Your mother always told you that the first impression is the most important. I hate to break it to you, but she was right. That’s why so many small business owners spend time meticulously furnishing their lobbies, hiring landscapers to create beautifully manicured lawns, and scouring specialty stores for warm, welcoming focal points that adorn the beautifully appointed reception area. The only detail overlooked, most often, is the person sitting behind the desk.
The receptionist is typically the first human interaction your clients, prospects, partners and guests receive when they come to your office. Are you putting as much effort into training this employee as you did into selecting, outfitting and grooming your office space? I’ve seen receptionists in beautiful offices who wouldn’t give me the time of day, and I’ve seen receptionists in offices that are more functional than fashionable, who stop everything they are doing to greet me. That first impression is a vital one – and many times, it sets the tone for the entire visit. In fact, I’ve seen a well trained receptionist diffuse multiple situations when confronted with irate clients or vendors simply by listening and offering the right response.
It’s important to take time to train your receptionist; make sure they know exactly what is expected of them from procedures to office professionalism. Better yet, help them to understand how they fit into your company and why the role they play is so important. It might even help to give new receptionists a script to follow for various scenarios. Make sure they know your product/industry, so that questions by visitors can be accurately fielded. Empower them with the responsibility of their role, and let them rise to the challenge – make sure they know that they are not just a body in a seat to direct office traffic, but instead, a brand ambassador for the company and a key player in the way the company does business.
How have you groomed your receptionist to be an ambassador for your brand?