There’s a reason receptionists are considered the most important people in any business. As the face of your company and brand, their actions guide your reputation. The importance of receptionists is felt at every tier of your business, from your brand identity to your service excellence. They’re the first person your clients ever deal with, so they act as the face of your enterprise. First impressions are every company’s driving force, and they’re influential enough to remain long after your clients have walked out of your front door. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding with the passage of time. Fifty-Four percent say their service expectations have risen in the last year, but 81% of them feel their expectations weren’t met during their last interaction with a business.
Reasons to Hire an Office Receptionist
The impact of a good receptionist to a business can mean the difference between success and bankruptcy. This is the person who answers your emails, supervises your front desk, and welcomes your clients. Their warmth and efficiency have direct impacts on your customer retention.
Still, there is no single way to define the role. Receptionists in a medical practice take on a therapeutic role that Silicone Valley doesn’t need. Digital companies rely on receptionists who understand their products almost as well as their sales staff do, while those who man the front desk of resort hotels must understand service excellence from every angle. In other words, you define your receptionist’s role. The experience economy has brought many new aspects to reception work, including:
- Screening and forwarding phone calls.
- Monitoring security by creating a barrier to access.
- Improving response speeds to enquiries by delegating or servicing requests.
- Reflecting your corporate identity.
- Following up on customer needs so that nothing slips through the cracks.
- Offering compassionate care to patients in hospital and doctors’ offices
- Administration, including mail sorting, document maintenance, and data entry.
The Impact of an Exceptional Office Receptionist
Cultivating a good office receptionist demands careful training around your brand identity. That’s why business titans treat their receptionists’ desks a little differently than the average company. Ritz Carlton puts theirs through a tough three-week training period before they ever work their first full day. Google uses a stringent peer to peer method, and Apple’s rigorous training manual has reinvented onboarding entirely. The world’s most successful businesses treasure and develop their receptionists for one excellent reason: The front desk is where the profits start rolling in. The impacts of a great receptionist include:
Improved customer care
Receptionists make your customers feel valued while ensuring that they’re properly taken care of. Their central position in your business allows them to prevent service failures and the lost loyalty they churn up, but their influence also has an abstract side. Their professionalism and efficiency communicates your brand identity to all who visit your company. Strong brands earn both recognition and loyalty. People want to associate with businesses they admire, and it’s your front desk staff who earn that admiration.
Better problem solving
A great receptionist is a resourceful receptionist. They must solve problems throughout the day, delegating complaints and pointing clients to the appropriate channels. They handle tricky calls, keep schedules on track, and make sure your front desk functions smoothly. In-between, they juggle paperwork and data entry. Think of them as your brand’s Jack of all Trades. Most of your employee roles cover niche services, and someone needs to take a more general approach to your company. That’s your receptionist’s job. A perfect receptionist doesn’t wait for instructions. They are, at heart, the managers of your front desk, and leaders don’t wait for instructions. They spot and fix problems before you even walk into the office for the day.
A clearer brand identity
There is one indefinable quality that every receptionist must have: the personality to reflect your brand faithfully. Brand identities vary enormously from business to business, so there’s no single receptionist that can offer their utmost best to every company. You need to sift through the crowds if you’re to find that one consummate professional who embodies all that your business stands for. Then stiff training must follow so that your corporate identity is woven through everything your receptionist ever does. Arriving at perfection is no easy task, but the work is well worth the results.
An organised office
Receptionists have strong administrative skills, and their organization talents will keep your office work ticking by beautifully. They’re fantastic communicators who are eerily diplomatic in the toughest customer service situations. Ringing phones and multiple email requests don’t fluster a gifted receptionist. They can multitask with the best of them.
Receptionists handle tricky calls, tough customers, and employees throughout their workday. They keep schedules on track and cure communication bottlenecks throughout your company. A gifted receptionist is a gifted listener who can convey information well.
Common Qualities of a Good Receptionist
The best PA recruitment agency will hunt for the receptionist that has all the right skills for the role. The world’s finest receptionists are willing to get to know your business intimately so that they can serve your customers and clients from a place of knowledge. A profit-centred receptionist will always approach their role from a place of excellence, but that’s a skill that can be taught. It needn’t exist at the first interview.
Qualities that Support Your Business Administration
Much of the work your receptionist performs from day to day entails administrative assistance. That work demands a certain comfort with technology. Every receptionist needs to excel at verbal and written communication, but organizational skills are even more important. Your star candidate will think strategically and have the resourcefulness to solve the toughest problems. They shouldn’t merely fulfil needs, but anticipate them as well. Technical talents count, too, of course. No receptionist can cope without a thorough grasp of Microsoft Office, customer relationship management software, and virtual help desks.
Once you’ve looked at generic talents, you’ll need to assess the skills that fit your business uniquely. Does your doctor’s receptionist have a fair grasp of patient needs? Does your IT company’s front desk operator have enough technical skills to serve your customers? Ultimately, your receptionist must fit your unique needs or have enough skill to take well to training.
Receptionists are the face of every company, but they’re far more than just service providers. They’re the ones who keep your office functioning smoothly, and that demands leadership potential.