It goes by many names—foyer, reception, narthex, anteroom, or even front porch. It might be used for waiting; but is always used for transition. In an earlier time, foyers provided a type of airlock that separated a cold front entrance from a fire-place heated living room. In foyers we might hear phrases like, “May I take your coat?” or “Put your umbrella there?” or simply, “Welcome, make yourself at home.”
Customers sometimes need foyers—transitions from arrival to service. It could be the home page of a website, the parking lot of a restaurant, the greeter at a department store, or the bus that takes theme park guests from the ticket booth to the attractions. Foyers provide customers help in getting into the proper mood. Foyers telegraph hosting and a willingness to help. And, they provide tools of comfort—program, map, directions, shopping cart–at the moment customers might be most apprehensive about a new service experience.
Great service providers pay close attention to their service foyer. They not only consider the customer’s perspective and perception, they decorate their foyer in a fashion that fits their distinctive, signature service experience. Look at the entrance of a Bass ProShop or Cabelas? Consider the welcoming home page of Zappos.com, Godiva.com or loungelizard.com? Recall arriving at church, at a party, or an old-fashioned small town market. How can you create a special foyer to help your customers with service transitions?