Creating a Great First Impression with Clients

How your office appears can have a huge impact on how clients view your company. In life we’re constantly evaluating and interpreting the world around us and your clients and prospects are no different.

How you present your office says a lot about your company and creating a great first impression can help you win, retain and upsell clients. Plus, giving your employees a well-designed and maintained office space can improve morale and productivity.

With that in mind, consider this: What sort of message is your office sending? In the following guide we outline ten tips to help you improve the presentation of your office.

1. Keep It Clean

1. Keep It Clean

This first tip might seem like a no brainer, but we are often amazed at the number of stores and offices that forget this simple rule. Clean and tidy presentation of your public spaces is important for creating a good impression on customers and clients.

Don’t forget to clean restroom facilities that might be used by your clients. It doesn’t matter how clean your office space is if it’s let down by poorly cleaned restrooms. Encourage staff to take responsibility for general office cleanliness, as it will make the space nicer to work in and showcase your workspace in a positive light.

Encourage staff to stay on top of day-to-day cleanliness and to take responsibility for their own space. Keeping desks clear of unnecessary paperwork and common areas clutter free ensures that clients will be presented with a tidy office space any day of the week, not just the day after the cleaners have come through.

2.Office Flow

We’re not suggesting you need to hire a Feng Shui guru to realign your office’s chakras: Simply consider the ways in which your office space is utilised and then try to optimise it. Imagine the space in your office as a series of channels and work zones. Channels should be optimised to provide access for people to the various work zones. Identify the channels which have the heaviest flow of traffic and ensure these are kept clear at all times. Avoid placing office equipment in these high traffic areas.

Work zones should be set aside as a space for essential office equipment that is readily accessible to the greatest number of people. Work zones should contain all the essential office equipment such as printers, faxes, and filing cabinets. Try to avoid putting other commonly used items such as microwaves and coffee machines here, in order to avoid congestion.

3. Street Appeal

As mentioned before, first impressions are important. Ensuring your building has good street appeal is essential to forming a good first impression on your clients. Make sure that the external structure of your building is well maintained. Details such as clean and attractive grounds, high quality external fittings and finish, clear signage and a visually appealing design all add up to create a positive impression on your clients. Some high quality front door mats add a welcoming touch and have the added advantage of encouraging your clients to wipe their feet. After all, every little bit helps.

4. A Warm Reception

3. Street Appeal

Your reception area should provide an idealised vision of your office space. While street appeal is important, potential clients will often spend more time in your reception area and so additional effort should be made here. Your company’s reception area should be open, inviting, aesthetically appealing and immaculately maintained. Whilst clients will overlook a bit of mess in your office, they will be less inclined to overlook a messy or cluttered reception area.

Comfortable seating is a must as you want your clients to feel welcome and at ease. Not only should the seating be comfortable, it should be high quality and business appropriate. Just because bean bags are comfortable, doesn’t mean you would want them in your reception area – unless of course you are going for the funky look like Google or a tech start up! Adding a chilled water tower to your reception area is a good idea and will be greatly appreciated by your clients in the warmer months or if they’re nervous.

Ensure your reception staff are well trained, friendly and always appropriately attired. They are often the first point of contact a visitor has and can set the tone for the rest of their stay. Consider improving the aesthetics of your reception area with a focal point that’s pleasing to the eye. This could include paintings, plants, scenic photographs or even a bespoke coffee table. Your reception area is also a good area to highlight your company’s successes and any awards you may have received.

5. Ease Of Access

When a client comes to your office they are a guest and as a result care should be taken to make them feel comfortable. Make it easy for your clients to find your building by ensuring that your company’s name and street address are in a prominent position and easily spotted. Visitor car parking should be clearly labelled and as close to reception as is practical.

Consider signs in areas your clients are likely to visit, this should include signage for: meeting rooms, restrooms, emergency exits, reception, and break areas. It is a good idea to ask your reception staff what directions they most commonly give to visitors, as this is a great starting point for deciding which signs to install. If you have a lot of buildings, think about investing in covered walkways. This creates a good impression on clients and your employees will be grateful during the wetter months of the year.

6. Your Personal Workspace

If you host clients in your own office then an organised and tidy workstation is a must. If your work area is disorganised not only will this impact your efficiency, but it can make a negative impression on your clients.

If your office desk is often messy an overhaul is likely in order. Begin by removing everything off the surface of your desk. Now put back only the items that are absolutely essential to your day-to-day work. You need to be strict with yourself and only include things you use on a daily basis such as your phone and computer. Anything that doesn’t fall into this category will need to find a new home.

Document trays are an excellent tool for managing paperwork and imposing order on your desk. Make a habit of using these trays only for current work items: Anything else should be filed appropriately. Drawers are a great tool, if used effectively. Make sure that you don’t simply sweep your desktop clutter into them: Instead, establish rules about what should be stored in which drawers and stick to it. White adhesive labels can help in this regard.

Set aside twenty minutes once a week to sort out your desk; throw out any rubbish, file your paperwork, put all your pens into their holder or drawer, reassess what is on your desktop and what can be stored, and then give it all a quick rubdown with a clean cloth. Doing this every Friday afternoon will ensure that next Monday you can start the week efficiently and stress free. Friday afternoons are notoriously unproductive, so a weekly declutter can be the perfect activity to schedule before finishing work for the week. Blocking out the time in your calendar will ensure you adhere to your plan. Come Monday morning, you’ll be grateful you did.

7. Use Of Plants

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Plants offer numerous benefits in an office space. If well maintained they are pleasing to the eye, improve the air quality of the office, reduce employee stress, and make rooms feel more comfortable.

Plants in an office space indicate to clients that you care about your employee wellbeing and that you respect nature as well. Encourage staff to choose a plant for their desk as studies have shown that caring for a plant not only improves an employee’s mood but also their productivity. Be sure to choose hardy, shade tolerant, evergreen plants. Not only does this mean they look good all year round, but they also make less mess than deciduous varieties.

8. Neutral Colour Scheme

A neutral colour scheme for your office is recommended for a number of reasons. Most importantly, neutral colour schemes have a broad appeal. Strong colour schemes can evoke strong emotions, which will differ from person to person, and won’t always be positive emotions.

Shades of white and cream are recommended. Whilst they aren’t terribly exciting they also aren’t off-putting for your clients, and provide a sense of calmness and order. Another advantage of a neutral colour scheme is that it provides an opportunity for subtle branding. If your company has a particular colour associated with it (think Coca Cola red), a neutral colour scheme provides an ideal opportunity to show it. Consider colouring fixtures such as light fittings in your company’s colours or, if you’re feeling bold, add a coloured feature wall in the reception area. This type of branding can be extremely effective and serves to not only reinforce your company’s identity but also improve the aesthetic appeal of your office.

9. Maintenance

Money spent on maintenance is seldom wasted as an office is often one of a company’s biggest assets. Good maintenance is paramount as it saves your company money in the long run. Not only is it cost effective, office maintenance also influences how clients perceive you. A poorly maintained office is bad for your company’s image and may imply your company is cheap or even careless. Good maintenance indicates that your company is careful and diligent with their assets.

Be sure to pay particular attention to the upkeep of the plaster, paint, and flooring in your office, as these can gradually worsen over time without your noticing. Visual appeal will often degrade long before any structural issues occur that would otherwise prompt maintenance.

10. Staff Presentation

The presentation of your staff can have a big impact on how your clients perceive your company as a whole. A company dress code is an efficient way to ensure your employees are positively representing the company. Consider the dress code that is appropriate to your business and ensure that it is formalised. Whether this is a company provided uniform, a ‘smart casual’ policy or a requirement for full business attire, it is important that this dress code is formalised as it makes the company’s expectations clear to all staff. This document should provide clarity on what is acceptable and what is not. Consistent and appropriate staff presentation is important as it ensures that your company looks professional and your staff look a part of the team.

While the above tips are a great way to improve how your clients and customers respond to your office, it is by no means an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other innovative ways in which you can present your company in the best possible light.

If you’ve got some tips to share, or simply want to provide feedback, please let us know!