We’ve all heard the adage that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to business, nobody pays a blind bit of notice. Your prospective clients will look around, see where you work, and start forming opinions about you right away. In fact, research shows that customers pick up on office cues within only a few seconds. So what do they want from your office? And how can you improve your current offering?
Lay Out Your Portfolio
When a client arrives at your offices, you may not be able to see them straight away. That’s okay if you’re with another client. But nobody wants to wait, twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do. Here’s an idea: lay out some materials that a customer can flick through before they meet you in person. You could get a creative company to put together a brochure of the packages you offer. Or you could create a portfolio with interesting details about the projects you’ve completed.
Keep Your Office Tidy
One of the best ways to put clients off is as messy, dirty office. Make sure that you have an office cleaning routine in place to avoid unsightly bins and desks covered with paper. Your office should be sparkling. The walkways should be clear (since bags in the gangways is a potential fire hazard). And the floors should shimmer unless, of course, they’re carpeted. Also, don’t forget that your clients will probably want to use your kitchen or your bathroom at some point. A disgusting bathroom is enough to put off even the keenest customers.
Appeal To Their Senses
Some offices are bright, airy and smell good. Others are dark, dank and a little stale. Ask yourself whether or not your office appeals to your client’s senses. Is there an unpleasant smell coming from the bathroom, for instance?
Also, ask yourself whether you should have music playing in the background? Is there anything else that you can do to make clients feel more comfortable? Note that you and your colleagues may have adapted to many of the problems with your office and may not even notice them. It’s worth checking in every now and again with people you know will give you an honest opinion. Ask visitors, clients and partners what they think and what they would improve.
Match Your Decoration To Client Expectations
In modern business, branding is about much more than the logo you put on a billboard. It’s about integrating the whole business into a single design dynamic. One of the places where you can introduce your brand, therefore, is your office. If you’re a design studio, it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to your clients for your business to look like the inside of a factory. If you’re a legal firm, you probably want to steer clear of anything neon or flashy.
Each industry has its own design tropes. These tropes have been discovered after many years of experimentation. The key is to adapt these to fit your brand while also producing something that the client loves.