Ideas for improving your reception area and some ingenious front of house staff secrets…

The cream of London’s FOH Managers reveal valuable tips for ensuring your reception team make those all-important impressions

When it’s not busy…

When she has time our receptionist looks on the internet to see the pictures of the VIP clients arriving so she knows their names when they are in a group which they absolutely love and always mention her to the CEO
(From Sarah – FOH Staffing – Law Firm – West End)

Planning Ahead

Having clients’ travel details (because they’ve emailed ahead to say what time their flight lands with an ETA) Whilst they are in flight, one of the concierge team pings them an email offering to arrange any transportation to the office so this is seen as they check emails in baggage collect… and therefore offering a seamless journey on touchdown in London to the client offices.
Also – you should be checking the meeting room booking system for the week ahead, is everything confirmed? Do any changes need to take place?
(From Rebecca – Client Service Manager – Law Firm – City)


I organised for my team: not only an etiquette workshop to know how to treat Royalty but we have an international guide created by the team with tips on the different cultures.
(From Lara – Head of Guest Services – Investment Bank – Canary Wharf)

Silent Communication

Change the colour of booking when a host has been advised that clients have arrived. If another receptionist looks at the booking they know automatically the host has been informed.
(Otherwise the host can be informed more than once about their guest arriving as receptionists leave their desks and others take over.)
(Andrew – Client Services Lead – Communications Corporation)

A Screen Behind The Desk

This has room allocations for both internal and external rooms. This would show the host name, meeting title and which room had been allocated. It would not show individual client names. However it would come in handy if it showed company names particularly when a completion or mediation is taking place. When these meetings occur the host books several different rooms, each room is then allocated to each of the parties/companies attending.
(Amanda – Reception/Switchboard Manager – Law Firm – City)

It’s Very Important For Your Team To Know:

    • The best place for lunch or coffee, best bars, nearest banks, pharmacy, post office
    • Travel information on buses, trains, tubes and flight info. Print boarding cards etc.
    • Provide local maps and tube maps
    • Why not offer: Wifi codes/phone chargers whilst waiting in reception and some company information, short history on company, opening times
    • Have knowledge of events/theatre particularly for clients who are here for a few days

(Amanda – Reception/Switchboard Manager – Law Firm – City)


We have various colour blocks in the cloakroom. So when a big group of people come out with that coloured ticket, we know to go straight to that part of cloakroom which saves time. The tickets are also numbered. This is good because if someone loses their ticket you don’t have to trawl through the cloakroom, you go straight to that section.  We also have matching luggage labels which match their colour with the tag on the coat.
(Pauline Client Services Manager – Law Firm – Canary Wharf)


We now encourage our receptionists to move from behind their desks and assist clients instead of waiting for them to come to the desk.   We created a concierge position to assist with queue management.  Now we’re currently assisting the design team to create a reception area with a more approachable feel – creating pod desks as opposed to the traditional one long reception desk.
We will keep in informed of how this goes at the next forum….
(Jessica – Client Services Manager – Corporate Insurance Firm)

Cloakroom Solution No 2

One of my receptionists struggled to remember which coat belongs to whom; we have coat tags with numbers so when taking a coat we write the tag number down.
On a certain occasion five gents came for the same meeting, all wearing black coats, most lost their tickets. However we knew which was which because she noted the coat’s brand down too, i.e. Mr Smith, no.8 black Burberry.
(Joanna – Head Receptionist – Private Wealth Law Firm)

Phone Chargers

We have just installed a flat-bed multi phone chargers in every meeting room… Actually these were bought from the company who was at a previous FOHM Forum!! We’ll let you know how this worked at the next one….
(Kathy  – Facilities Coordinator – Corporate Law Firm – City)

Mobile Receptionist

Mobile Receptionists using Manhattan Mobile Receptionist app to complete sign in, with pre marked preferences/ tailored service details already uploaded to booking screen, ultimately delivering a seamless service to room by a host that will detail all facilities available.
This is all new – so once again – we’ll let you know how this works in operation at the next forum….
(From Rebecca – Client Service Manager – Law Firm – City)


When taking or giving coats/bags to guests, always better to walk infront of the desk instead of passing them over it.
During the Olympic games, we created a personalised map to give out. One side the tube network and the other the local area. This is still in use now and very popular.
On a rainy day, offer an umbrella to guests.
(Massimo – Corporate Law Firm – City)


Click Receptionist Needed to return to Client Page or Receptionist Agencies for the home page


Please share your stories and advice.

If you have any  anecdotes for our magazine section you would like to share with our readers, or FOH Management tips for improving the clients’ journey through your reception – we would love to hear from you – please contact us here