Getting customers is hard.
But keeping customers can be even harder.
Regardless of what type of business you run, you know that attracting customers can be expensive. They can also go as fast as they came—unless you provide them a positive experience.
From restaurants to law firms to dentists’ offices, you want to control the customer experience as much as you can so that your patrons will derive as much satisfaction as possible. You want them to appreciate the value that you provide and to share their positive experience with others, so that you incrementally decrease your customer acquisition cost.
Art can help you turn prospects and customers into recurring customers based on the feelings they experience while visiting your business. You can also make employees happier and more productive through choosing the right artwork.
Art can help you attract and retain customers by making their visits more pleasant. In fact, your artwork can set you apart by magnifying your customers’ positive emotions and experiences.
If you are a physician and your patient has to wait 15 to 20 minutes to be seen, they could get frustrated by fixating on whether they were correct in choosing you, and then go to another doctor next time instead. But if they are surrounded by pleasing artwork they could be more comfortable and happy. This would make them more likely to return, thus increasing your lifetime value of customer.
Perhaps in no other setting is controlling the customer experience by providing the proper surroundings more important than in healthcare, where you cannot always control the outcome in what could be life and death situations.
When pressure runs high and emotions flow freely, a soothing atmosphere can help patients—and in some cases their loved ones—feel better. At St. Vincent’s Medical Center (SVMC) Southside, artwork gives parents and visitors hope amidst challenging circumstances, such as life-threatening conditions or diagnoses of children with special needs. The NICU is festooned with comforting abstract images and endearing photographs of infants.
Here are five elements in creating a welcoming atmosphere and positive experience for any business, but particularly in healthcare.
1) Organizational Mission
Choose artwork that shows who you are and what you do. Tailor your artwork to the tastes of your target demographic and to your purpose in helping those customers.
If you’re a dentist, your office should look more whimsical if your patients are children than if they were senior citizens. This will give children a way to enjoy the visit, even if they don’t relish their time in the patient’s chair.
Build loyalty among your customers by incorporating your vision and mission into aesthetic elements, so that customers can engage more deeply with your brand.
2) Project’s Purpose
What do you want your customers to think about during their visit? How do you want them to feel?
Use imagery to provoke the desired effect. For example, if you run a spa, opt for subtle, relaxing colors rather than agitating hues like bright purple and orange.
Evidence-based design illustrates that you can elicit certain emotions and reactions through the colors you choose and the focal points you provide. Condition your patients to calm by surrounding them with soothing colors and repetitive visual patterns and you will start slowing their heart rates and elevating their experiences.
3) Resources Available
Get the maximum return on your investment by calculating how much you can spend and then prioritizing artwork based on the areas where your customers’ will spend most of their time.
Invest the largest portion of your budget in your lobby or waiting room. This is where customers will form their first impressions and affirm whether they were right to choose you.
Stretch your budget by taking advantage of advances in technology and printing services that allow you to inexpensively purchase complicated artwork. You can often get more for your budget than you anticipated.
4) Cultural Climate
Enhance your organization’s culture by promoting it through artwork. Establish a sense of place and a sense of purpose by accentuating the values you hold dear.
Johnson & Johnson is renowned for its passion for its credo. Wherever one of the company’s offices may be in the world, you will find the same credo, but it will be displayed in a fashion befitting that particular location. This allows each office to identify as its own family unit as well as part of a larger conglomerate.
Your culture is an asset. Unleash its value by representing it visually.
5) Employee Engagement
Employees want to feel valued. Artwork can be the ideal conduit for affirming your appreciation.
Incorporate your employees in pictures, or even murals and graphics. Show them that they belong to a team that is pursuing the same purpose.
You can also stimulate productivity by hanging motivational images and sayings on the walls. Establish your expectations and reward employees’ efforts.
The right artwork will make your employees happy and productive—and your customers will be pleased that they chose you. Keep them coming back and they may bring you more customers as well.
Heather Anne Sams is owner and president of HAS Art Solutions, a Jacksonville-based art procurement firm that specializes in working with businesses and organizations in healthcare, assisted living, corporate headquarters, hospitality and multi-family real estate. Able to accommodate any budget, HAS Art Solutions provides original works of art in various mediums, as well as open and limited-edition works.