Clients who come into a law office generally aren't in the best of moods. Either they've just been sued -- in which case, they're stressed out -- or they're contemplating suing someone, which means something stressful has just happened to them.
This means that to best support your clients, your office should set a somber, relaxing tone that's free of the stress that you might normally find in an office. Here are some tips on how you can set the mood.
A little smooth jazz
OK, maybe not smooth jazz. And maybe not elevator music; you don't want your staff to go crazy. But at least in the client-facing part of the office, try to pipe in some pleasant, calming music. It doesn't have to be Enya, but it can be.
A study published in the journal PLOS revealed that subjects who listened to music before a stressful task recovered from that stress faster than subjects who listened to no music. But we've known for a long time that music calms people down.
Yes, even plants can reduce stress. We're not sure why -- whether it's the additional oxygen, the novelty of a plant, or some innate affinity for plants -- but putting people near plants really does reduce their anxiety.
You know what that means: Go find some nice potted plants and put them in your waiting area. Or in your conference room. Heck, put them all over the place. It's a non-intrusive thing that both your staff and your clients can benefit from.
In "Men in Black," when Will Smith first comes to test for the job, he's put in a room with awkward, egg-shaped chairs. Don't skimp on the furniture just because you want to save a buck. Ask anyone who's gone to the DMV: Sitting on an uncomfortable chair, in a place where you already don't want to be, doesn't make the experience any better. You don't have to invest in luxury, but at least make sure any chairs your clients sit in are comfortable.
A good paint job
As we've told you before when it comes to branding, people respond to colors. But they respond to it in their environment as well as in signage. Obviously, you wouldn't paint your waiting room or your conference rooms red (which increase stress). But what if you want to reduce stress? Then stay away from neutral colors like white -- it's OK, but not great. The blue family is the best at calming people down, and it doesn't have to be a fierce royal blue. Something muted will do nicely.
It's a token, but it's appreciated. Having a little snack available puts people at ease, lets them know you're friendly, and hey, everyone appreciates a soda, a cup of coffee, or a fun-size bag of pretzels.
Feel better? We do. Maybe your clients will too.