by Ryan H. Law
2020 shifted most client meetings to virtual, but people are getting more comfortable meeting in person. If you meet with clients in a face-to-face setting and plan to return to that model, you should take a look at how your lobby might be increasing a client’s stress level.
Grable and Goetz1 point out that, “stress levels can be increased or decreased based on a client’s reactions to the office environment.”
Your lobby and, by extension, your receptionist, are the face of your company. Both can either increase or decrease a client’s stress level.
We’ll explore a number of factors regarding office design on this blog, but today we will just focus on the lobby or waiting room.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Having any type of media (radio with commercials or TV) playing can increase a client’s stress level. That includes channels such as HGTV or the Food Network.
If you are going to have a TV on it is best if it is not playing any news programs or financial news. That’s right – no more Jim Cramer or C-Span.
They also don’t want to watch a ticker symbol running across the screen, or, even worse, on a electronic ticker symbol device on the wall.
Commercial free music is fine if it is on quietly in the background.
- Live plants help ease a client’s stress – just make sure they are getting some light and someone is in charge of watering them.
- Abstract art, art with people and art with urban scenes all increase stress levels. Pictures of natural scenes and animals work well. I’ve also had success with Carl Richard’s Financial Art.
- At a minimum have a water cooler where clients can get a cup of water. Even better have a mini fridge with a clear front loaded with water bottles.
- Financial magazines increase a client’s stress levels. Get rid of all of them.
I was at an office recently that had a variety of magazines – travel, cooking, home design and some sports ones. Anything except financial magazines are fine. In fact, most clients aren’t going to pick up a magazine – they are going to be on their phones, so you don’t necessarily need magazines in the waiting area.
- If your receptionist isn’t greeting people warmly as they come in do some training. If that doesn’t help, get a new receptionist.
Taking just a few simple steps can make a big difference to how a potential client feels when they walk in your office.
- Walk through your lobby or waiting area with fresh eyes. What is one simple change you can implement to decrease stress levels?
REFERENCES & RESOURCES:
(1)Grable, J.E., and Goetz, J.W. (2017). Communication essentials for financial planners: Strategies and techniques. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.
Images in this post are licensed by Ingram Image – Stock Photo Secrets (AFF)