Impressing clients is about much more than simply providing appealing products or services. To win customers over, you have to think carefully about every aspect of your company, including your workspace.
Did you know that it takes just one tenth of a second for us to make up our minds about the new people we meet? According to researchers at Princeton University, we form judgments about others in this miniscule amount of time, and only long-term experience can alter our initial preconceptions. It pays to think of your office in the same way. When people walk into your workplace for the first time, they’ll make snap judgements about it, and about your business as a whole.
Here, we take a look at exactly why office design matters when it comes to impressing clients, and we offer tips on how to make the perfect impression with your work environment.
What your workspace says about your brand
Your office is much more than simply a place where your employees get on with their work; it’s a statement about your company values and your brand. When people visit your workspace, they’ll look for clues as to what it can tell them about your values and success as an organisation. For example, if your office is filled with tatty looking chairs and desks, this could suggest you don’t pay attention to detail and it might even appear as though you’re struggling financially.
If your workspace is devoid of personality, clients might think of your business as bland and lacking in flair. There are also many other negative signals you could inadvertently send through your office design. For example, if your workstations look uncomfortable or impractical, it may seem as though you don’t really care about the wellbeing of your personnel. Meanwhile, if you don’t have recycling systems and other green measures in place, there’s a risk you’ll come across as irresponsible.
It’s essential when you’re planning your work environment that you think carefully about the message you’re trying to convey to others. What does your business really stand for, and how can you showcase these values through your office design? Understanding the importance of these issues when you’re creating your work environment is key to impressing any visitors.
How the look of your office can influence purchasing decisions
As well as giving people a general impression of your business, the look and feel of your office can have a very direct and immediate impact on whether people decide to purchase the products or services you’re offering.
As consumers, we like to think of ourselves as highly rational. When we make purchasing decisions, we typically do so on the basis of facts, right? Well, in reality this is often wrong. In many cases, we’re swayed by subconscious influences that we’re simply not aware of. One expert who knows all about this phenomenon is psychologist and author Marc Andrews. The specialist, who recently co-wrote the book Hidden Persuasion, notes that many of our decisions in daily life are made on an unconscious level, and successful marketers exploit this fact to encourage people to make purchases. So, even if you provide an extremely attractive offer to potential clients, they may be reluctant to agree to it if they’re unimpressed by your office - and they may well not realise that this is what’s putting them off.
Further highlighting the significance of this issue, figures from Kissmetrics indicate that nine out of 10 people are visually influenced when making a purchase. Again, this suggests that if they don’t like what they see when they step into your workspace, people may be less likely to sign on the dotted line.
How to send the right signals
The connection between office design and making the right impression on clients is clear - but how can you ensure that your premises are sending the right signals? The good news is, there may be some fairly simple steps you can take to enhance your office and to strike the right cord with your visitors.
Ensure your reception area is spot on
Your reception area is likely to be the first part of your office that clients see, so there’s no room for second best here. It’s important to invest in good quality reception furniture that’s comfortable to use and that reflects your company’s sense of style. Whether you’re looking to create a quirky, contemporary workspace, a reassuringly traditional office or anything in between, there’s no shortage of chairs, desks, coffee tables and other furnishings available.
Take this opportunity to really showcase what your business is all about too. Make sure your reception features branded signage, and it’s a good idea to display your achievements and any awards you have. This will help to give a professional impression and it will highlight the positives of your organisation.
Create a professional, comfortable meeting room
Your meeting room is another key focal point as this is where you’ll probably spend the majority of your time with visitors. Stylish, comfy seating is a must, and you should also put plenty of thought into the meeting table you choose. If you want to create a relaxed, informal feel, you might want to go for a round design. These tables help to generate a more laid back vibe and they’re great for encouraging discussions.
Pay attention to the finishing touches
Seemingly small details can have a huge impact on the way people perceive your office, so make sure you put lots of thought into those finishing touches. For example, when it comes to décor, choose colours that create a pleasant working environment and that reflect your brand. Bear in mind that using bright, bold artwork can be a simple and highly effective way to give your rooms added personality.
Think about the greenery in your office as well. Plants bring life, vibrancy and a sense of calm to work areas and there are plenty to choose from. To make a statement, you could even invest in green walls. These features can transform otherwise boring spaces into fresh, inviting work areas.
Lighting is key too. Try not to rely on harsh fluorescent illuminations; instead, optimise the natural light in your office and consider supplementing this with attractive task lighting. Freestanding lamps and desk lamps can help to create a softer, more appealing look and they also give employees more control over the levels of brightness at their workstations.
Even something as simple as providing cold water dispensers and bowls of sweets and fresh fruit in your meeting room can help to put visitors in a good mood.
There’s no denying the importance of clever office design when it comes to impressing clients, and by following suggestions like these, you’ll be able to show your business off in style.