Your Lobby Tells Your Customers How Much You Care
What are the Subliminal Messages You Are Giving Your Customers?
In today’s episode: We discuss how many brick and mortar businesses miss the boat when it comes to the importance of their lobbies and bathrooms. You might be pushing your customers away and killing your repeat business by not paying attention to your lobby area.
Click to Listen to the Show:
Don't Have Time to Listen? Here are the Show Notes:
Episode 78: Your Lobby Tells Your Customers How Much You Care
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast. I am your coach, Tammy Adams.
Today we are going to take a look at why your lobby is so key to your repeat business and the message you give your customers.
Hey everyone, I want you to picture the following. You walk into your favorite fast food joint with your family. You order at the counter and then start to find a table. You walk past the garbage cans that are over flowing with trash, ketchup filled trays tossed on top. The first table you come too has food left all over it, the second table has more trash and crumbs on the chairs. Table after table full of sticky soda, old wrappers and smooshed French fries. Suddenly, your food just does not look as appetizing as it did before you went sit down. Have you ever had this happen you? A lobby so disgusting that your appetite is ruined?
Nothing tells your customers that you don’t care about them more than a dirty disgusting lobby. It is like inviting your friends over to your home for dinner and yet they’re having to move trash and pick up dirty clothes just to sit down. Or maybe you have that friend who picks you up, but before you can get in their car, you must remove their old drink cans, food bags, candy or chip wrappers. Heck, this might even describe your vehicles. LOL. But seriously, if your truck or vehicle is like this, would you invite people to eat on top of all of your trash? Of course not, but it is no different than one of these disgusting lobbies.
Now that this visual is in your head, let me ask you a question. When you have had this experience, what does it make you think about their backline where they just cooked your food. Odds are, you’re thinking that it probably looks the same. Pretty darn disgusting.
I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING
Listen I know what you’re thinking, this would never happen at my place. When I had my ice cream shop, I also had a lobby with multiple tables. So, I also know what it feels like to be slammed full of customers and all of your team members are on death con five, working their butts off serving people. You are doing all you can to stay on top of the crazy customer line. Then you look out over their heads and you see that your lobby is destroyed, a complete disaster.
But here’s the thing, the difference between myself and those with these horrible lobbies is, I made it a priority. It was just as important for my employee to go clean that lobby as it was for them to make the food for my customer. You see all the best food in the world and service with a smile, means nothing if their next experience is one of frustration and disgust. This one little thing, can ruin their experience at your place.
LESSONS LEARNED IN THE PAST
I sometimes wonder what has made me so sensitive to this impact a lobby has on our customers. It has to be more than just what I’ve personally experienced as a customer myself. Maybe it goes back to my 16 year old self who was put in charge of the lobby during my first few months of working for Taco Bell? It was drilled in my head that it was responsibility to ensure our guest has a clean lobby when they came in. I took this role really seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I longed to be on the backline making the food but in the meantime, I’d just make sure I had the best lobby.
Later, it continued to be reinforced through my years of dedication to customer service with Home Depot. You could say that the past 30+ years have been about that customer experience. So, I probably don’t know any differently. However, I do know it means a lot to not only the customer experience for this visit, but more importantly, it can set the stage for the repeat business we want these customers to become.
HOW DO YOU STAY ON TOP OF YOUR LOBBY?
So, what is the best way to stay on top of your lobby? The #1 way is to have a person who is assigned to the lobby during your peak times. If you don’t have enough people on your crew, then you and your other leaders need to constantly kick someone out there on a regular basis to do a quick round of washing the table, picking up the trash and sweeping if needed.
Another thing I did is, right before any rushes, I assigned one team member to be the main person to keep an eye out. This way if I missed it, they would see it. The goal was for them to finish their customer and before taking the next one, to tell the others they were headed to the lobby for a few minutes. Was the system perfect, no. But I will tell you that I got a lot of compliments during our rushes of not only how good we were at keeping the line moving, but how they liked that our lobby always remained clean throughout. I was proud of that.
So, my question to you is: Are you making your lobby a priority?
OTHER TYPES OF LOBBIES
Now, for those of you that don’t have a fast food or other type of dining establishment, you aren’t quite off the hook. There are other types of businesses that have a lobby or greeting area.
For example, our brokerage has a lobby, many dentist, doctors, insurance, etc have lobbies as well. What does your lobby look like? While it may look good when you first walk, is it just the first few feet that look good? Are the desks in disarray (by the way, I’m guilty on this one). Are the trash cans overflowing? Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that our customers are going to stop right at that front desk, however, if your customers have free reign of your office they will be passing through other areas so you need to make sure that the floors are kept swept and mopped just as much as one of the other lobbies we discussed earlier. Which brings me to the next point I want to cover while I’m on a rant: bathrooms.
DON’T FORGET THE BATHROOM
This one bugs me just as much as dirty lobbies. I get that nobody wants to clean the bathroom. Heck, we hate doing it at home, so what’s gonna make us want to do it at work?
But here’s the thing, if your customers use your bathrooms you need to keep them clean! When a customer uses your bathroom, they are still passing judgement on your establishment. It tells them that you don’t care about them and worse, you don’t even care about your employees or else you wouldn’t have it this bad.
Listen I understand that you may not have a full-time person cleaning your bathrooms, but somehow you need to come up with some kind of rotation to watch and clean them. I have been in places that are beautiful out front. Then you excuse yourself to go to the restroom and it’s disgusting. The toilet seat is all scratched up, there’s no toilet paper, the floor is full of gunk, since it is mopped half assed. The faucets are falling apart, there’s no paper towels. Any of this sounding familiar? It should, we all have used bathrooms like this. I get that nobody wants to clean them, but somehow you’ve got to find out how to keep your bathrooms clean. You owe it to your customers and your employees.
Ok, I’m going to wrap this episode up. Hopefully I’ve shed a little light on a problem that is out there. No it isn’t a glamorous best process. But an important one never the less. Hopefully, all brick and mortar folks will take a look at the areas that your customers visit. Ask yourself what message you are sending. How can you put some better practices in place to ensure that both your customers and your employees do not have to work, eat or visit disgusting area. Don’t send them subliminal messages that you just don’t care.
And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.
By the way, If you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
And don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me to possibly answer on the podcast in the future. You can leave it via the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
Have a Question You Want Asked on Air? Shoot Me Your Question
Podcast Website: LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com
Leave your Message on the website with the SpeakPipe Button or just email me at Tammy@LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com
Our Training Materials for Local Small Business Owners: TrainingforLocalSmallBusinessOwners.com
Starting a Local Small Business Website: StartALocalSmallBusiness.com
My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
Why? Helps you invoice quicker and more importantly, get paid quicker. Let’s you know when your clients have opened the email and they even help send reminders. Clients / customers can pay right from their phone or computer. Give it a Try: Freshbooks
**Freshbooks is an affiliate link. This costs you nothing. I only recommend due to how much folks have loved it. I am paid a small commission but trust me. Even I use it. Try it for free for 30 days and see if you don’t love it too!
Today's episode, as well as all of our episodes, is brought to you by trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com. Where we provide free tips, tools and resources for your local small business. So whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for a while and want to learn more ways to increase your profit, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams then head on over once again to trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com..
And if you are Thinking of Starting a Local Small business, over at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com we have lots of free tools and resources to help you get your local small business started. Plus, we now have a more in-depth course to Help Get you going. It has 12 modules, 50 mini videos and 13 downloadable tools a person can use to start their local small business. You can find the link once again at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com. I also have set up a special discount code for listeners of the podcast. At checkout, just add the code PODCAST to save 25%.
See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.
Start Earning More $$$
Tired of working 60 - 70 hours a week and still barely making ends meet?
What if you could start earning more money right away and not increase the hours you are working?
In this ebook, I'll introduce you to the 8 Steps to start increasing your sales and revenue right away.
So, if you are ready to Start Making $100,000 in TAKE HOME PAY...
Download the book today to get started!
Don’t You Think it is Time You Start Making What You Deserve!