The Importance of Having a Great Receptionist
This can be a vital question when building your small business and its brand. Alongside the quality of your product, the way you interact with clients and customers can make or break your company’s image. Do you want to be seen as a dull, inefficient, or unwelcoming small business? Probably not – you’d surely rather be known for your dependability, helpfulness, and professionalism –and the best way to communicate those values is in your first impression.
As a small business owner and master of your domain, you already have hundreds of different hats to wear, and too many priorities. You can’t run the business and be customer-facing without running yourself ragged. The good news is, there’s someone who can do the latter for you, and this is why it’s highly important you have a great receptionist.
Your receptionist is the first person a client or guest interacts with. Sometimes, they’re the only point of contact between a business and the public. Having a polite and friendly person ready to greet them is the perfect way to impress potential clients – and show them how professional and dedicated your small business is to treating their customers right. A great receptionist will create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your guests, as well as serving as your information centre. Get them on side early, and locking in the deals will come naturally – there’s no telling what you can achieve once people are already interested in working with you.
Problems are like buses: everything swims along absolutely fine, then three (or more) come along at once. They also have a way of happening at the worst possible time – you’ll be in the middle of trying to keep on top of your contacts, while reorganising your schedule, answering phone calls, trying desperately to fix your server, and – oh, yes, you almost forgot – running your small business at the same time! A great receptionist is able to think fast, find solutions to problems, and ensure that clients and customers feel that they’re in good hands. They’ll know how to answer those tricky calls, help you keep on top of your contacts, and make sure your schedule is in check. You’ll never have to be caught in the middle of a vital meeting with a dodgy WiFi signal again!
Trained receptionists are well-acquainted with all the ins and outs of the professionalism that your business requires. They’re able to deal with any task required, improvise on the fly in a way that hides any trace of being overwhelmed, and multi-task as required. Whether over the phone or in person, a proficient attitude always shines through. Having a dedicated professional, ready and waiting to deal with everyone you can’t, shows people that your business is interested in working together – no matter how small it is.
With a dedicated receptionist, managers and co-workers will have the time to do the work you actually want them to do. With a small business, efficient staff and effective task management are paramount, as you don’t have much wiggle-room. These are not easy if you’re already-overstretched staff have to deal with multiple incoming inquiries! A great receptionist will not only free up the time of you and your work force, but will be able to organise the projects and duties of other staff members too – think of your receptionist as the technician for your well-oiled machine of a small business.
A great receptionist makes everyone’s lives easier. They’ll know where those exact documents you need are kept, the vital phone numbers and email addresses you need off by heart, and can probably predict the exact tools you need several days before you need them. A receptionist will take messages, type correspondence, handle company email, and know all the answers to any questions your customers will have. A small business is only as efficient as its weakest link – but with a decent receptionist, you’re keeping those links well and truly strengthened – and everything in its proper place.
When the phone goes unanswered during business hours, a large group of potential clients all turn up for a visit at the same time, or you just can’t get to your overflowing email inbox, it can reflect poorly on your growing business. A great receptionist can be counted on to be at their desk on time in the morning, be prompt returning from lunch, answer emails and phone calls efficiently, and give accurate, reliable information about your small business to both potential and returning customers.
A great receptionist is a crucial asset for any small business. Every tool has its own essential function, and a receptionist is priceless when it comes to how your business is perceived, and how its inner workings run.
What if a Great Receptionist Isn’t Viable?
It might be that the time isn’t right for your small business to have a full-time receptionist. Most small businesses need to squeeze every penny – as a result, you might be worried about the costs involved with hiring another member of staff, or that your business space – be it an office, a shared office, or just your bedroom! – isn’t big enough to accommodate a receptionist.
Not to worry! A Virtual PA can be the perfect alternative to employing a receptionist. Advances in technology allow for traditional additions to a business to be outsourced with ease. Having a Virtual PA allows your business to adapt and remain flexible to changing finances, dips in the market and varying business premises, while still affording your small business all the aforementioned benefits of having a great receptionist.
They fulfil all of the same functions – customer contacts, taking difficult or high volume phone calls, and other office support – while working remotely. Virtual PAs are perfect for anyone needing regular support, but lacking the finance or full-time hours to justify employing someone on a permanent basis. They provide support only where needed. You only pay for the hours they work and you don’t need to find extra jobs to use up the hours you’ve paid for! A Virtual PA is a perfect solution for any small business looking to get the benefits of a great receptionist, without the downsides.