Ambience is important in your customer’s experience, the customers will form an impression of your business based on the ambience of your offices & outlets, this impression can either be positive or negative and will ultimately have an impact on their overall experience with your brand (CX).
The ambience of your business outlet can be said to be the character, mood or atmosphere that can be associated with it. Everything that makes an impression on people when they visit your business such as the architecture of the building, temperature, interior, color scheme, lighting, wall texture, neatness, choice of decoration and even employee uniforms are a part of your ambience.
If your business has an ambience that makes customers uncomfortable, or feel unwelcome, you risk losing them to your competitor or having them perceive your brand in an unfavorable light. This makes it important for you to have ambience pleasing enough to your customers to make them want to return your establishment.
Your ambience can be deliberately designed to give your business a competitive edge. Research in environmental psychology has revealed that ambience has a powerful effect on customer’s attitudes, their emotions, and behavior. With its effective use, you can positively influence your customers’ experience with your business.
Here are 4 ways you can improve your Customer Experience (CX) by leveraging on ambience –
#1. Use Background Music
Music of all types have an effect on mood and can be powerful in shaping your customer’s experience. Music can be used to entertain, engage, uplift or energize your customers. For instance, classical music genres produce an expectation of high-quality service & products, slow tempo music genres produce shorter time perceptions, while high tempo music produces increased time perception.
Determine what effect you would like your background music to have on customers, then select the appropriate genre that would create the desired effect. Below is a chart. Check out this infographic of popular music genres and their effects on mood.
#2. Leverage on Smell
Most businesses owners do not put much thought to how the smell or fragrance of their business outlets impacts on the customers. For these business owners, as long as the environment doesn’t smell horrible, they will pay little or no attention to the fragrance of their establishments.
Research reveals that the sense of smell is our "most emotional" sense. Unique odors & fragrances can trigger memories childhood or adulthood, these memories will often have an emotional weight attached to them.
In another study at a local clothing store, researchers found out that when 'feminine' fragrances like vanilla were used, sales of women's clothes doubled. They found a similar result with men's clothing when 'masculine' fragrances were used.
Our sense of smell has profound effects on emotions, memory, and mood. This impacts on customer behavior when they visit your business. If your customers come to associate a unique smell or fragrance with your business, they will always remember your brand anywhere they encounter such a fragrance, this helps keep your brand at the top of their mind.
Be conscious of the different scents items like flowers, diffusers & even soap in the restrooms at your business emit. They subtly influence the customer’s mood, decisions, and impression of your business. When used correctly, fragrance can create an environment where your customers feel positive and comfortable, it will also differentiate your brand from competition. (Watch this TEDx Talk on Why Smell is More Important Than You Think)
Obviously, you have to keep your business environments clean, no matter how wonderful product or service is, if customers notice that neatness isn’t a priority at your business, they will give themselves a lot of good reasons to do business with your competitors.
No top notch customer experience is complete without a neat environment. Maintaining a clean ambience means keep every area of business clean, whether or not your customers will interact with it. This way of thinking ingrains a culture of neatness in the organization.
Give extra attention to both high traffic areas where customers frequent like; the reception, front desk, restrooms, windows, and offices, and to the back offices & stairs, canteen, lounges and other areas your employees use. Over time, neatness becomes a culture for your organization, and will inevitably manifest in every aspect of the business the customer interacts with. Also, ensure the environment is free of clutter – files, boxes, paper work should all be neatly arranged, preferably, where your customers cannot see them. Your ceilings should be neat and brightly lit, this helps open up more space. Your furniture should be free of rips, tears or loose parts at all times.
Ensure the environment is free of clutter – files, boxes, paper work should all be neatly arranged, preferably, where your customers cannot see them. Your ceilings should be neat and brightly lit, this helps open up more space. Furniture should be free of rips, tears or loose parts at all times.
Ask yourself every day, are my offices & outlets neat? The front desk & entrance? Is the parking lot safe and clean or does it have potholes and pools of stagnant water?
#4. Pay Attention To Visuals & Lighting
The amount of lighting and the color scheme of your offices & stores are massive contributors to the ambience of your establishment, they can influence your customer’s mood and emotion. For instance, colors like Red has been found to increase blood pressure and appetite, while colors such as blue reduce blood pressure and creates a calming atmosphere.
The goal of engaging the customers visually is to keep them engaged, if done right it increases opportunities to cross-sell to them. Depending on your budget, you can make use of large LCD displays to display product information, digital signages to indicate restrooms or exits, or interactive touchscreen pads for self-service.
A study found out that the light and colour of the workplace had an influence on the mood of employees working there. Workers mood was at it's lowest with poor lighting, then it improved as the lighting was increased and reached a peak when the lighting was experienced as just right. When the lighting was too bright, the mood declined again.
Depending on the type of mood you want to create, keep the intensity of lighting just right. For restaurants, dim low lights will help create an intimate feeling for customers, while for retail stores, bright lighting helps customers find items faster, creates a sense of space and encourages them to shop for more goodies.
Poor ambience is one of 3 things that negatively impact CX in your business. Do not under estimate the impact of ambience in your customer experience.
By applying these tips you can positively influence the mood and emotions customers have whenever they visit your business. This will improve their overall experience and yield more satisfied customers.