"Making a good impression is vital in business. Many customers, upon seeing dirty or disheveled facilities, will immediately head to the nearest competitor. Even if the state of your facilities has nothing to do with how well you serve your customers, an unsanitary and unpleasant atmosphere creates negative impressions and can lead customers to dismiss you out of hand."
Here is a quote from smallbusiness.chron.com that we must understand:
"A lack of upkeep tells customers a few things. First, it tells them you don’t care what they think. If you did, you’d at least make your facilities presentable. Second, it tells customers you don’t pay attention to the details. For example, a restaurant that lets customers sit on filthy furniture probably pays even less attention to its kitchen, which customers don’t see. Third, a lack of upkeep usually means cost-cutting, which might mean your business doesn’t have enough customers to be successful. That tells a customer your product or service doesn’t offer much value."
Client Experience relating to your facility... Your facility, including your paint color, décor, scent and lighting all make a difference in how your clients feel when they step through your doors. They make the decision if you are the right studio for them based on these factors.
And that decision happens as fast as one blink of the eye.
In addition and as quickly, they decide how much money they are willing to spend with you if they step on into your facility. Bad smells, damaged furniture, stains on the carpet, a dirty toilet or smudges on the windows are all signals to your clients that your product is not valuable or even worse, that you are not a successful business, whether or not that is true.
What impression are you making?
First impressions are so important, but what about the second, third and fourth impressions? We say it like this, "With the first impression, you give your client a yardstick to measure every encounter. And they will pull out that imaginary yardstick every time they enter your facility!
This is where consistency comes into play. Are you providing the same experience, the same way, EVERY SINGLE TIME A CLIENT WALKS THROUGH YOUR DOORS? It is CRITICAL that you map out exactly what you do, say and how you act, every single time you interact with a client.
We created a coffee shop atmosphere in our new facility...
When we had the opportunity to move to the middle of our building, we envisioned a more casual, comfortable facility to match the more casual times we live in, much like a Starbucks. For ideas, visit your local coffee shops or any Starbucks and take notes on their facilities, both what you like and what you don't like.
Now, we have people help themselves to the refreshments and they do this more than we ever thought-they are comfortable!
We always have a huge jar of chocolate candies as well as dishes of Hershey Kisses set out around the studio. And on a side note, nobody is on a diet when chocolate is put out:-)
As has been said before, we also prepare a special tray of drinks and snacks for every pickup and selection appointment with a note. I do put gluten free snacks on the tray as well as regular goodies. Extra points for fresh flowers! (See photo below.)
It is part of our goal to touch all 5 senses. Touch (comfy chairs to relax and chat), Smell (scent is put out twice per day), Sight (beautiful lighting in our galleries, soothing paint colors and décor), Taste (see photo below) with a beverage refrigerator filled to the brim with a variety of cold drinks plus a coffee area, all in our galley), Hearing (we have soft jazz music playing throughout the studio using Alexa and Amazon music).
In addition… We work very hard to build relationships with our clients that show we care about them. We pay attention and do little extras like carrying their orders to the car (especially wall images) or helping them in with their bags. We meet them outside with an umbrella if it’s raining.
We have a special delivery area with proper lighting so when the client picks up their order, their portraits look magnificent. We write thank you notes after the sale and after the pickup. We often add a Gift Card for a Session Fee for another type of portrait. (For example, if they just had a senior portrait done, we will add a gift card for a family session.)
It all adds up to the customer experience we strive for.
And finally… Remembering client’s names and their children’s names are very important to your clients’ experiences, helping create relationships. After all, the sweetest thing people can hear is their name (or the names of their kids).
Can you list some things you do in your business that relate to Customer Experience? What can you do to improve your clients’ experiences?