If no one was available to tour guests/visitors in your building and visitors walked around what would your building say? Think of your building like an art gallery. There is a logical flow. It should be interesting. There is easy to read directional signage. The exhibits or kiosks or plasma screens are labeled and tell a story about the company operation. Where are the gaps? What can be improved?
This is just the beginning. If your operation is a university, community college, vocational or technical school here are suggestions for the next steps.
If you have an internal admissions sales team, what are they saying when they are touring prospective students? Yes, the colleague has a script but what is each person really saying? As a new President at each school I lead, I met with the Admissions Director and explained what I wanted to have each Admissions representative take me on a tour. The goal was to add value to me personally and the operation. I requested we partner together on this. My Directors of Admissions were always great and agreed. This was true even for the remote locations and the Directors at those locations.
I would set up an appointment with each Admissions salesperson/advisor and have them take me on tour. While it caused initial anxiety, they soon learned I wanted to learn from them. I wanted to know what they thought was important and highlighted. I got to know them in a totally different way. I asked questions about programs, resources, support services, scholarships, career services, libraries, clubs, etc. Each person added so much to my knowledge base. After the tour, I recorded special things I learned from each person.
Next, I asked each department director to tour me and explain their program, area, equipment, and resources as well as concerns. I asked them questions related to Admissions on what they wanted to be highlighted. Not to my surprise the department directors and faculty encouraged the Admissions representatives to stop by with prospective students and talk. They wanted to be asked questions about the field, jobs, classes, and equipment during their office hours. They wanted a true partnership. I then recorded what they said.
The next step was visiting with each manager accountable for support services. I asked them to teach me about their department. I was in the role of student and they were the teacher. I learned so much.
Finally, I took all my notes and worked with the Director of Admissions. We created a written tour guide. We outlined the order of the tour and what we wanted to be highlighted. We then held a joint meeting. I thanked everyone for their generous contribution to me and the organization. Then the Director of Admissions took over and trained her team. The team reviewed the document first. Then the Director of Admissions took the entire team on a tour and listened to expertise and expectations going forward. The consistency was incredible and gave us a great new tool for training new hires. The Directors at the remote locations did the same thing after I visited the locations. I can assure you the personal benefit to me was incredible. After many, many tours, I felt like I knew that building inside and out.