Each of us has been in an environment at some time in our lives where we felt uncomfortable. We not only wanted to leave but likely made a decision to not return! There are three specific things that can drive your clients away from your business:
1. Dirty or cluttered space - I can remember years ago doing a home visit that will stay in my mind for the rest of my life. Something crunched under my feet with each step. I was invited to sit down on a kitchen chair but, when I pulled the chair away from the table, the seat was stained and I wasn't sure i it was even a good idea to sit. The host was friendly and apologized for the mess but that didn't make up for it. Everything was sticky and messy and germ-filled.
Look at your office with objective eyes. Make sure that everything is in place and anything that is soiled should be cleaned immediately. Vacuum regularly, wipe spots from walls and empty garbage cans. Also, remember to disinfect telephone receivers and use a pleasant air freshener as smell is also an important factor when it comes to having an attractive environment.
2. Safety issues - Many clients are uncomfortable when they walk in an area that is unfamiliar - especially if parking is a distance from the office. There is also risk of harm if entrances or stairs are slippery, broken or cluttered. But physical safety is only one aspect of providing a good environment for clients. They also need to feel that they are emotionally safe and that their confidentiality will be protected.
Take an objective walk from client parking to the office. What things might make the journey scary. You may want to offer to walk with the client to and from their appointments. Ensure that all physical entrances and stairwells are cleared and repaired. Play soft music in the office so that the client feels comfortable and does not worry about being overhead. And, remember to review confidentiality policies with your commitment to honour them.
3. Lack of respect - Many people who have been treated poorly never tell anyone about this. They just never return to that business. If a staff member is rude or the client has to wait for a period of time longer than ten minutes, you are risking loss of their business.
Make sure that you hire people who are polite and professional with the clients. Also, make sure that you are on time for all of your appointments. This is just good manners. If you want your clients to return again and again and again, you need to make sure that your environment is clean, safe and comfortable.