perception is reality

I’m sure we all realize that perception affects how we experience reality.  As in so many things, this is quite true when it comes to elevators. In today’s installment, I would like to speak mostly to elevator owners and not necessarily the riding public.

First Impressions

The first thing the public sees when entering the lobby is the elevator door, the entrance, and the hall call stations. Now, imagine the elevator paint is old and chipped while the bottom of the door is rusted, and the stainless steel is scratched and vandalized. The passenger now has an immediate negative perception of this elevator even though these cosmetic problems have no effect on the quality of the elevator’s operation.  Nevertheless, it will take quite a lot for this perception to change on the inside.

Amplified Fears and Assumptions

In my opinion, formed over four decades in the trade, the worst initial experience is walking into a dark elevator cab. Suddenly, your fears of getting stuck are amplified. Imagine further that the interior walls are shoddy, the buttons don’t light up and the floor indicator may or may not work. At this point, no matter the quality of the ride and the smoothness of its operation unit runs, the passenger will assume the unit is outdated and runs poorly.  This would be a bad thing indeed given your substantial investment.

Different Perspectives

This picture is all the riding public sees as they are thankfully not exposed to the actual equipment. A passenger is likely thinking, “this is a worn-out piece of junk that I don’t want to ride.” They may even draw negative perceptions of the building as a whole from the cosmetics of the elevator.

Now, we as elevator professionals and perhaps yourself as an Owner know that the appearance of an elevator is not always a true indication of its operational quality.  Perhaps this knowledge has retarded innovation in terms of interior upgrades for many years.  However, the industry has thankfully come to recognize the importance of interior upgrades.  As a result, quick and economical solutions exist to substantially improve the customer’s riding experience.

Modernization is a Must

Owners can spend thousands of dollars on new controls, advanced software, and updated wiring. Their new elevator could have all the latest technology and safety features.  However, if the elevator interior appears old and outdated, your investment will not be appreciated by your tenants.  Moreover, scratched or damaged finishes and fixtures tend to attract rougher treatment and even sometimes, vandalism.  My point is that while upgraded equipment will enhance the actual ride but the interior will likely have more influence on the passenger’s experience.  For that matter, they may even how people treat the elevators.

Invest in the Customer Experience

Money spent on new technology is money well spent! When you look at your elevator consider how the public will see it. At the same time, you might want to invest in its quality and appearance. After all, a visitor’s experience in your elevator may influence their entire experience in the building.  Let’s make it a good one!


Authored by Keith Gaut – Field Supervisor and Safety Manager for Bagby Elevator Company 

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