Customer Relations: The Waiting Room is Part of The Experience

Especially for service companies, as well as independent professionals, understanding that the moment a person arrives at your establishment marks the beginning of their experience with your business or brand is key. It can make the difference between a customer not wanting to return or recommending you to friends.

We all sell a service

Even for companies that do not market a service, the customer service experience may be the most relevant aspect for the consumer.

Think of all the times you had to wait to be seen. Think of the supermarket queues, the doctor’s waiting room, amusement parks, waiting for the plane to take off, or waiting to be served in restaurants.

As entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity every day to pleasantly surprise our customers and make their lives easier. The point is, are we doing it? How can we make the process prior to the acquisition of the service (be it a legal consultation or a visit to a shopping centre) a memorable experience?

Generating memorable experiences

Here are some suggestions you can think about to come up with creative ways to convert customers into fans. Some are very simple things, but absent in many cases, and can be deployed in a wide range of different business establishments.

  • Train several employees in the store so that in times of high traffic at the payment points, they can respond to the attention customers need.

  • Install fans/air-conditioning for better ventilation.

  • Ensure neat bathrooms which smell nice.

  • Use clear signage indicating where to locate things/departments/services, etc.

  • Provide a free coffee or tea dispensing machine, cookies or candies.

  • Offer entertainment for children accompanying adults (movies, puzzles, video games, reading material).

  • Offer entertainment for adults who accompany children (many of the above apply).

  • Communicating the estimated wait time substantially reduces anxiety.

  • Play pleasant and relaxing environmental music, but not based on the taste of employees, rather something that will appeal to customers (new music is always a good option).

  • Use a large-screen TV to communicate useful information to customers and keep them informed regarding waiting times, etc. Or simply programme popular TV shows for entertainment. Make sure the screen is adequate in size for the waiting area, and the TV mount is optimally positioned, either on a wall or on the ceiling.

  • Smell is the first thing we detect when entering a place. Make it nice! A hospital does not have to smell like a hospital.

  • Take care of what is in sight (file boxes or toiletries). Everything sends a message.

  • Different decoration; thematic ornaments, sounds, and aromas.

  • Ensure sufficient (and comfortable) seating.

The attention and treatment we receive from companies are some of the most important determining factors in remaining loyal to a brand. Even if a product or service is of good quality, if we do not consider that we have been treated with respect and kindness, and have had a pleasant experience, it is very likely that we will eventually go elsewhere.

It is common sense. It is simply thinking about how to make people feel good – and delivering it!

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