really have to.
Seven ways to create better client experiences in your office.
Here are a few quick, easy, and cost-effective ideas to liven up your space and improve your client experience:
1. Change your lighting. Most businesses are lit poorly. Believe it or not, the problem is usually over-illumination—the lights are too bright. Ditch the harsh overhead bulbs for lamps and ambient lighting solutions. Natural light is best—look for ways (windows, skylights, reflective surfaces, bright paints) to maximize it.
2. Add plant life. Office plants not only look nice, but are proven to reduce stress, boost creativity, and improve air quality.
3. Throw art on the walls. Paintings, prints, photographs, sketches—any form of artistic expression can pique your visitors’ interest, set a mood, or tell a story. Stay away from bland, corporate art if you can. Instead, choose works that reflect your community and your employees. Better yet, support your local artists.
4. Prioritize comfort. Have plenty of seats available. Coziness is more important than elegance. A comfy couch is probably better (and cheaper, especially if bought used) than a set of harsh, angular, minimalist chairs.
5. Consider different visitors’ needs. Do your guests have ample space to sit and talk? Are there more secluded areas for people who want more privacy? Think like a restaurant or bar and offer more than one kind of seating arrangement available.
6. Offer drinks (and maybe even snacks). Everybody loves treats. A cup of water, a mug of tea or coffee, or a miniature bottle of sparkling water or soda can make someone feel at home. A piece of candy, cookie, or granola can make their day—and cement your business as a positive experience in their memory. They might come back just for the drinks and snacks.
7. Keep it clean and organized. Make sure to sweep up those crumbs after your guests are done snacking. And keep clutter under control—a little creative chaos can be charming, but piles upon piles send the wrong message.
The Ruby method: “greet, seat, treat.”
At Ruby, we follow a simple, three-step formula to create connections with our guests:
1. Greet. A warm greeting is much more than a mere formality. When a visitor comes through the door, you have an opportunity to turn someone’s day around with your kindness. There’s no easier way to establish a real, human connection than through eye contact and a smile. If you’re on a phone call when a guest arrives, politely indicate that you’ll be with the guest in just a moment (a friendly wave does the job nicely). If you’re not on a call, give your guest a warm greeting such as “Good afternoon! How may I help you today?”
2. Seat. This one’s dead simple. Offer a guest a seat in your lobby: “Please make yourself comfortable! I’ll let Ms. Smith know you’re here.”
3. Treat. Offering drinks and snacks is not only a courtesy, but a form of anticipating clients’ needs—a core component of WOWism. At the very least, always offer your guest something to drink. If you don’t have a watercooler handy, keep a pitcher and glasses stocked at your desk.
The key to client experience is connection.
These are just a few ways to improve client experience and build relationships with the people you serve. You may not have the time, money, or space to try every idea here—and that’s okay.
Any growing business can stand out and boost client satisfaction and retention, no matter how limited the organization’s resources may be. The key lies in personal connections.