Who is the most important person in your company?
Hint: It’s not the CEO, the CFO or even the CMO.
It’s the receptionist.
Come again? You heard me.
The receptionist. The person that greets people as they enter your office or when they call on the phone is the person who sets the tone for what the brand is about.
They are one of the most important people you can hire. And they are the first person you should fire if they are not embodying your brand values.
If you are considering hiring a company, or perhaps working there, spend a few minutes lingering in the reception area. I guarantee you will learn more in a few minutes than you would during hours of pitches or interviews.
A few weeks ago during my first visit to a particular agency I had an experience
that really brought this home. I took the elevator up to the assigned floor, pressed the buzzer, opened the typical glass door and then was greeted by a smiling young woman.
What’s special about that you ask?
Well this young woman stood up, held out her hand to shake, greeted me by name and even made a comment about my blog (one that showed she really read the content).
I thought good on her, and good on her managers who clearly recognized her role as brand ambassador.
I don’t know if she gets a briefing each day on expected visitors or that she acts on her own initiative to find it out. It doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that by these simple gestures and in the space of one minute she set the tone for my visit. I felt like I was being truly welcomed and not just “signed in”. And I believed the agency during the capabilities presentation when they gave me the standard rhetoric about “valuing people and building brand culture”.
Because I had felt it, first hand.
The other side of this issue is having the courage, commitment and decisiveness to get rid of receptionists that don’t reflect the brand values.
Frequently, I come across front of house personnel that give off negative energy, or can’t really be bothered to look up from their book or Face Book page to look me in the eye and say hello.
I’m sure the people who are in charge of these companies are aware of the issue, but perhaps they can’t be bothered to do something about it. Maybe they feel they have bigger fish to fry then dealing with a mediocre receptionist.
But who is more important in the company than the individual who sets in motion the brand experience?
I say no one.
That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
I’d love to hear your receptionist experiences, good and bad.