Friendly customer service at the front desk is essential to a business.
Providing excellent customer service is the most important thing a front-desk clerk does, but the definition of the term differs depending on the type of business where the desk is located. Customer service duties in a hotel are not the same as in a salon or fitness center, but the methods for providing superior customer service are the same regardless of the industry.
As the first person most customers see, front-desk clerks need to represent their companies with professionalism and friendliness. A polished appearance and an obvious willingness to help set the tone for a customer’s experience. Greet customers with a smile and immediately ask how you can help.
Regardless of the setting, most clerks direct customers to somewhere else — a hairdresser, restaurant table or someone in the company — and there’s often a wait. Be honest about wait times, and don’t promise what might not be delivered. If you don’t know the answer to a question, honestly say so and inform the customer you’ll get the information.
Many things compete for attention at a front desk, from ringing phones to colleagues, but when a customer is in front of you, give her your undivided attention. Focusing solely on a customer’s needs gives the impression that customer service is a top company priority.
Smile with sincerity at every customer, but also pay attention to your body language, which can send negative signals. Stand straight without slouching, look customers in the eye and don’t sigh or roll your eyes at any point. Whether you’re sitting or standing, lean slightly forward to indicate attention.
Back up your smile with an outgoing, friendly personality. Being positive and cheerful can often overcome even the most gruff customer. Remain calm at all times, particularly with angry or flustered customers and show sympathy when it’s warranted.
A clean and organized work area gives a good impression. Provide welcoming touches in your lobby or waiting area, such as flowers and magazines. A reception area is a good place to introduce customers to the business, so keep company brochures, business cards or other materials handy.
Master all of the equipment used in the job, from telephone systems to reservation software. These are tools that help you focus on providing efficient service to customers, Learn the basics of your business so you can answer customer questions.
Answer phones cheerfully and professionally. If your company provides a script, follow it. If you’re helping a customer and need to answer the phone, excuse yourself politely, finish as expeditiously as possible and apologize for the interruption.
Learn the names of regular customers and call all of your customers by name, using a title such as Mr. or Mrs. unless asked to do otherwise. Offer little services that exceed expectations to impress customers, such as serving beverages, hanging up coats or recommending a service.
As the last person some customers may see, acknowledge their visit to leave a lasting final impression. Ask if there’s anything else they need, say goodbye and wish them a pleasant day.
- O-NET OnLine: Hotel, Motel and Resort Desk Clerks
- RISMedia: 5 Tips for Picking the Right Receptionist for Your Team
- Behind the Chair: The Reception Connection — How to Make Your Front Desk Work
- IHRSA: What to Look for in a Front Desk Employee
- Hcareers: Day in the Life of a Front Desk Clerk
- Restaurant Voice: Front Desk Hospitality — Frist Impressions Count
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