“Good Morning, welcome to… How can I help you?"
"Sure thing. Take a seat, help yourself to some coffee and Jane will be out shortly.”
We've all had both positive and negative experiences when visiting clients, but how much notice do you pay to your front of house? Do you know what level of service is happening daily?
The Importance of First Impressions
The reception area makes your business’ first impression on customers and clients alike, both over the phone and face to face. It really does not matter whether you run a one-person organisation or a large corporate, if people are invited into your premises they will be left with an impression of some kind. The standard of your reception area is key to this.
I’m reminded of a recent trip to a favourite local restaurant on a busy mid-week night. On arrival the owner welcomes us like good friends, greeting everyone in the same way. The owner is passionate about the food and the service creates an atmosphere of warmth and a sense of pride in his product. You leave with a feeling that, not only was the food fabulous, but the experience will bring you back.
The Fruits of Front Office
A company’s reception area needs to reflect that same passion. This is the first touch point your visitors will see and feel. The brand and personality of the business need to greet you as the lift doors open. What importance do you place on the person who sits at your reception; meeting and greeting your clients and customers? What experience do your clients and customers take away after walking in the door? Will it bring them back?
Your customers aren’t the only people you need to impress either; your front office is also the first point of reference for any candidate coming in. When someone comes in for an interview, one of the first things they do is try to picture themselves working there. If your reception area is not operating at the level it should be, whether that’s because of poor décor or unhelpful staff, potential employees are going to be put off.
We are in a digital age where social media is the buzzword, but you cannot take away the personal touch. These days, your brand will be represented in many ways, from digital right through to the people on the phones and the person who greets them at the door. Each area is equally important, so the reception area and telephone contacts are vital ambassadors for your brand.
As you can see in the video below, no matter how much of a “star” your receptionist is, it’s not an easy job! (Warning: a little NSFW language!)
As your guests sit and wait, they are building an impression. If they feel uncomfortable, or the environment is disorganised, or they feel they’ve been received with a lack of warmth, they may conclude that this is indicative of how you do business.
A great front office team is an extension of your brand that a visitor can immediately interact with the moment they walk in the door. When functioning properly, it will strengthen your business by improving your level of communication with customers and clients, and enhancing their affinity with your brand.
Reflecting on Reception
As business owners and managers we need to reflect on our reception areas. Do we place the same importance on them as the restaurant owner does, where he places himself at the front line to take both the positive and the negative? Are we getting the same level of insight into what is happening every day in our business as the restaurateur does?
Is your front office team really an extension of your business’ brand? Are they given opportunities to make suggestions or give feedback to the experience they have as they sit in this role? Consider the number of receptionists who are temps. How many times have you spoken to a receptionist, only to hear the words “Sorry, I’m only a temp.”? Are we giving effective training and feedback to the people we employ in these very important ambassadorial roles?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself to make sure your front office is functioning to its potential.
Even in a digital age, the face-to-face experience will always be important. In this world of heated competition between businesses, you need to make your reception area the very best it can be. If you would like to know more about training your staff or hiring great people in this area, get in touch with us here at Beyond Recruitment.