For all the clients that phone and call on your business, your receptionist will be their first point of contact. How your receptionist attends to these customers’ needs and handles herself will be what determines how these prospective clients see your company.
This is usually a good thing because it allows us to give all our customers the very best first impression possible. Clients who deal with a resourceful, well organised, and efficient receptionist will walk away feeling that they have dealt with a resourceful, well organised and efficient company.
On the other hand clients who encounter a receptionist who is curt, unhelpful, unknowledgeable, or disorganised will walk away associating these traits with the company they have dealt with, and not just the receptionist in question.
While there is no replacement for formal training for our receptionists it’s easy to point out the things that separate great receptionists from bad ones. Staff Training has put together a short list of simple tips to ensure your company always puts out the right image.
This is something at Staff Training that we say over and over again. Smile. The reason is that even though callers on the phone can’t see you, they can definitely hear you, and we can hear the difference in your voice when you’re smiling. Answering the phone with a smile immediately softens customers and lets them know that they’re important to your business, no matter who they are.
One of the greatest traits of a good receptionist is her ability to remain calm under pressure. In this line of work being able to remain composed during times of stress is of the utmost importance. A receptionist who appears frazzled or disorganised gives the appearance of an organisation that can’t cope, and this is a perception that can be very hard to shake once you’re labeled with it.
3. Can do
If perceptions are what it’s all about then the perception you should be trying to create is one of resourcefulness. A receptionist who answers a question with “I don’t know” gives the impression of either a company that doesn’t care to find out for you or one that simply doesn’t know, both of which are damaging in terms of your image. While a receptionist should be clued up on all the company’s offerings it’s understandable that she won’t be able to answer every question that comes her way, but this doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t find someone who can answer the question – even if this means Googling it herself.
4. Get it right
Again it comes down to perceptions, and making mistakes creates a bad perception of your company. Accuracy, however, is easy when you’re organised. Receptionists should always have a pen and notepad handy to take notes (and not rely on memory to pass on messages correctly) and have any information at hand that is commonly requested. Web pages often referred to should be bookmarked for easy access and if the customer’s request is likely to take more than a few minutes to resolve, offer to call them back.