Your front desk employees offer customers the first glimpse into your business, so you want to make sure they shine! Is your front desk ruining your business? The following five remedies will show you how to improve your front desk and your business.
1. Be Welcoming and Personable
When a customer first enters your place of business, the employee(s) at the front desk is/are often the first face prospects encounter. The interaction — good or bad — can determine whether your customer, client, or patient will return for a second visit. A welcoming smile, friendly greeting, and excellent customer service will make your visitor feel invited, valued, and at ease with your processes.
A chaotic environment paired with a frantic, rude, or inattentive front desk employee sets the tone for your business from the beginning. You will spend more time doing damage control, which doesn’t always change the perceptions and first impressions of your customers. A recent survey revealed that 82% of people stopped doing business with a company due to bad customer service. The same survey revealed that 85% of people would pay up to 25% more for products and services in favor of an excellent customer service experience. If your front desk person is constantly causing negative complaints and you are seeing a drop in customers, consider revamping your front line employees. Excellent customer service begins at the front door and on the phone.
2. Hire the Right Person!
A qualified person will be genuine, kind, teachable, knowledgeable, flexible, skilled, and efficient — all traits that will help increase business and productivity, while offering value to your customers from the beginning. Your employee needs to be on board with what you sell or offer and needs to have thorough knowledge of your business and customer-base. Educating your staff and offering proper training will ensure your front desk employee can efficiently and effectively offer appropriate assistance to your customers.
3. Keep the Front Desk Area Organized
There is nothing worse than walking into a business that “greets” you with utter chaos, disorganization, rudeness, and stressed out employees that don’t have the time, or desire, to help you. Your front desk is the face of your business and often the first point of engagement for your customers. In addition to providing excellent customer service, make sure the work area is clean, organized, decluttered, well lit, and easy to access. The front desk area also needs to remain professional and free from personal items such as food and cell phones.
Hire an employee that is naturally organized, calm, and who can bend under pressure. If possible, separate out the area where customers are greeted from where the phone is being answered. The constant ringing of the phone, followed by the employee having to interrupt the customer to answer the phone, can be a huge turn off and negative strike against your business, while hurting productivity. A separate area for the phone, with a dedicated employee, can minimize noise, distractions, and allow the front desk employee to offer his or her full attention to your customers.
4. Value Your Front Desk Employees
People want to be valued, appreciated, and recognized for their hard work. Do you value your front desk employee? Does he or she feel overworked, underpaid, or constantly stressed out? Is the workload too much for one person to handle? Your front desk employee has an important and difficult job. They represent your business on a daily basis by offering excellent customer service, knowledge of your business, and assistance to your customers.
Offer adequate work breaks — they need time to recharge to be at their best. Take time to review the pay your front desk employee receives and consider offering an amount above what the going rate is. This will not only motivate your employees, but also make them feel valued and appreciated for the skills, experience, and intelligence they bring to your business. Also consider placing your front desk employee in a different role if you see other talents and abilities he or she can contribute to your company.
Each person is part of the well-oiled machine that is your business. If one part is ignored and undervalued, the rest won’t work properly. Every position is important and your employees need to be reminded of this truth.
5. Provide Ongoing Training and Education
A well-educated staff ensures accuracy, efficiency, and increased productivity. Proper training, resources, and assistance from you or other management will help your front desk staff feel confident interacting with customers. The more training and knowledge they have, the more capable they are to help deliver the highest level of customer service possible to your customers.
Of the 89% of surveyed customers who said they switched companies in the past year, 29% of those customers reported their reason was from annoyance due to lack of staff knowledge. Every detail is important to teach — business hours, staff changes, policies and procedures, marketing events and promotions, special offers, and ALL company changes. Your front desk employee is, after all, the first person your customers talk to so it makes sense that they know every aspect of the business.
When your customers walk into your business, they should be instantly greeted by a friendly, welcoming, kind, and knowledgeable front desk employee. That employee sets the stage for how your business is perceived. You can ensure your customers will come back and refer you to others if you hire the right front desk person and offer him or her valuable training, resources, competitive pay, and you show them that you appreciate the work he or she does on a daily basis. Your front desk shouldn’t be ruining your business; it should be growing it by leaps and bounds.