If there's one thing in common between C-store, retail, and food service, it's that customer experience is paramount. Customers are assessing your business from the moment they set foot in your establishment. How is the service? Am I comfortable? How much time will I spend here? Is this worth the price? According to Forrester research, brands saw a nearly 20% drop in customer experience in 2022, meaning customers are more likely to take their business to competitors. When the first impression is the most important, make sure it's exceptional.
Learn what an exceptional customer experience entails and some of the changes you can make across your operations to ensure your customers are getting the most from your service.
The Key to a Memorable First Impression
Walking into a new store or restaurant, one of the first things someone notices is the state of maintenance. From the storefront signage to the fluidity of the automatic doors, customers subconsciously take note. This impacts the customer's perception of your business and determines how long and how much the customers will spend in this location. Most importantly, it affects how the customer views your brand as a whole and their willingness to visit other sites.
Proper facility maintenance makes a difference in the customer experience and, ultimately, your bottom line. Aside from keeping locations looking great, keeping equipment and services in proper working order is essential. Customers expect convenience and accessibility, and you cannot deliver that when you have equipment failures. Plus, emergency maintenance can cost you a lot more than taking proper care of your facility in the first place. In fact, businesses that employ proper preventative maintenance saved between 12-18% or $5 for each $1 spent. Pair that with an excellent customer first impression, and you've got a boosted bottom line.
Designing for Delight
Every 1% increase in time spent within a store is a 1.3% increase in sales. Creating an easy-to-navigate layout is one of the most effective ways to keep customers in your store. Traffic flow is important; it determines what customers see and impacts how efficient your checkout process is. Similarly, for restaurants, table spacing and layout have an enormous impact on how long customers stay. One Cornell study found that tightly spaced tables reduce customers' time spent in a restaurant. So while you may want to fit that one extra table to maximize sales, you may be impacting your customer experience.
Once you've determined your ideal layout, a facilities management company, like Vixxo, can help you execute this layout across all of your locations.
Going hand-in-hand with location layout is proper signage and wayfinding placement. Whether promoting a new product or communicating the restroom's location, having clear and visible signage can influence a customer's behavior and overall experience. In fact, a FedEx survey found that more than two-thirds of customers believe signage reflects the quality of a business's products and services. It's not just about the quality of signage but also consistency. Keeping all your locations up to date with the latest promotional or seasonal displays is necessary for maintaining high customer retention.
When signage is this crucial, having someone in your corner can help you elevate your customer experience. The proper facilities management partner can help you keep dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations up to date with the latest signage or promotional materials. For example, Vixxo helped one Fortune 100 company update signage for a rebrand at 3,800 sites on time and within budget.
Setting the Mood
When someone enters a new business, they can immediately tell what the "vibe" is. From the lighting to the layout to the décor, you get an immediate sense of what to expect. Crafting that experience takes time and a lot of brand work, but that doesn't mean your locations can't have a unique mood identity. Changing a site's presentation takes only a few new lighting fixtures in strategic areas.
But the sensory impact doesn't end at sight. The way a place smells and feels can make or break a customer's experience. For example, customers at a seafood restaurant probably don't want to smell the raw fish in the front of the house. Proper equipment installation and maintenance can ensure your atmosphere remains fresh and ready for customers to enjoy. From air conditioning to appropriate exhaust ventilation, your systems directly impact how your customers view your business.
We Can Help Create an Inviting Environment
Vixxo can help you determine what and where to upgrade to make your sites more inviting. We can even help with accessibility updates across multiple locations, ensuring regulatory compliance. Each location is unique and requires a customized approach, and the right partner can help you get there.
Providing an exceptional customer experience requires attention to many different aspects of your facilities and operations. From proper maintenance to an inviting atmosphere, focusing on these key areas and investing in the right facilities management strategies, can ensure that your customers are eager to return.
Learn more about what makes an excellent customer experience by checking out some more of our blogs. Vixxo is always ready to help you elevate your business.