There’s an old adage: the simple things in life are free. For real estate owners, the resources that offer a dramatic impact on the life of your tenants are already on your P&L. The front door receptionists, a requested—if not demanded—security feature heightened after 9/11, offer the ideal scenario to impact your customer (aka the office workers) without a substantial investment. And the reward is easy to measure: more tenants and higher demand.
When marketers mention customer service, visions of rows and rows of customer service agents sitting in cubicles in a distant land dance in our imagination. Customer service should start at the front door. This is already an established practice we are comfortable with, it is not invasive, and puts a positive spin on a tedious task: going to/from work. The impact is powerful.
People remember good experiences. Good experiences lead to word of mouth referrals, one of—if not the most—effective form of marketing. Word of mouth marketing, according to McKinsey & Co., affects 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions; Nielsen found 92% of consumers will act upon recommendations from friends and family over any other form of advertising. And it is not solely for product sales; business services offer a similar statistic. When was the last time you shared you had a good or great experience entering/leaving from your office or a meeting?
How does one implement and measure success? The answer is straightforward: measure first and incentivize second. We are now conditioned to being surveyed after we finish a meal or visit a restroom, when our opinion is fresh. Before we pass through the turnstile or enter the elevators, offer a survey tool.
The happy or sad face white survey box, frequently seen at airports, offers a simple yet effective way to quickly measure customer engagement. It is inconspicuous and can be moved around to survey at multiple entrances. Depending on the results one can incentivize the front door staff to improve or continue their positive interaction. Free food and coffee, for example, is a cost-efficient way to offer an incentive, and everyone likes free food.
It may appear to be a simple step. But for all the gloss of a physical entrance or exit, people remember the good interactions. Happy customers talk, as the data shows. Today the simplest advantage in attracting new tenants could be as simple as the first few steps inside.
Joshua Rockoff is an adjunct professor of marketing at NYU School of Professional Studies.