For any business, the reception area is key to your success. Not only is it the first place that potential new clients will see of your operations, but it is the area where they will be kept waiting. Anyone in your reception who detects inefficiency is likely to think that it is a cultural issue in the business as a whole. As such, making your front desk as productive as possible ought to be a key part of your business strategy. In this article, we’ll look at the top six ways to boost your front desk efficiency.
Time management is a crucial area and one of the top six ways to boost your front desk efficiency as well as that of the rest of the business. Essentially, your reception needs to be manned from the moment office hours have begun which means operations need to start slightly before then. Covering holiday periods and lunch breaks is also a key part of time management. What is your back up procedure for sickness or unavoidable lateness? Consider how automation might help a reception with too few staff or at peak times.
Given that the median salary for a receptionist in the UK is in the region of £16,000 a year, it is clear that some businesses remain unconcerned that it is a skilled job which requires plenty of soft skills, perhaps as many as you’d look for in a good sales rep. Nevertheless, some receptionists earn much more – depending on location – and that means that some enterprises a willing to pay more for the right experience and combination of skills. Bear in mind that your reception staff will represent your entire enterprise in the eyes of many people who arrive there, so choosing the right calibre of employee is essential if you want it to convey cool, calm efficiency. Former PAs make excellent recruits as specialist reception staff.
Today, among the top six ways to boost your front desk efficiency is a measure that has always been important – the telecommunications systems you have in place. A proper reception phone will allow reception staff to see who is available and who is not at a glance, saving them time when announcing a visitor. Keyphones are ideal for this because they show busy lamps when other staff are away or on the phone. These days, integrated PC software consoles have replaced keyphone systems in many cases, but both approaches still work very well for improving front desk efficiency.
Yes, the back office is where the real operations of your business go on. However, if the culture there does not support your front desk employees, then all they can do is paper over the cracks. Make sure that back office staff know that they must answer and deal with enquiries from your receptionist as they would an important client. After all, your receptionist might well be asking on behalf of one! Receptionists without back office support when they need to ask questions, or who have to ring lots of extensions just to track someone down, are set up to fail and people at your front desk will soon notice if this is the case.
Another of the top six ways to boost your front desk efficiency is to allow your receptionist a degree of discretion and flexibility. If they are not allowed to leave the reception area, for example, then ask yourself why? Surely, there are times when your reception would run better if the staff could leave, for instance, to find someone or to locate something. If receptionists are ‘chained’ to the front desk, then are they really doing a security job which would be better handled in another way? Good receptionists will know when it is okay to leave their workstation temporarily to get an important task done and – by equal measure – when it is imperative to stay and keep the reception area manned.
Ideal for reception areas with lots of visitors or where front desks will be unmanned from time to time, a visitor management system is undoubtedly one of the top six ways to boost your front desk efficiency. With a high-level of automation, they allow visitors to check-in for themselves and to do so without the need to queue. Efficiency is further enhanced by such a system’s ID management which will dispense visitor passes, when appropriate, for example. You can even use them to produce reports about how effective they have been in helping to manage your front desk. The best systems have cloud-based reporting functionality which allow senior executives to monitor their reception’s efficiency even when they are not in the office.
If you’re looking for a visitor management system that puts front desk efficiency first, VisiPoint is ideal. Get in touch with a member of our expert team for a free consultation.