So, we have new clients coming to the studio today. My studio happens to be in my home so that makes it a little more personal, but also challenging to keep professional. We live here after all. It’s not always picture perfect!
Every day is busy, and I really don’t have time to clean my entire house from top to bottom. Can you relate? First impressions are important, but it’s certainly a little late now to hire an Alice to make it Brady perfect. And oh, yeah…the Bradys and their loyal Alice are fictional. For those of us who have studios in the home, and real families, keeping everything beautiful is an honest act of daily work.
Also since we aren’t in an office setting, we don’t have a receptionist to greet our clients. Very often, we are with another student when new students arrive for the first time. How do we help these new students navigate arriving at the studio?
Here are the five strategic areas at your location that must be ready for first impressions and ongoing client comfort:
- Parking: Before your students come, make sure to have given them clear verbal or written directions on where to park, and if they should knock or come right in.
- Entry Way: Have a welcome mat, and seasonal flowers by the front entry. If you are able to have a studio sign out front at your location, that’s a bonus!
- Waiting Area: Have a waiting area with a nice sofa and some pretty pillows- a coffee table with a magazine. Strategically set up any brochures or fliers of upcoming events. Run a dust cloth over the surfaces
- Front bathroom: Make sure that it is clean and picked up. If this bathroom is used by your family- double check. They don’t have a visitors eye. Make sure there is ample soap & toilet paper- you can’t resupply while you are teaching!
- In the Studio: Have a cute little sign outside the studio door about upcoming events. Have a sofa with pillows for parents inside the studio who might want to sit in and listen. Have a little cabinet of quiet building toys for younger waiting siblings that may have come along for the ride. Have your registration papers ready, and your studio picked up. Dust the surfaces and quickly vacuum before teaching if needed.
Keeping the studio itself picked-up has been the greatest challenge for me. I teach a variety of students, piano and singers of all different levels and different music. By the middle of each week, my grand piano is stacked with music books. It becomes my desk of sorts. During peak registration periods I may have ran out of printed registration materials. With all the students coming and going, I may need to vacuum and sweep more frequently than I really want or have time to.
I always need to double-check everything as I live here, and can quickly get used to things out of place. I am a creative messy, and so I can handle my little music piles. However, I have to remind myself that my clients may not be creatives at all, and have less tolerance for clutter of any kind. For their comfort, I need to do my best to be a little neater.
If this is an area of struggle for you also, solicit your family for help. If they contribute to things out of place, then they also need to help maintain the environment. The studio belongs to all of us. Everyone that has lived in my house has been a musician, had an artistic bent, and a creative messy nature. (I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.) It’s just how we are wired here, so we really have to try doubly hard for our guests.
I wish I could say that I always have these things in place, but I really do the best I can! Some seasons of life have been easier than others to make it happen, so that is why I try to keep it simple.
One other thing: Put your pets in the backyard. Not everyone loves your animals. Some people are allergic! Stay on your other family members to not have the pets out during studio hours. This has been an ongoing challenge for our family. Sometimes our two dogs have found their way to greeting our guests, and it’s just not preferable for a myriad of reasons.
Maintaining these five essential areas goes beyond first impression, it creates a lovely environment for your students to enjoy every week. They deserve it, and so do you!
Let’s dish…what do you do to make a great first impression? I’d love to hear your strategies!