In Small Business Marketing, Receptionists Are on the Front Line
Receptionist positions are often considered entry-level with high turnover. Small businesses don’t spend much time training the receptionist, sometimes just giving her an admonition to be friendly and punctual.
But from your customer’s perspective, your receptionist just might be your small business’s most important employee! An effective receptionist:
Is a customer’s first impression of your company
Develops meaningful customer relationships
Keeps customers happy
Is a key source of business intelligence
Everytime the phone rings or someone walks through the door, your receptionist is the spokesperson for your business. Customers will evaluate your business based on their interactions with the receptionist. More often than anyone else, she is in a position to execute your marketing strategies.
Receptionists are also in a position to uncover important business intelligence that should inform your small business marketing strategies. They talk to customers all day long. Through skillful conversation, they can identify how customers learned about you, what competitors they evaluated and problem areas in your products or services.
Does your receptionist know how important she is to your small business? Help her understand her professional role, and you’ll welcome a new, valuable member to your marketing team.
How do I know your employees want to be cross-trained?
They’ve told me.
In my work with Yastrow & Company, we do extensive, in-depth employee research, and cross-training is the most universal request we hear. Practically every group of employees, in every industry and every job role tells us, “I wish I knew what everyone else in the company did everyday. It would help me do my job better if I understood where my coworkers are coming from.”
Restaurants can schedule back-of-house staff to individually work the front of the house for a shift. Companies with IT departments can have IT staff rotate through the various departments they support– and show the other employees the demands of the IT department. A retail store can ask their purchasers to work a few hours on the floor.
Sometimes management gives pushback to the idea of cross-training, and their reluctance is understandable. It’s a cost, and it takes valuable employees away from their work for a time. But the investment in cross-training helps build teams and breaks down barriers across departments. When employees understand what their coworkers do in the course of their jobs, they will be more helpful to requests. Asking back-of-house employees to work with customers for a day will make them realize the importance of the customer experience.
Offer some cross-training. I guarantee your employees will find it valuable, and it will help unify your business.