Your receptionists are in many ways the eyes and ears of your business. They know much more about your business than you may think. Also, they have insight into your important clients. They know who is who in the organisation’s structure. Furthermore, they generally get the lowdown on a whole host of staff and business-related issues. Because of this, you should always make the most of your Receptionist.

It’s easy to dismiss a receptionist’s role as a relatively easy job. It’s not. Receptionists require tact, diplomacy, great communication skills, exceptional organisational skills and much more. Great receptionists are like gold dust for your business. They are the first point of contact for customers, either in person or over the phone, and first impressions will make all the difference to the success of your business.

Given that your receptionist plays such a crucial role in adding value to your business, it makes perfect sense to make the most of their skills. Here are 5 compelling reasons why it makes great business sense to make more of your receptionist.

1. First impressions matter

Making the most of your receptionist’s skills will allow your company to shine in more ways than one. Not only will you have a happy, fulfilled receptionist on your team, but your employee’s job satisfaction will impact the first impressions they make with your customers.

The way your business interacts with its customers is crucial for its image and success. The first point of contact with your business is more often than not with your receptionist. How they deal with the caller, be it over the telephone, via email, or in person, is the first step to converting a sale. A great receptionist will create a warm and welcoming environment and allow your business to shine.

Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing the work that your receptionist does. Enriching your receptionist’s role will have a positive impact on your business.

2. Increase your product sales

If you are selling a product or service, your receptionist should definitely receive some training in sales techniques, and build knowledge about the products or services you are offering. While the technical details about your products or the intricacies of your services can be left to the sales experts, a layperson’s knowledge of your core business is essential for any customer-facing member of your team.

They will need to be able to instil confidence into any potential buyer and while they won’t necessarily be closing sales deals, they do need to be aware of their part in connecting with potential customers and hooking their interest.

3. Spread the word about your vision

Building a professional front and a sense of trust around your business is essential for its continuing success. Your receptionist is likely to be already doing a good job of creating a fabulous first impression with customers. But don’t forget your receptionist is also well placed to drip-feed information about upcoming product launches, success stories and general good news about your business.

Your business culture also matters. Your receptionist has regular contact with all of your employees and will soon know if something is awry or if a member of staff is unhappy. Utilise your receptionist to endorse the company’s mission statement and feedback to you when things aren’t working.

4. Cost-effective cover for other company roles

Especially important in a small business is utilising your staff for efficient and effective task management. When a member of staff is off sick or away on holiday, filling their shoes can pose an expensive and difficult problem. Your receptionist could be the perfect person to step into the breach.

Your receptionist may not be able to take on tasks that require specialist training or expertise. They probably couldn’t don a pair of overalls and take up a position in your engineering division, for example (if they can, they are in the wrong job). But, there are heaps of administrative and sales roles that your receptionist can more than likely do with ease, especially with the right training.

Using your receptionist to cover other roles may be a more cost-effective way of managing staff absence. Hiring a temporary receptionist while your regular receptionist stands elsewhere is one option and could be more cost-effective than managing without a team member or hiring more specialist cover.

Alternatively, if your reception area doesn’t need to be covered 24/7, you could try a telephone answering service for pared-back reception cover during a staffing crisis. It would free up your receptionist to pitch in with the extra workload.

5. Investment in staff will pay off

Most receptionists are faced with a whole gamut of repetitive tasks. Opening the post, checking in deliveries, answering the phone, managing administrative tasks, arranging meetings, ordering stationery and so on. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a competent receptionist only to find they get bored and leave. Yes, repetitive tasks need to be done and kept on top of, but be sure to understand how important a great receptionist is to the growth of your business.

To keep your best staff you will need to invest in their future. A pay review will obviously help, but utilising your receptionist’s skills in other areas of the company and investing in training will ultimately pay dividends for your business.