Premium front of house isn’t just about the reception desk

Premium front of house isn’t just about the reception desk

July 02, 2014

Posted in:

As a larger business, you’ve worked hard to create the very best front of house (FOH) reception desk. Highly trained reception staff are well presented and well versed in your expectations of providing the very best to visitors and guests as they arrive in person.

In the perfect world you have full cover during the day, spare capacity to allow for any absences, night hours manned to your same exacting standards and the knowledge that however busy you are dealing with enquiries face to face, you are able to give your full attention to answering incoming phone calls.

In the real world the scenario can be very different. While the ‘in person’ visitor expects a professional reception and hopefully receives it, the same is all too often not true of those less visible; making contact by telephone. How many times have we experienced that uncomfortable feeling, engaged in conversation at the front desk while an unanswered telephone is ringing out in the background? What does that say about the value being placed on that call? With your reputation under the spotlight with every interaction, it is vital business callers receive the same VIP treatment, regardless of what time they call and what they need.

For multi-tenanted buildings without a FOH reception desk, the separation of these tasks can in many ways prove useful, providing clear definition with no expectation of staff having to juggle. Many businesses in this position choose to outsource their telephone handling, both for everyday calls and for helpdesk type facilities. Consistency of response is critical; so engaging with an outsourced supplier for this element of the business, either for overflow calls only or via a fully managed switchboard arrangement, ensures no calls are missed.

Engage with a 24/7 provider and the consistency of response should be guaranteed whether a caller rings at 3pm or 3am. Security guards are not switchboard operators and yet all too often they are expected to be such. Far better to let them concentrate on their job in hand than ask them to face the distraction and potential frustration of taking calls out of hours.

In my previous incarnations, working within the facilities functions of large companies, I have witnessed first-hand the difficulties in resourcing for consistent telephone cover. Capturing every call while factoring in call peaks and troughs, staff absences, lunchtimes, holidays and emergencies can be a real headache. I have actually witnessed staff being hastily driven from one office location to another to provide cover for a couple of unexpected hours.

Whether you look after this function as a managing agent or a concierge FOH, surely it’s far better to take the pressure off. Think about outsourcing as a real solution that works. It’s a flexible and usually highly cost-effective way of delivering a 24/7 premium service to complement that of your reception desk; guaranteeing all calls are answered, while leaving you firmly in control.

By Julie Hulme, Business Development Manager, FM Sector

A Corporate Member of the BIFM, Moneypenny supports businesses by answering their telephone calls either on an overflow or fully outsourced switchboard basis. UK staff based in Auckland New Zealand answer overnight calls during their daytime.