Despite advances in office technology and hybrid working, the role of the traditional receptionist is still alive and well, according to a new survey by global communications leader, Moneypenny.
82% of the UK businesses surveyed*confirm they still have a receptionist at their office, and 82% believe they will still have one in five years’ time.
However, those without a dedicated receptionist said they call on the security team (55%), tech-based visitor check-in tools (48%), anyone who is available (31%), a junior member of staff (24%) or a combination of these to fulfil the role - which could be damaging for first impressions of a business.
In those businesses with a receptionist, the survey suggests the role has changed significantly, as 52% said receptionists’ duties have expanded over the last five years and 42% said the role is less paper-based, using more technology instead.
The findings also show that receptionists are being called on to perform a multitude of tasks beyond just answering calls. Their top responsibilities are answering calls (52%), welcoming guests (45%), diary management (36%), supporting other departments (33%), managing post (33%), room booking (24%), arranging lunches (22%) and PA duties (21%).
The survey also suggests that receptionists’ wide ranging skills are increasingly leading to lateral moves to other areas of a business, which is perhaps a reflection of the widespread talent shortage affecting most sectors. Receptionists often move into roles such as administrative assistant (44%), office manager (37%), HR assistant (35%), customer service representative (31%), broader facilities/concierge (31%), sales and marketing (28%) and project manager (27%).
Bernadette Bennett heads the legal sector at Moneypenny and works with more than 1,000 UK law firms – the majority of which employ receptionists to manage front of house client care and call handling.
She said: “These findings confirm what a lot of legal firms already know and that’s just how important receptionists are to the smooth running of business life. But while it’s great that receptionists’ skills are being channeled into other roles, firms need to be careful not to spread this resource too thinly. It could compromise the very thing receptionists are there to deliver – which is an exceptional first impression and first class customer care.”
Joanna Swash, CEO of Moneypenny said: “We were pleased to see that the importance of the receptionist role is still acknowledged by the vast majority of our survey respondents, as first impressions are so important for a business. Let your receptionist be brilliant and give their role the attention and respect that it deserves. They are the critical first impression of your business, after all. We’d advise any business to recognise the true value receptionists add, and if they don’t have the resource available, to consider outsourcing to companies that can provide a dedicated service from specially trained professionals to support their in-house receptionist.”
Moneypenny handles more than 2 million calls and chats each year for more than 1,000 law firms in the UK, including 75 of the Top 200, thanks to its dedicated team of legal receptionists.
Established in 2000, Moneypenny is the world's market leader for Telephone Answering, Live Chat, Outsourced Switchboard, and customer contact solutions. More than 21,000 businesses globally benefit from Moneypenny’s mix of extraordinary people and ground-breaking technology.
For more information about how Moneypenny supports the legal sector, visit: https://www.moneypenny.com/uk/legal-answering-services/