Why is a seamless customer experience so important? Front of house is an important role within any business; it’s your visitors very first impression of your organisation. From the moment you walk through the doors, until the time you’re greeted by your host, the entire process should appear effortless and seamless.
As human beings, we form our first impressions within seconds, and as we spend 1/3 of our lifetime at work, the importance of a seamless front of house environment can be vital to the success of your workplace. The more efficient the experience, the more the customer journey will shine. Charlotte Bradley, Partner Manager, and Sunita Pachova, Business Development Manager, spoke to us and explained the importance of a talented and experienced front of house team:
Self-service front of house?
Research shows customers like to be able to source answers with a mixture of self-service options – what can front of house teams do to accommodate this trend?
Charlotte Bradley: Omni channel is traditionally a retail solution, but these elements can also be incorporated into front of house and the customer experience. Implementing different touch points for visitors to utilise within your front of house area – think joint reception teams, tablets, mobile check in, kiosks, augmented reality, floor plans to help with self-check-in. In some cases, I’ve even seen security teams being incorporated into these functions. All of these channels can help facilitate this trend.
Front of house challenges?
What challenges do you see front of house teams facing in our current business climate?
Sunita Pachova: GDPR has had a major impact on front of house teams, especially those which use digital sign-on technology, which stores individual client preferences. This can also have a knock-on affect with the customer experience; if you are required to register or log in with every visit, your specific preferences can be excluded. I can also see this impacting future technologies such as facial recognition.
Charlotte Bradley: Data is always a big issue. Front of house technologies are only as good as the data supplied, and if end users and visitors don’t provide information, this affects the data preferences stored, reporting, usage and utilisation statistics.
Technology and the customer experience
What technologies do you see enhancing the customer experience in the future?
Sunita Pachova: Technology will allow businesses to tailor the visitor management experience for individual clients. Their journey to your business will begin before they even enter the building, car parking spaces will be allocated, QR codes will be allocated for self-service check in tools. This will represent the brand, and give your visitors a tailored experience.
Setting the scene
Front of house can almost dictate the customer experience whether that is a meeting, conference or seminar. How does a business set the right tone for a customer experience?
Sunita Pachova: To help create the tone for the customer experience, businesses must map out each visitor touch points, including when your customer arrives, allocated car parking, automated registration, access to the building and greeting the client. Plan the roadmap for your customer experience, thinking about the journey from beginning to end, your customers and their diversity.
Charlotte Bradley: The key to dictating the right tone is down to engagement with people – we need to remember technology isn’t there to replace the customer experience, it’s there to enhance it. Human engagement with professional and friendly teams is key, because nothing is better than being greet by a friendly face.
The mobile experience
By 2018, mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search. It’s no longer the question whether a mobile experience is important or not, but how can front of house teams incorporate mobile into their strategy?
Sunita Pachova: We shouldn’t forget that employees are also a visitor to your building, and to assist in retaining great talent your customer journey should also incorporate them, so using mobile apps can enhance the workplace experience. Businesses are already incorporating fully branded colleague apps, which encompass a variety of tools: visitor management, room booking, conferencing, find a colleague, one stop shop, notifications, updates and collaborating.
AI and holographic front of house?
With predictions of AI and holograms being part of the customer experience in the future, are we forgetting the human interaction?
Sunita Pachova: A small selection of my clients have already invested in holograms. It’s an amazing technology, and with a few simple designed questions, this technology can assist front of house. Of course, we are not yet able to have a conversation as we aren’t quite at this stage of development. User adoption will soon start to rise as the systems become smarter.
Charlotte Bradley: AI and holograms will be able to assist front of house teams and bring a new dimension to the visitor experience. Utilising self-guiding and self-check in tools to aid the customer experience will take your business into the next generation.
Engaging customer journey
What has been the most engaging and seamless customer journey you have experienced recently?
Sunita Pachova: I recently visited a customer and before my journey began, I received a QR code. This code gave me access to the building, front of house immediately knew who I was, I was escorted to the lift and sent to the correct floor. It was an amazing customer experience, the front of house team didn’t miss a beat, and I left my meeting feeling highly impressed with the smart technology and seamless experience.
Charlotte Bradley: The most outstanding customer experience for me is Thomson Reuters, they without a doubt have finely honed the practice. During the planning and implementation, each customer was given a persona, and had their journey mapped out. The building is modern and open, people are happy, and the positive environment is intoxicating.
What advice can you offer?
What advice can you offer business stakeholders when they’re considering a new customer experience?
Sunita Pachova: It’s vital to make the experience a positive memorable journey with a professional, friendly, and efficient front of house team. Having the right people to represent the brand from before you even enter the building to the moment you leave. It’s so important to always deliver a consistent customer experience, so that your visitors and customers will come to trust and respect your brand. Technology can assist with your front of house efficiency, it’s the simple touches which leave a lasting impression, and if you can get those right, your customers will trust you with other purchases.
Charlotte Bradley: Communication is key, not only with your customers but with your workforce as well. I would encourage anyone wanting to implement a front of house policy and technology to involve your front of house teams, understand and investigate their wants, needs and requirements. They are at the forefront of the customer and will be able to guide business decisions and technology choices, such as tablets, self-check-in, holograms etc.