Creating a good first impression

      

Creating a good first impression

Adam -blog"Make a good first impression" was my mother's mantra when growing up and to some extent it has stuck with me into the business world.  But often companies overlook perhaps the most important area where they could and should be making a good first impression - the reception. They're the meeter, the greeter and most importantly the telephone operator.  It's a vital part of company's operations and getting it right is critical in order to deliver excellent service and effectively represent your organisation's brand.

But getting a reception right is not easy.  One of the main challenges is that calls volumes are never constant.  They are variable and unpredictable - there are peaks and troughs throughout the day, week and year.  So getting the balance right is key as staffing to cover busy periods is costly yet if there are too few people to handle the calls customers don't like being left waiting or on hold for lengthy periods.

Secondly, even the most dedicated and well-trained receptionist only has one pair of hands and isn't able to answer two calls at once, or deal with the important customer who has just arrived simultaneously with a telephone call.  Then there's the receptionist's lunch break that needs covering (which may coincide with a peak call period), holiday leave and sickness absence. Pulling other employees off their usual tasks to provide cover at such times is not the ideal option and not the best use of their time and expertise.

So what do you do?  Employ temporary staff?  Yes, that's an option but it's a costly one both in terms of wages and training time, not to mention the potential unreliability and lack of expertise.  Not ideal, especially when the pressure to reduce costs without compromising on service or ones brand values is ever increasing.

There is, of course, the option to outsource your company's inbound telephone calls.  This can guarantee that callers are not kept waiting and that all calls are handled professionally and promptly.  There is the additional benefit that this frees up the in-house team to meet and greet visitors and create a great first impression to people visiting the company. 

But selecting the right outsourced partner is the real key to success.  It's vital that the partner is the right one as they will be representing your brand.  To get the best results, take some time to brief them on your business, on how you like your calls answered and even who your more important clients are.  This will ensure that you have great brand ambassadors at the end of the phone who reflect your company's values and ethos.

We make it our business to get to know your business, its operations, its products, its people and its way of working.  In this way, our call handlers can deliver a seamless service so that clients don't even know they are located remotely.  And the service can be tailored to individual requirements with calls either being diverted or messages taken and relayed via SMS or email as requested.

The service is flexible too - it can be used simply to deal with calls when the inhouse reception is under pressure right through to a fully outsourced service dealing with each and every incoming call.  Or perhaps used to manage calls generated from a particular marketing campaign or new service offered.

Whatever system is chosen, it is all about striking the right balance between reception costs and maintaining excellent standards of customer service that match a business' needs and brand values.  This balance seems best achieved with the help of a supportive outsourced partner.  But choose that partner well as you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Written by Adam Tilson at 09:30

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