Companies with no receptionist are colder and less personal

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#1
Just something I've noticed in my career. I tend to be happier and stay longer and companies where there is a receptionist at the entrance.
And the same thing when I visit a supplier or customer. I'm more at ease after being greeted at the door and generally have more productive meetings.

Buildings with just a phone and phone list in the front come across as cold and unwelcoming. And downright rude when you have an appointment and can't get hold of the person you came to see.

My current comany has no receptionist. When I'm expecting somone I find myself looking out my office window for my apointment's car so I can personally greet them in the entry way.

A receptionist generally isn't a large salary and it promotes a good image. But I guess it's not directly value added to the product so it's the first to get cut. and never added back. Which is a shame because, call me old fashioned but I think it's important to talk to a person when entering a premesis. I think the value add is definately there when you have frequent visitors and callers. But the bean counters can't put it into column.

Was wondering what some of you people think as we have a broad range of generations represented here.
 
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Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
Just something I've noticed in my career. I tend to be happier and stay longer and companies where there is a receptionist at the entrance.
And the same thing when I visit a supplier or customer. I'm more at ease after being greeted at the door and generally have more productive meetings.

Buildings with just a phone and phone list in the front come across as cold and unwelcoming. And downright rude when you have an appointment and can't get hold of the person you came to see.

My current company has no receptionist. When I'm expecting someone I find myself looking out my office window for my appointment's car so I can personally greet them in the entry way.

A receptionist generally isn't a large salary and it promotes a good image. But I guess it's not directly value added to the product so it's the first to get cut. and never added back. Which is a shame because, call me old fashioned but I think it's important to talk to a person when entering a premises. I think the value add is definitely there when you have frequent visitors and callers. But the bean counters can't put it into column.

Was wondering what some of you people think as we have a broad range of generations represented here.
I totally agree! I feel much more welcome when a (professional) receptionist is present. Beats the phone and a list with whom to call; or a grumpy security guard..

I've seen places where the lobby looks more like a receiving dock; FedEx and UPS dumping off packages and boxes.... Or the worn couch and the dog-eared outdated magazines....

Praise the receptionists and let your host know!! There ain't too many of 'm left...:(

Stijloor.
 
S

silentrunning

#5
Some of the companies I visit have the receptionist doing other work such as filing or readying mail. This could add value to the position. In most companys, being a receptionist isn't an 8 hour a day job so that leaves time to help with other things. I'm with you Scott that a company that greets you with a phone is cold.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
Count me in the "prefer a human being to greet me" column.

The impression I get, expanding on Scott's, is that the company considers my visit an intrusion, taking away value.

On a strict cost accounting basis, what's the value of lost customer (because he feels you consider him an intrusion) versus the cost of a multitasking clerk or security guard?

How much time is lost from higher value personnel when special delivery comes to the door and someone has to come from across the plant just to sign for it?

This concept of "no receptionist" isn't new, by the way. I recall some companies once considered "big time" in the late 60s and early 70s which implemented such a policy (phone in an empty 5 X 5 lobby - no chairs) for all front door visitors - guess what? They no longer exist!

The concept of Customer Relationship Management is a two-way street. As a customer, I'm more inclined to do business with folks who treat me as if I were welcome rather than an intrusion. Similarly, as a supplier, I'm not happy with a customer whose entry process is more like "use the servant's entrance in the alley" rather than "Welcome, partner!" or "Welcome, potential partner!"

I'd even be happy with a doorbell, instead of the phone. At least, some human might answer a loud doorbell and flashing light (what we used.) That's a solution we used during our "lights out" operation, when only a caretaker was present to refill machine stocks and handle emergencies.

Obviously, we need some leeway for remote or satellite operations where visitors are rare events, but not for HQ or locations with lots of office staff. Some operations hande the infrequent visitor with a worker next to a window which opens on to the lobby - works pretty well as security, too.
 

jasonb067

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
As a Supplier Quality Engineer and in Purchasing it always started a meeting off on the wrong foot when I had to stand in a small hall way trying to reach someone on a phone. Espically when I had been driving for hours and needed to visit the rest room. You feel as if you are visiting a prison and the pat down could come at any time.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#8
Imagine showing up for an audit for which they are paying and you spend 45 minutes in that cubbyhole because they're not ready, or OOPS, "We forgot"....It gets fun from there starting at committment;)
 
A

adickerson

#9
I DO think a receptionist is value added. Companies spend so much money on marketing and sales...what is the follow through? If I am buying a product and I know nothing about your business or its employees, how am I supposed to get past the front door?

It is real easy to look at a receptionist and say "that person just answers phones". I look at that position and say "that person is the first contact at our company and represents us to the world".

And as others have said, you can generally have them tasked to other duties as well. It makes sense to have a person handle all the simple stuff so your high dollar employees don't waste a hour looking for a toner cartridge.

Plus, it is just classy.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#10
As the responses here attest, it would be hard to find a person (other than a person who's caused it to happen) who thinks that elimination of receptionists is a good idea. It seems a sign of desperation to me, and that's probably the last thing you want people to think of when they think of your business.

Several times while waiting in one of those depressing little lobbies (which are often ironically festooned with plaques and certificates attesting to the greatness of the company), various employees of the company were seen wandering past, and none of them stopped to offer help, or ask who or what I was waiting for. Also, when you combine the lack of a receptionist with the proclivity of many people to ignore ringing phones (that is what voice mail is for, right?) the result is a visitor who's being tacitly told that no one gives a **** that he's there. Not a good way to start or maintain a relationship.
 
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