It’s The Small Things

The great companies always pay attention to detail. I have read numerous times that Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ives would spend hours working on the boxes their products came in. They would hold the cover of an I-Pod box over the bottom of the box and just drop it seeing how long and how elegantly the top of the box would slide onto the bottom of the box. They even judged the sound it made. If you have one of these boxes, and I am sure you do, nobody can throw them away, try it, you’ll see what I mean.

Now that is pure elegance of design. I don’t know about you, but it always disturbs me that I have to destroy the box my HP printer cartridge comes in to get to the cartridge…that to me is the antithesis of elegance. You should not have to tear and destroy a  box to get to the product. It’s downright shameful!

Okay, now that I have that out of my system, let’s talk about another small thing that is to me much bigger and more important. And  that’s receptionists  Seth Godin recently wrote about this in the latest of his must-read books called The Practice

Full disclosure, I have always loved the idea of receptionists and have always had a deep appreciation for  what they do for a company, even  long before I read Seth’s words on the subject.

Now, I’m talking about the receptionists who are in many lobbies. I am not talking about  phone receptionists who are just as important. Don’t get me started on automated phone systems, we’ll save that rant for another day. 

To many people the role of the receptionist is not very important. To those people I can only say, get an imagination, open up your mind and read on.

As Seth points out,” A receptionist can have a huge impact on the marketing of an organization.” Yes marketing…I thought that would get your attention. The receptionist can actually influence the way the company is perceived and can actually influence the way the company does business.

Let’s remember that the receptionist is the face of the company. She is the first person that the visitor sees, and the first one who talks to a visitor to your company.

Let’s check out some examples of those lobby visitors: 

There is the job applicant who comes in for an interview. This person will be very attuned to the way they are greeted and treated. If the receptionist understands that this is a person whom the company wants to hire, treats the applicant with a welcoming smile and puts the applicant at ease, that person will always remember that when making the decision on whether or not to come to work for the company.

Or, how about the customer who is coming for a site visit? A great receptionist will make sure he knows they are coming, what company they are from, and what their names are. Nothing wins people over more than knowing and saying their names. Especially when they don’t expect it. A great receptionist will also make sure to know something about them so that she can allude to the city they are from, something that will personalize her greeting and make them feel comfortable. This will work especially well if the customer is not very happy with your company. A friendly receptionist will help to soften their mood.

Or, how about those tired old bag carriers among us. Those of us trudging from lobby to lobby selling our wares. Come on, we’ve all been there. There is nothing like a smiling friendly receptionist to welcome us back to her company. We all have had favorite receptionists in our careers. The one who not only remembers your name, and your company, but also knows who you are coming to see. What a difference that person can make in our daily lives in sales right?

And who can forget that receptionist who goes the extra mile to help you out when you are making that dreaded unsolicited sales call. The receptionist who tries to help you out, who not only spends time advising you about who you should see and the best time to make an appointment, but also offers you  some Hershey’s Peanut M&Ms on your way out. Remember how that feels?

If you do then you’ll truly understand why so-called small things like the kind of receptionist you have in your lobby, will make a great difference when it comes to how your company is perceived. It’s only common sense.

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