Your business’s waiting area can leave quite a lasting impression on its customers. While a great waiting area will leave the kind of impression you want, a bad one can do the opposite.
The waiting area is where your customers spend time without you, left to their own devices. How many times have you been left unoccupied in a waiting room and noticed the fine details of your surroundings? I’ve noticed peeling paint and dirty skirting boards in some of the worse waiting areas I’ve been in, and I’ve noticed lovely finishing touches and fresh smelling flowers in some of the best.
The area where your customers spend time waiting for your service represents your business. It needs to be tailored to your clientele. For example, I imagine an accountant’s office will have a different waiting space to a tattoo parlour.
How to achieve a great waiting area
In order to style your waiting area for your customers, you must first explore your client base and look for trends. Everything in your waiting area needs to give your customers a good feeling about your business, as well as relevant to them.
If you run a high-end holistic beauty salon, you could bring nature indoors with a water wall. These are known for their relaxing properties, they are beautiful to look at and would be in fitting with the theme of the business.
Having recent, relevant publications is nice touch for your customers. A great waiting area will have industry specific papers or magazines. For example, a hairdressers should display fashion and hair magazines, whereas an accountants office should have local news and business papers.
Keep up with minor niggles. If paintwork is chipped, touch it up. If screws are loose or tables are wobbly; fix them. Make sure everything is perfect and stays that way. Don’t wait too long before fixing things.
I worked somewhere that painted every years without fail. Usually, before the work commenced, it didn’t feel like it needed it. After the paintwork had been refreshed, it was apparent how much better it looked. It turns out, 4 years is the perfect interval for redecorating (but don’t leave it longer if it needs it – there’s nothing less appealing than peeling paint).
The last thing to consider is the finer details. If you resolve to have fresh flowers at reception, how long will you leave them before replacing them? Is it a realistic expense in the leaner months?
Offering tea and coffee is a nice idea, but will your customers be in the waiting area long enough to drink it (if so, why will they? What’s taking so long?). Another thing to consider is whether or not you have customer toilets. There’s no sense in serving drinks if there’s nowhere for your customers to relieve themselves.
The most important thing to remember is that your waiting area represents your company. If you don’t have a great waiting area, it could be harming your business.