By Cyndi Miller, Miller Public Relations, CEO
“Sign in and have a seat. We’ll call you when we’re ready for you.” (delivered with no eye contact)
Who doesn’t relate to this scenario? It nearly universally describes the initial greeting at most doctors’ offices, dentists’ offices and really any other service industry.
And what about the initial call?
It’s likely an automated greeting prompting you to select an option. And IF you happen to reach a human, it’s, “Thank you for calling XYZ, please hold!”
First impressions are made quickly and last the longest.
Your front-office staff and your reception area represent the first and last impressions that a customer will have on any given visit. This impression will shape your customers’ overall perception of your business.
What do you want that impression to be?
Look at your reception and waiting area. First of all, is it clean and uncluttered? Are the chairs comfortable and arranged in a way that makes conversation easy? Are magazines and other reading materials current? Is the lighting harsh or warm and inviting? Is the temperature comfortable?
What does the area sound like? If you have a television, it should be tuned to something pleasant, non-confrontational and the volume kept low. Think HGTV versus cable news. Any music should be soft and relaxing.
Are restrooms immaculately clean and easily accessible? They should be checked hourly to make sure they stay fresh and clean throughout the day. Can individuals enjoy a bottle of water or a cup of coffee while they wait? A small refreshment area with fresh coffee and a mini fridge stocked with water bottles is a good idea if space allows for it.
In the front office of your business, are countless moments of opportunity just waiting to happen – a tiny moment in time where you and your staff have the opportunity to have a positive impact on your customer’s experience.
These are all opportunities to make a difference and each day is filled with them. It should be the goal of your entire team to make sure every moment is a positive experience. The people who walk through your doors should feel like they matter to you and every one of your team members.
Why Give Great Service?
First and foremost, satisfied and happy customers are more likely to return and to refer others. Any business that wants to thrive and grow will focus on providing excellent service from beginning to end.
Studies show that organizations who treat customers well are more successful financially and have better employee satisfaction.
Finally – and this one should go without saying – people deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. People want to feel like they matter.
So how do you get there? Training, training, training.
Staff training is key to ensuring your front office is an asset and not a liability. Remember, these team members are the face of your business.
Team members should smile and greet people warmly (by name, if possible!). They should make good eye contact, be helpful in answering questions and, most important, keep customers informed!
It is a valuable exercise to take the time to see your business the way your customers do. Consider implementing a survey and solicit feedback. Spend time in your own reception area and ask your customers about the level of service they have received.
The two most critical areas that can make or break a business’ success are the phone center followed by the customer-facing front office. Don’t underestimate the importance of these vital areas. Embrace this truth and craft a plan to make sure your front office area is the best it can be! Good is not good enough anymore.
If you are interested in creative, intelligent marketing and team training designed to increase your influence in the best ways possible, we would be delighted to consult with you, design for you, create a campaign for you…however, we can help!
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