Nobody likes to be kept waiting, but it is an inevitable byproduct of an appointment. Rarely will you find yourself being ushered straight in to see the person with whom you have an appointment. Businesses tend to treat waiting rooms or areas in pretty much the same way.
Most business owners will plonk a few magazines within reach and leave it at that.
But there is so much more they can do and it will be appreciated.
Do a visual scan from left to right of the entire waiting area. Look at the space as if you were a customer arriving for the first time. Does it look clean? Is the furniture comfortable? Lighting and Flooring next. Brightly lit? Clean uncluttered flooring? This is particularly important not just from an aesthetic viewpoint but also from a health and safety aspect. Carpet showing signs of wear? Replace it. Furniture looking a bit too homely? Replace it. Furniture should be comfortable but functional. Big soft sofas are fine at home but are difficult to maintain in a business environment. Also, make sure the seating is not too low to the floor. Older customers will hate having to struggle to stand from crouched position.
Coffee tables are a necessary item in a waiting room but avoid glass topped tables – you will spend all day removing smudges and marks.
The colour scheme you choose should be in line with your business premises.
Those magazines you placed on a table – are they your taste in reading or that of your customers? The best answer is to ensure the reading material you place in the waiting area is up to date. In fact I would go so far as to say that magazines should be fairly generic. Additional reading material should be newspapers, delivered daily. The newspapers should fit with the type of business you are operating. But the most importnat reading material will be the information about your company and services. If available, make it clear that you are happy for your visitors to take a copy of your brochure and business card.
Display fresh cut flowers – never plastic or silk. They will look tired very quickly and will not give a good impression. keep the floral display small and colourful. Of course, if the area is of sufficient space, have a larger plant within the area as a permanent feature. There are companies from whom you can rent these type of plants. They will make sure they are watered and kept looking in tip top condition or they will replace a plant which is not thriving with one that does. If that is beyond your budget, talk to your local florist and ask if they would be willing to supply, free of charge to you, a regular floral display, in return for allowing the florist to place their business cards in your waiting area.
There are many more ways to improve your waiting area but none are more effective than being greeted with a smile and shown courteousness by offering a hot or cold beverage. You only get one chance to make a good first impression so make it count.