In this part of the School Branding series, I wanted to share what I think needs to be near the top of the list of what needs to be a focus for school administrators – the lobby experience.
How “WOW” is your school’s lobby experience?
In Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform, he describes what is a common expectation for a lobby experience:
The lobby is clean and neat. The receptionist is friendly. We’re asked to sign in and get a visitors badge, then wait about 5 to 10 minutes before being allowed to enter the campus.
These are some of what we identify as “common expectations.” If our lobby experience is like this, we’re not surprised.
What I’ve seen, however, in too many of the schools that I’ve visited are lobbies that fall below what we consider “common expectations.”
I’ve seen where receptionists don’t even acknowledge my presence until I say, “excuse me.”
Other times, I don’t even get a smile from the person behind the desk, much less a “hello.”
Michael Hyatt encourages business owners to create a “wow experience” for customers. We, as school administrators, can learn a lot from this.
What kind of experience do visitors get when they walk through your lobby doors?
Meets common expectations?
Falls below common expectations?
Exceeds common expectations?
Michael Hyatt encourages companies who want to gain loyal customers to create a lobby experience that exceeds common expectations.
I think it’s something that school administrators need to work toward accomplishing as well.
What does a “Wow” lobby experience look like?
Besides, the common expectations, here are some ideas:
1. Posters and announcements are neatly displayed, not taped up haphazardly.
2. Soft music playing in the background
3. The receptionist stands to greet visitors.
4. There is reading material that is current, unless you have some old yearbooks, which might be kind of cool.
5. The lobby is decorated with photos of current school activities, smiling students, student and/or teacher of the month winners, sample student projects.
6. Refer to visitors as “guests.”
7. Smiling faces. The people who you choose to greet your “guests” are crucial to how your school is perceived. A rude receptionist can destroy all your hard work. Michael Hyatt suggests giving your receptionist the title of “Director of First Impressions.” That’s a great idea.
I would suggest doing what I did recently. I walked into the lobby of my school, and looked around. I listened to how our receptionist, Christine, spoke to the parents, and I was very impressed. I was proud of how she was pleasant, stood to greet them, helpful, and she never lost her smile. I even nominated her for our Hero of the Week award.
Although there were a few changes to the lobby that I would make, I was very pleased with what I saw.
How is your school’s lobby experience? Does it meet common expectations or does it exceed expectations?
I believe it’s important for you to find out. First impressions are so crucial to building your brand.
Until next time, here’s to your journey toward School Administration Mastery!