A clueless receptionist today, a bankrupt business tomorrow: In most businesses, there’s a human who welcomes and bids farewell to visitors in person, on the telephone, or via email. Whatever you call this person (Receptionist, Hostess, Admitting, Registrar, Front Desk Supervisor), it’s crucial that she or he convey a warm welcome when customers arrive and a gracious, heartfelt farewell when they leave; the handling of these two moments is key to your brand’s image.
This is why inbound and outbound reception is best handled by a skilled, trained, and motivated veteran with great customer-focused traits.
But you already knew that, right? So why does company after company – including, odds are, yours – treat reception as an entry-level, stepping-stone position?
This approach, which I see all the time in companies I encounter as a customer experience consultant, is an inevitable, slow-motion business catastrophe. Because, whatever you call it, ‘‘First and Last Impression Creator’’ is among the most important positions in your enterprise.
I suggest you follow the lead of great brands like Ritz-Carlton. Nobody — nobody — is allowed to represent the Ritz-Carlton brand to guests without having gone through a rigorous 21-day training period, at a minimum. Because, to customers, every employee is the brand. This includes, in a very central way, the first and last person the customer encounters.
There’s no reason the model of great five-star hotel brands needs to be limited to hospitality, or to luxury. It’s a secret of success for many industries, B2B as well as B2C.