I always think twice before I label the 'face of the company' as a receptionist. Not because I think it's an inaccurate label, nor should it carry any negative connotations. But it can conjure the picture of someone filing their nails...and I just hate that!
I have been active in the business world my whole career and time and again it is brought home to me just how vital these people are to the success of our businesses.
For some time now, I've been getting the impression that employers have begun to realise just how important the person who mans the phones, actually is to the smooth running of their organisation.
I have to admit that this hasn't always been the case though. The position of 'receptionist'
was synonymous with ditsy bimbo simpering over the phone. Well - maybe not quite as bad as that, but pretty close in some cases.
The problems with this stereotype
are manifold, not least of which the damage it has done to the people who found themselves in this position a decade or so back. Unfortunately, it does still persist in some cases and serves to devalue the position
in both the eyes of the Frontline person themselves, as well as their colleagues.
After all, how difficult is it
to answer a phone, and handle detailed admin duties, and organise refreshments and stationery, and handle incoming visitors, and cope with angry or confused customers, and avoid dropping calls from multiple lines ringing simultaneously, and remain cool, calm and collected???
Yup - re-read that paragraph
. We meet many delegates on our Frontline courses who are doing just that and more, and all the while without any professional training
- because anyone can answer a few calls, can't they?
This is compounded by the fact that the people handling these myriad duties tend not to see themselves as professional either. They also think that anyone can do this job.
Well, once we really explore what's required of a Frontline person
, the delegates begin to understand what is expected of them and how they can go about achieving it effectively. I have come to believe that not everyone can be a frontline person, certainly not without proper instruction
It takes a special set of very specific qualities and skills
, and these need to be taught and practised. It's simply not sound business sense to place someone in a position where they speak to your customers, if you haven't ensured they're thoroughly professional and skilled at what they do.
If you have grasped the full import of having the correct person fronting your company
, you'll immediately have more respect for them and spend time and money upgrading them to be the best they possibly can.
Check out our interactive website for details of our Frontline courses
is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.
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