Results Accountants' Systems (the Bootcamp folks) got it right when they recommended the position be called Director of First Impressions and gave dozens of ideas for how this DoFI could assure a superior experience for customers.
Receptionists are a leading indicator of doing business with a company or firm.
The receptionist, even in a couple moments, reflects the company's culture, personality, quality, accountability, intelligence, warmth, and care.
I called a Top 100 CPA firm in the East that I had thought was pretty savvy and "got it." But my impression of the firm was lessened significantly by the tone and demeanor of the receptionist who sounded inconvenienced to have to answer my call. She sounded like she hated her job. She couldn't get me transferred fast enough cutting off my polite "thank you."
I thought, "This is the firm's idea of an appropriate way to present themselves to callers??"
I've been extremely impressed at times when I've called firms and been greeted especially pleasantly. I've been able to sense that the receptionist had a smile on her face or was genuinely invested in getting me to the person or the information I needed. THAT is what we're after.
Just as Gerry describes being the recipient of a regular string of compliments, I always tell the person I'm calling when the receptionist is exceptional. The most recent such instance was on June 26 when I did so by e-mail. This is exactly what I wrote moments after calling a law firm:
BTW, your receptionist today was absolutely fantastic. Commendable. And she deserves a pat on the back. I speak with a lot of firm receptionists and she stood out in a very positive way. After being extremely helpful and courteous as I worked through a list of 4 or 5 people to potentially speak with, I thanked her for her excellent help and she, in kind, thanked *me* for my patience. Wow. It was no problem at all I assure you and she made it a very pleasant experience doing everything she could to assure that I was taken care of.
This is the response I received:
Thank you SO much for your compliment of our receptionist. Amelia is filling in for Natasha who is on vacation. I will pass along your commendation to her.
Hmmm, while I hope I didn't cause such a positive spotlight on Amelia that it made Natasha look poor in comparison, it occurred to me that I had never been greeted quite as warmly by the firm before by phone or in person. (they are a client...names have been changed)
Two very different experiences within the same firm...
I have also reported, though, when the receptionist is a distinct "downer." I think a firm needs to know. Kinda like telling friends they have spinach in their teeth. This doesn't happen often, though. In fact, I probably pass on mentioning some instances that are borderline. You would want to know, wouldn't you?
So how many compliments do you receive about your receptionist(s)? Do you pass them along? (positive reinforcement is SO powerful).
Or do you get no remarks? You ought to consider making a change.
Negative remarks? Stop reading blogs immediately and start writing your next job ad for a superstar receptionist!