Does your office need a receptionist?
According to a report, there are over 1,532,853 receptionists currently employed in the United States.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the median pay for receptionists is $29,950 per year.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations were forced to look for an alternative to a dedicated person sitting at the front desk to greet employees and visitors.
A robust visitor management system can fill the role of a receptionist by providing an awesome visitor experience, notifying hosts when they have visitors and collecting useful data.
Can we really think about the reception without a receptionist? The receptionist is the face of your organization. She greets your visitors and employees with a smile and says a cordial ‘Hello’that can make their day.
So, talking about a receptionist-less reception means doing away with the crucial first contact with your visitors.
While it is possible to do away with the receptionist by going 100% digital, we think a completely receptionist-less office is not the way to go.
The Reception & the Role of the Receptionist
A beautifully designed reception with an approachable receptionist always sets the stage for the upcoming interaction the visitor will have with the company.
A bustling reception indicates the energy of the company. A friendly and welcoming receptionist who makes the registration process smooth can help form a lasting positive impression in the minds of the visitors.
The receptionist wears many hats, like:
- Welcoming and performing visitor orientation
- Maintaining security and acting like a gatekeeper
- Handling and coordinating package deliveries and acceptances
- Handling both internal and external calls
- Attending to employee needs
- Ensuring office supplies are replenished on time
- Coordinating meeting room arrangements
- And in some cases, doubling up as the secretary to senior management roles
All these tasks are crucial to the effective functioning of the organization.
What Receptionists Don’t Like
We asked receptionists working in various organizations about their jobs and pain points. The most usual complaints are as below:
Coordinating meetings and resolving conflicts
Many receptionists said that the issue of scheduling meetings and resolving conflicts is a major time waster.
The need to field calls, re-prioritize room allocation, confirm meetings, remind organizers and ensure room preparation consumes a lot of time away from other important activities. They spend about 30% – 40% of their time on this activity.
Registration of visitors
Another pain point is that the receptionist may not be aware of the visitor who arrives at the office and needs to gather information from the visitor before calling the host.
In some cases, the host may not pick up the phone and the receptionist has to go look for him/her, leaving the visitor waiting. This certainly does not form a good impression. Receptionists spend another 10% – 15% of their time on such activities.
The Reception-less Office
When a visitor arrives at a receptionist less reception, he/she will need to self-register using the tablet mounted on the kiosk.
Once the visitor has registered, he/she will have to wait till the host is notified. While this sounds futuristic, it also feels cold. There is no human interaction.
By adopting digital technologies, you can make visitor management smooth and efficient. However, using digital tools at the right place, for the right purpose is essential to creating a brand that is reflective of the company culture.
The Ideal Reception
Having understood how a receptionist is crucial to the functioning of the office and what it would look like to have a receptionist-less office, it is important to ask the question – what constitutes an ideal reception?
From our experience of talking to several receptionists at our customer’s offices, the ideal reception will still be one with a human face behind the desk.
With a visitor management system in place, the receptionist’s tasks are more focused and his/her role is more clearly defined.
The best approach to creating an ideal reception is to offload all the non-value-adding tasks from the receptionist’s plate so they can focus more on being the brand ambassador of the company.
For example, having a room and desk booking system that delegates the task of booking meeting rooms, desks and other resources to the employees themselves, can be a game changer.
An integrated visitor management system allows employees to enter the details of expected visitors. It also has a dashboard for the receptionist to know who all are coming and where to direct them. This helps the receptionist to welcome visitors and register them as quickly as possible.
The system will automatically notify the host, informing him/her that their visitor has arrived.
With the touch screen device mounted on the kiosk in the lobby, employees can know which workspaces are available and can book the space themselves. These activities free up close to 40% to 55% of the receptionist’s time so that they can focus on activities that bring greater value to the organization.
It will be rather strange to have an empty lobby without a receptionist. Instead, the receptionist’s role can change when the visitor management system is in place. The receptionist can perform more value-added tasks such as:
- Interacting with visitors and having meaningful conversations with them while they wait for the host
- Addressing ad-hoc inquiries and
- Providing visitors with a positive experience and enhancing the company’s brand perception
Receptionists can even help orient the visitor to the company and its products, in the process becoming brand ambassadors for the company and forming that crucial first impression of a warm, welcoming and friendly organization.