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Receptionist and 10 seconds to make or break an image

In companies around the world, those in the reception role set the stage for the entire journey of the customers. First impressions, therefore, are powerful drivers in any business.

No matter whether a client or a guest visits a company in person, the receptionist is usually the first one they meet. Their conversation is often short and brief, so is the time that our receptionist has to impress. In fact, a customer only needs 10 seconds or less to form the first impression about the receptionist. In those 10 seconds, the reception’s greetings, attitude, word choice and appearance will either make or break the chance of cooperation between the company and that customer. One missed call, one inappropriate gesture, one stain on the uniform or one inadequate answer will be noticed in just a blink of an eye and remain a long lasting memory.

I had an appointment the other day with my supplier at their office. I walked into their fancy lobby and informed the receptionist about my presence. She didn’t make eye contact and just simply told me to sit down. That happened within 10 seconds. While waiting for their representative to come, I became less and less excited about this company’s culture and even wondered if I had made a wrong decision. In the end, we couldn’t close the deal. It was due to multiple reasons, but that 10-second impression definitely had some influence.

A good receptionist understands the challenge and feels comfortable with the responsibility. As a receptionist outsourcing company, we have witnessed many professional receptionists who strive to project a positive image and make people feel welcome even in busy times or bad days. They realize the need to understand everybody and just keep calm, keep smiling even when the customer is shouting at them for a simple reason. They embrace the fact that being a receptionist is not an easy job, but they also know it is a rewarding job – no day is the same, they learn lots of different skills and there are opportunities to progress. For them, the first 10 seconds of any interaction truly matter to their company image and countless of those 10 seconds are what make their career!

In the end, you don’t need to be a doctor or a fireman to know that “every second counts” – a receptionist knows it perfectly well, too.