There are many things as a business owner you think about on a daily basis; finances, marketing, inventory and many other aspects, but within all of this, is ambiance one of them? It should be. The ambiance in many cases is probably, one of the most important aspects of any business. Ambiance sets the mood, character, quality, tone and atmosphere of your business. When you think about ambiance, think about your own experiences you’ve had with other businesses. What was your first impression? How did the ambiance make you feel? Would you visit that business again based on its’ ambiance?
As a business owner, you need to keep in mind that people have always been visual and if you don’t keep an engaging and welcoming ambiance for your business, you are telling people to look away. Ever hear the saying ‘never judge a book by its’ cover’? Well most customers, although they’ve heard this, don’t follow it. It’s something that we all know we should try and follow, but let’s face it, we don’t. If we see that a business is not appealing from just walking through the doors, chances are we will turn around and walk right out, even if they may have the best and most affordable products or services. Creating the right ambiance might sound difficult, but it actually is one of the easier parts of running your business. Just start by thinking of your space from the customer’s perspective. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Almost every room you walk into, whether it’s a business or someone’s home, think about it, there is some type of décor that makes you feel and act a certain way. It might make you happy, make you laugh, make you feel warm and welcomed, make you feel apprehensive, sad or even scared. Think about how you want your customers to feel when they walk through your business doors. If you have a professional business, you would want your customers to feel like they are at home; in a place that they should trust. If you have a retail business, you would want your customers to walk freely through your store and want to spend some time in finding what they want and need. If you are a restaurant owner, you would want your customers to feel comfortable and excited knowing that they are about to have a great meal. Even if you have an auto body shop, it is important to have some type of pleasant décor that your customers will walk into and feel like they are going to get the best service and customer care. Whatever it may be, try to bring the feeling you are going for across with the décor of your space. Make sure that it is current and lends to the look and feel of your brand. You could decorate your space by putting artwork on the walls that are specific to your business, bring in furniture that portrays the look and feel you are going for. If you have brand colors specific to your business, incorporate that throughout your space. If there are specific sayings you go by, display them somewhere so that customers get a feel for who you are. It gives them a little sneak peak of what you stand for, allowing them to resonate even more with your business and sets you apart from others.
The front desk or counter of your business has a lot of impact on how customers will judge your business. When thinking about the ambiance of your space the key things to remember make sure it is always organized, clean, and behind the desk is a friendly associate who is greeting every customer upon arrival. The look and feel you create in this area should be used as a first impression, so think about the first impression you want to give your customers. Some things to ask yourself are, who is representing your business behind the desk, how should they be dressed and what should be placed on and around the area?
We all know many people do not like to wait around, and if they have to stand a long period of time they are sure to get restless, tired and maybe even angry. You don’t want your ambiance to give anyone that type of feeling, so try to provide plenty of places to sit. If your business has long, wait times make sure you provide comfortable seating areas. This will allow your customers to feel more comfortable, have more patience, and gives them a better experience. They will remember your business as being accommodating and professional.
In many cases, lighting in a business is pretty bright. But in cases of a restaurant or a specialty store lighting goes a long way. In a restaurant for breakfast and lunch, a restaurant owner may have regular lighting but come dinner time they may dim the lights to set a more romantic ambiance with candles on the tables. For a specialty store, spotlighting can help items sell better. If lighting is a factor in your business, think about ways it can help you set the right ambiance.
Ever walk into a business and see yourself bopping your head to the music that was playing? You enjoyed that right? Why not give your customer’s that same enjoyment? If you decide that playing music will enhance your business’ ambiance, then think about what kind of music will create the right mood. Many business owners allow music to be played just for the sake of it, but music in the business place needs more attention. Get creative and specific with your music choices. Think outside the box and play music that resonates well with your customer’s and brand. For instance, if you have an Italian restaurant you could play authentic Italian music. According to research done by Technomic Consumer Brand Metrics, fifty-two percent of millennials say that the music selection of a restaurant is an important factor in their decision to visit a casual-dining restaurant.
Now-a -days almost everyone has a smartphone that they can do almost anything on. It keeps them busy and somewhat entertained. So why should you provide entertaining materials for your customers, such as books, magazines, and the local newspaper? Because it shows that you care about your customers and understand that they might end up having to wait for their product or services. By providing them with materials that they can use to keep busy you are helping them pass the time. Think about what your customers would enjoy. You could maybe even set up a television or provide a computer area with Wi-Fi if that is feasible. It’s just another way of creating a comfortable ambiance for your customers and giving them a good experience.
Children’s Play Area
Children these days are becoming more and more impatient. With the rise of technology and having everything available to you right at your fingertips and in a matter of seconds, parents need to work harder to keep their children entertained longer. Use this opportunity to create a nice ambiance in your business for parents by providing a children’s play area with toys, books, and games. This will go a long way giving stressed out parents some peace while they wait. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and will remember your business as the business that is kid friendly and most accommodating to them.
Snacks and Drinks
More and more businesses are improving their ambiance by providing snacks and drinks. Providing a small snack and refreshments says a lot about you and your business. It shows that you understand that your customers may have had a long day and haven’t had a chance to eat or drink anything or are going to wait for a while. By simply providing these accommodations you are already setting up an ambiance that they will appreciate and remember you for. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; you could just have a coffee or tea bar with snacks, or just some water bottles, whatever you can provide big or small is better than providing nothing at all.
Setting up the ambiance of your business doesn’t stop at what you can see as soon as you walk through the doors. Your restrooms say a lot about your business and if you are not accommodating your customers in this area, it doesn’t set a good experience. Especially if you are a restaurant owner, your customers are going to expect that your restrooms are well stocked, clean and accessible. If your restrooms are well maintained, your customers will appreciate you for it and most likely will visit you again. You don’t want your customers to walk into your restrooms frown and walk straight out and out of your business to go look for another restroom. That is a lost sale, so put yourself in your customer’s shoes and keep your restrooms clean and tidy.
Remember ambiance is one of the most important keys to a better experience, which always means repeat customers. No matter what type of business you have your ambiance is what sets you apart from the rest, so go ahead have some fun; create a memorable ambiance for your successful business.