As the receptionist here at Algonquin Studios, I answer the phone with the phrase “Thank you for calling Algonquin Studios, how may I help you?” With this one simple sentence, I hope to be welcoming and accommodating to our callers. Because I’m often the point first contact for prospective clients and a consistent contact for many of our longstanding clients, my attitude and personality are reflections on the company and I strive to make sure they’re positive.
It’s been said that a first impression is made in the first seven seconds of contact. In those seven seconds, we absorb indicators of a person’s professionalism, courtesy, knowledge, helpfulness, credibility, confidence, and understanding and, in those seven seconds, a prospective client might make some assumptions about Algonquin Studios. I’m often the first face people see when they come to our office and the first voice they hear when they call us so, when I interact with these people, it’s important that I portray an appreciation of their business and an eagerness to help.
Obviously, being happy, energetic, and welcoming when they call or arrive is important but what about going the extra step? Taking things to the next level to ensure a positive experience? Most of the time the “extras” can be simple but they can really go a long way: things like offering people a beverage or personally walking them to their destination (a conference room or someone’s office) are always a nice touch. I’ve taken to keeping the menus and brochures for some of Buffalo’s best restaurants and tourism spots at my desk, so I can share them with our out-of-town visitors and make recommendations about the hidden jewels of our city, helping to ensure they have a pleasant visit, not just to Algonquin Studios, but to Western New York as well.
Going the extra step can be a bit more difficult on the phone but I like to try to gather some information from callers before I direct their calls. Personally, I think one of the most annoying things about calling customer service is when you get transferred and have to keep announcing yourself, and explaining your problem, over and over again. Making note of a person’s name and the reason for their call and passing that info on to the Algonquin team member who’ll be helping them might seem like a little thing, but if it spares the client the aggrevation of restating their issue, I think it’s worth it.
Here at Algonquin, I think my interactions with clients and prospects also help promote one of our guiding principles – Honor. For us, honor is about listening and providing value and, as the first line of contact, I’m in a unique position to do both. It’s easy to think of the receptionist position at any company as a simple role that could be filled by almost anyone but it’s important to remember that your receptionist can be a valuable representative for your business and to treat the position as just that – an ambassador for your clients.