It’s all about that first impression that you make of someone or something. How many times have you been in a situation where something just doesn’t feel quite right, even if you can’t pinpoint what exactly, at first? You interact with someone, and you know as soon as you meet them that you won’t be able to ’click’ together. Or, you walk into some space where you’ve never been before, and the atmosphere is kind of off-putting and unappealing.
Naturally, you can be completely disproven later and the person can end up being your good friend, or the space you’ve walked into can turn out to be likable, after all. But in most cases – even though an idea, opinion or feeling about something or someone is formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence – you’ll continue to stick to your gut feeling.
Some would argue that these prejudices are bad, while others would claim that we can’t do without them. Whatever the case might be, you want to make sure to do all that’s in your power to invoke a welcoming sentiment in someone. This is especially important if you’re a company leader/manager or an entrepreneur. That’s why you simply have to make your reception area more appealing and alluring. In this article, we’re going to talk about ways to make this first impression a good one since so much depends on this (particularly finances-wise). Here’s how to accomplish this and make a stellar impression on your customers and clients.
Keep Everything Clean and Tidy
With regards to first impressions, most people will notice if your reception area is cluttered and untidy. There’s just so much that depends on your customers and clients that you can’t afford to leave the bad taste in their mouths. Most of us like to deal with companies that keep everything neatly organized. You might not realize it, but this says a lot about you and your firm.
Subconsciously, clients and customers are going to identify and instantly associate your entrance area with the way you do business in general. Make sure that the first space your customers enter looks impeccable and unblemished. The way to achieve this is to keep it fresh and hygienic.
There can’t be any foul smells, sticky floors, or unsightly stains either. If your entrance area is high-traffic, consider investing in long-lasting furniture and flooring. These items should also be easy to clean. On the other hand, you also don’t want the place to look too sterile. You want your lobby to give out the impression that you’re organized and detail-oriented, but at the same time, you want people to have a certain congenial and homey feeling as soon as they arrive.
Put Art All Around the Area
While we’re on the subject of feeling hospitable and amiable, there’s simply no better way to do this than by putting art all around the entrance area. People like to showcase their art pieces to people at home, so there’s no reason why this wouldn’t be a good conversation starter even in your office. Art won’t just make space look more aesthetically appealing, but it will also bring in the element of coziness and snugness that each company should strive for.
The fact that people tend to be more creative when they’re surrounded by good art is something which should be taken into account as well. Your customers and clients will get the impression that your firm is resourceful, visionary and willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. All those brainstorming sessions wouldn’t be as nearly as originative and innovative if the overall ambiance of the place was uninspiring.
Free Coffee and Snacks
If you’re really determined to set yourself apart from the rest of the peers and make your reception area truly welcoming and warm, it’s essential that you incorporate things that connect people. But it’s not just about the interaction, it’s about starting off on the right foot.
Essentially, all-important deals across the globe are made over a good cup of coffee. That’s why it’s paramount that you include workplace coffee machines in your entrance area. Take this for an example: you’re at an important meeting, but another client has already arrived and waiting for you to join her or him. You know that you simply can’t avoid being late, and you also know that this isn’t the type of behavior that resembles your company’s policy. But if you both explain and excuse yourself on time, while simultaneously offering free coffee and snacks, people won’t hold this against you in most cases.
Scenarios and things like these are bound to happen, even if you pride yourself on always being on time. Nothing smooths out an awkward situation like a nice cup of coffee and a snack bar with plenty of alternatives to choose from.
Fit Your Audience
We know that everyone likes free coffee and snacks and that you can’t go wrong there, but what about some other things that you can include that are appropriate for your business reception area?
For starters, the most prudent thing that you can do here is to fit your audience. This means, for example, that you need to make sure that the visitors have the right reading material, based on the industry you’re in. Have some magazines and brochures laying around so that the customers and clients can go through them while they’re waiting.
Another good idea would be to consider building a separate play area where children can relax. And speaking of playing areas, why not put a pool or foosball table in there, as well? We all know that youngsters like to have fun, but so do adults.
The thing that’s important here is to continue to insist on a certain image that your company’s proudly showcasing. That’s why we recommend you to match your decor with your customers. This particular style that you’re trying to create and nourish should be chosen carefully since so many things depend on this. Ideally, you want to try and find the right balance between being casual, unlabored, unconstrained, and too formal, solemn, or official.
Take Care of the Colors
A nice way to create a recognizable image is to bring in the colors. They are so important in any work environment, and your entrance area should be no different than the rest of the space.
If you find this difficult to accomplish, we recommend you to look into some of the core principles of color psychology. Depending on the type of business you’re in, certain colors will be more appropriate than others. Not only will you create optimal working conditions by choosing the right tones and shades, but your clients and customers will also be attracted and enticed.
Let There Be Light
Picking the right colors for your walls, floors, and furniture is one thing, but making the place look bright is another. The absence of natural light can negatively affect your employees’ productivity, but it can also drive away your customers. It’s not your fault if the building is designed in such a manner that it doesn’t allow much natural light to enter, but this doesn’t mean that you should completely give up.
We don’t mean to infer that you’d let your employees and clients sit in dark throughout the day, but we want to encourage you to do your best at providing them with lighting that imitates the daylight. This is something that’s totally worth the effort. The place will look much more attractive and beguiling – not to mention that everyone will be in a better mood instantly.
Bring Nature In
All this talk about interior decor and design would be incomplete if we didn’t mention the positive power of nature. In order to make the place more welcoming and relaxing, it’s pertinent that you see that there are enough plants around.
Green plants, in particular, are known for their therapeutic effect. They play a huge role in relieving stress, so don’t hesitate to incorporate as much nature as you can. And it’s not just that green plants are going to do wonders around, but you should also bring flowers or a cool-looking fountain that fits with the rest of the environment perfectly.
In case you don’t have too much natural light around, you can also consider some interesting faux flowers that are going to cheer up the reception area.
Speaking of cheering up the area, make sure to spread smiles as much as you can. This doesn’t mean that you should ’order’ everyone to smile more by some sort of decree, but to work towards creating this sort of environment where each person will feel joyful and heartwarming naturally.
What separates good and successful companies from bad ones is probably this ability to create an ebullient and chirpy atmosphere where people smile more often than not. This sends a good message to your visitors as well. If you as a company leader or a manager actually make your employees feel upbeat about their work, then you must be doing something right.
But it’s not just about smiles, of course. You want to ensure that people instantly feel trustful and welcome. One way to accomplish this is by making the front desk approachable. For example, if you insist on ’No cell phones’ policy, it’s pertinent that this doesn’t sound like an order. Instead, you can always write a message that’s much more cordial but essentially achieves the same, like ’Thank you for not using a cell phone in this area’, or ’Thank you for not disturbing others’. It’s these little things that matter the most and it’s crucial that you spread friendly and good-natured vibes whenever you can.
The last thing we want to talk about is how to properly utilize technology at your reception area. Many people would agree that this should be at the top of our list, but even though we don’t disagree with this, there’s a strong reason why we’ve decided to leave this idea for the very end of our article.
Our motive is very simple: we think that it’s far more important to create the right kind of welcoming atmosphere first. Many companies think that it’s enough to put a digital wall image, some tablets, and charging stations all around the entrance area and the job is done – customers and clients will instantly think highly of their company.
Although it’s completely true that people like to see this kind of stuff as soon as they enter through the door (this tells them that you’re a modern company that follows latest trends and is interested in investing in the future), this simply isn’t enough to make a great first impression. Arguably, it’s much more important to take care of the rest of these things that we’ve already mentioned if you truly aim at creating a positive, friendly atmosphere. Remember that good office vibes start with the joyous ambiance that you need to create prior to utilizing technological advancements. This should be just an icing on the cake, not your go-to strategy.
In this article, we’ve talked about how momentous it is to make your business reception area more welcoming. Many companies completely disregard this space, thinking that it just isn’t noteworthy or significant enough. We strongly disagree with this kind of reasoning and think that any serious company that aims at being successful needs to pay attention to their entrance area.
You can’t afford to leave a bad first impression, so it’s crucial to keep everything tidy and clean, put various art pieces all around the area, and offer free coffee and snacks. On top of these things, you also need to fit your audience, take care of the colors, lighting, natural elements, and spread smiles. And the last (but not least) thing you want to do is utilize technology. Only by sticking to all these things you can be absolutely sure that your clients and customers are going to be completely blown away.
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