The 10 Rules of Engagement for “Directors of First Impressions”

Unless you answer your own phone and greet every client as they enter your office, people will often develop an opinion about you before you ever speak with them. Their first impression may actually be delivered by the receptionist or office staff member who greets them. These individuals can set the tone for the experience your clients and prospects will receive when working with you or your team.

To ensure that your clients have the best possible experience from start to finish, your office staff should be familiar with the “Rules of Engagement”:

  1. 1. Be able to wear multiple hats. There is more to being an office assistant than answering and transferring calls. You serve as the advisor’s confidante. Your roles may include office manager, team spokesperson and communication director. Clients who are having a bad day may want to vent when they call; can you be a good listener?
  2. 2. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Emotions are heard in your voice. Don’t be afraid to smile when you answer the phone. Your callers will appreciate it, and you might even brighten their day!
  3. 3. Build relationships. Get to know the clients. We are all busy, but at the end of the day, taking time to get to know your clients, nurturing those relationships and building trust are really what matter.
  4. 4. Be proactive. Anticipate the needs of your clients (and your coworkers). Be prepared to personally deliver messages, if there is a generational gap, for example, or offer other solutions if/when the advisor is not available for calls.
  5. 5. Know the jargon. You may not need to know everything the advisor knows about the business, but the more you know, the better the company/business looks.
  6. 6. Adapt your communication style. In dealing with clients, no two people have the same personality. Learning the most effective way to deal with different personalities will ensure success with your clients. In addition, sometimes the situation requires a different approach. For example, flight attendants will often be more formal when they have a plane full of business travelers and more jovial when a flight is carrying vacationers.
  7. 7. Be early. In our business, early is on time, on time is late. Some clients are early risers, and have been waiting for an hour to make their call. When a business claims opens at a certain time, that means it’s ready to do business, not getting ready. Have your coffee in hand and a smile on your face before the first calls.
  8. 8. Be able to multitask. An outstanding receptionist has to be able to hear, see and speak at the same time to three different people.
  9. 9. Be flexible. This industry is ever changing. Advisors have to adapt to change, and and it’s imperative that receptionists and office staff do likewise.
  10. 10. Push yourself to closing time. No matter what kind of day you’re having, you should provide the same level of service to the client who calls at 4:55 as to the first one of the day. Clients want and demand consistency, regardless of when they call or come to the office.

The selling process is a series of interactions, many of which begin with your receptionist and office staff. Make sure the process begins on a high note and continues through every interaction by having the best people on the front lines.

Misty Nelson is CreativeOne’s Reception Supervisor and one of the friendly voices and faces who greet our producers every day. She has been with CreativeOne since 2003. 


Related terms: Practice Management

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