Receptionists: Advocates or Saboteurs?

We use two local veterinary practices: Our feline pet ‘CatMandu’ is registered with one and the latest edition to our family, Bob the Jack Russell, is registered at the other. Both practices run 24 hour services, however, one is a 10 minute drive away while the other is across the road. At the time we adopted Catmandu the benefits of 24 hour emergency care, being just across the road, hadn’t really occurred to us but we decided not to move him because the service had been great and I am a loyal customer to those that care.

Recently we phoned to make an appointment for a poorly CatMandu but cancelled it a few days later when he made a miraculous, divine like recovery. My other-half had made the original appointment and I had been the one to cancel it. Afterwards, we both recounted the aloof, accusatory and supercilious nature of the way the receptionist had spoken to us and, later on, with several others, we pondered over the reasons why so many receptionists seem to demonstrate similar traits.

Receptionists are the ambassadors for the business, they are the first and last point of contact a customer has. They have the ability to build loyalty and revenue but they also have power to do the opposite. Why do so many receptionists insist on sabotaging business with their curt telephone manner, impatience and lack of warmth? Is it because they don’t feel their roles are respected enough? Is it lack of awareness and training? Is that they shouldn’t have been recruited for the role in the first place?

In short, the consequences of aloof receptionists are obvious. Are they not? Why would l keep CatMandu at this practice now when the other is more convenient?
Every business has ‘receptionists’. If you run a restaurant your receptionists are your waiters. If you run a pub they are your bar staff. If you run a team of people it may be wise to look at your ‘receptionists’ and ask yourself (or us!) who are your advocates and who might be your saboteurs!?