During our interaction @cajobportal with companies either through a F2F meeting or a telecon, often our first POC is the receptionist.
Yesterday, I called up a leading organic foods company based out of Mumbai. The warmth she exuded through her voice and initiative that she took to help me connect with the right person in the Talent Acquisition team. If it was ‘business as usual’ for her, even when I was a nondescript vendor for me, it was a reason to feel exhilarated.
Contrast this with the experience when you run into receptionists who talk with noses in the air, who come across as moody and bitter The haughtiness at the level of ‘first impressions’ leaves a bad taste in the mouth
When clients enter your business for the first time, the person to greet them when they enter the office is not typically the CEO or sales manager. It is the receptionist.
Thus, a receptionist is the “the face of a company”
First impressions are a driving force in business and therefore your receptionist is extremely influential, as their appearance, manners, knowledge and helpfulness reflect on the entire company.
These are the gatekeepers, the client greeters and situation diffusers and they leave a lasting impression as each person walks in and out of the company’s door.
Employees see the receptionist the first in the day as they walk in and the last in the evening as they walk out of office. In lots of ways, this person can enhance someone’s day at work just by being genuinely cheerful.
An amazing receptionist can be a clever marketing opportunity. The job should be expanded to include building relationships with guests, promoting the organization’s accomplishments, and making people feel special by offering a charging point, a newspaper/magazine and/or tea/coffee.
Thus, it would be apt to view the role of a receptionist as the ‘Chief of First Impressions’. Not that a designation perse helps, but it can do a long way in raising someone’s self-esteem.
No wonder, this role is so important that countries like USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been celebrating 10th May as the ‘National Receptionists Day’. It’s a day when they celebrate the role and the tremendous value they can add to a company.
The challenge is, how does the person manning the front desk handle multiple activities with ease, poise and professionalism? How can they efficiently handle situations when several telephone lines are ringing, coworkers are asking questions, and customers are waiting for their attention?
Maybe, you can give him/her sales training so as to make a difference in the customer experience.
To develop empathy in anyone who feels a receptionist as ‘just’ a receptionist, you must help them manage the front desk so as to know exactly the role entails each day.
Maybe, once in a while, bring in a basket of healthy fruits for him/her or just bring them a card. Or just say thank you for all they do, you know they don’t hear it often enough!
When Betty Williams won the Nobel in 1976 for her accomplishments in Northern Ireland, she was working as a receptionist at the same time. Proving well and truly that the profession doesn’t deserve the pejorative “just” before it.
They ARE the receptionists, not “just” the receptionists. And they can and do make a difference.
Do give them the confidence, respect and the mandate to create that fantastic first impression 🙂