A university student narrated to me his ordeal with a receptionist me few days ago. His frustration could not be described in words. It was his first step into corporate Ghana. Such a cold welcome.
The third-year university student called a company in Accra and requested to come and leave a letter for internship whilst finding out if there is such an opportunity for him at that moment. According to him, he has never in his life spoken with someone on the phone with such bad manners and poor communication skills.
He described her as “very rude and silly”. He would have ignored the internship altogether if it was not a requirement by his department in school.
How many times have we not been frustrated by receptionists and front desk staff in corporate Ghana, even in the reception halls of big brand companies?
First Impression Means a Lot
It is a cliché but appears to be given little attention by many of the big businesses in the country. The receptionist or telephone answering person at your office is my first point of call to your brand. No matter the media advertisements and hype, if your front desk is manned by an ill-mannered person, we would not place a bad value on your brand. It’s just like that. The actions of receptionists, in-person or via phone calls makes us think twice about your brand and how serious you take it yourself.
Your Receptionists is not the Dumbest
Many people disrespect receptionists and the role the play in an organisation. I think they are equally important as the CEO. They represent a large part of your brand. Such disrespect for the role has led many businesses placing the ‘dumbest’ or the least intelligent in the organisation at their front desks. After all her job is to answer calls, make small notes and reminders, and say “You’re welcome, madam”, “have a seat here, sir” and “have a great day”. But the truth is, their job goes miles beyond that.
They can win you customers and make you lose more as well. Their behaviour can disrupt or cause an important deal not to materialize. No matter who the top management meet and do business with, they will at some point invite them to the office premise, and voila, your receptionist is the first they speak with.
Put your Best Foot Forward
So why not assign the front desk to your best candidate. A smart lady or gentleman who can learn fast, has good communication and interpersonal skills, understands the business of the company very well to be in a position to answer questions posed by callers. Doesn’t that even tell visitors how smart and committed the people in the building are?
Invest in Front Desk Staff
To confirm the strong brand portrayed in your external marketing messages, you must let us experience it right at the entrance of your premise. Your security men, gate keepers, receptionist must be properly trained to reflect your powerful brand. They must know what is happening in the organisation to be able to provide quick and intelligent responses to callers and visitors. They must also be equipped with professional communication and interpersonal skills.
Why do you put the least educated in your organisation at your front desk? I do not want to see your receptionist stretch her right hand to greet right after sneezing into her naked palms, without a single comment.