Why the receptionist is one of the most important people in a business

For many businesses, a receptionist is almost always the first point of contact any incoming caller has with a company. Ultimately, a receptionist is a ‘gatekeeper’; managing first impressions and responsible for shaping interactions and perceptions.

A receptionist is vital to the smooth operation of any company, despite many people viewing their role as minor. Not only do they act as an ambassador, but they set appointments, screen phone calls and direct client traffic throughout the working day.

A friendly, warm and knowledgeable person answering the phone sets the tone of your business – your customers’ experience starts with the person on the other end of the phone. Training is very important; even small businesses should invest in training efforts for their receptionists.

Some businesses believe that receptionists can be replaced with automated, ‘dial by extension’ attendants. Yet it is a known fact that people like a personal, human touch; professional rapport cannot be achieved with an automated receptionist.

Having a poorly-trained receptionist is a mistake, but having no receptionist can be just as bad, if not worse. It is crucial that someone is always there during the working day to answer calls immediately; missing calls not only reflects badly on your business, but you are potentially losing a customer and, in turn, losing revenue. Even if you have your phone line set to go to answer machine, this may still inadvertently affect your customer’s trust and perception – they are likely to dial your competitor’s number if they cannot get through to you.

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