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Thoughtful signage literally helps customers get in the door, keeps them comfortable during their visit, and helps bring them back!
Using signs to announce the presence of a place of business is almost as old as business itself. After all, what good is a business if no one can fi nd it? From “hanging out one’s shingle” to erecting lighted signs standing hundreds of feet in the air to digital billboards, we recognize the value and impact of signage to inform and persuade. In fact, in this day and age, we’ve gotten so used to signage helping us fi nd businesses (and myriad other places and things), we quickly lament when we’re left directionless with inadequate signage.
Here’s a helpful exercise: Have a friend take you for a drive in your area. Note how many signs are dedicated to providing directional information. Note the size, frequency, placement and wording. Now cruise through your town or a nearby city and notice how many signs are dedicated to providing information on a business. Take special note of the signs used to identify a place of business. Can you quickly and easily identify the business and what it does? Is it clear where you would park and enter? Ever walked into a facility or store and found it wasn’t really clear where to go?
These are just a few items you should evaluate on a regular basis to make sure your signs are serving your customers.
1. Look At Your Facility Signage Through The Customer’s Eyes.
- Go inside the front door and take stock of the first things a customer sees.
- Is it clear where to go to take care of whatever business he or she is there for?
- If getting to different areas of the facility requires directions and signage, is it equally clear how to get back to the front door?
- What do your customers see on their way out the front doors?
2. Make Sure Key Areas Are Clearly Identified.
- Even if the customer immediately sees a desk and a friendly staff member behind it, is it clear it is the reception area?
- Even if a staff member points a customer in the right direction or even walks a customer to the appropriate area of the facility, is it clear what the area is?
- Could a customer find his or her way around on the chance the reception area isn’t staffed and no one is immediately available to help?
3. Use A Tasteful Variety Of Functional Signs.
- As you walk through your facility, consider what customers see and how they take in information.
- Is there any incorrect or out of date sign info or a sign starting to show significant signs of age?
- Is there a TV/monitor presenting updated information or a news channel?
4. Tie Your Signage To Your Brand.
- If you put all the signs present in your facility into a single collage, would it be clear they’re all serving the same business?
- Do you have static placards denoting the static places or locations in your facility?
- Are temporary signs truly temporary? What signs need to be upgraded or replaced?
Finally, evaluating and improving signage should be an on-going process. So plan on conducting a signage “audit” on an annual basis and learning more about how your customers not only find your business but also how they get around once they’re in your business. It’ll be time well spent, a worthy investment, and it will communicate a higher level of care for your customers.