The cream of London’s Corporate Reception Managers share ideas and solutions!

Here are a selection of Questions and Answers from the top London Law Firms and Investment Banks:

What happens to any food left over from client working lunches?

Do your AV team(the ones coming to help out on client floors) wear some kind of uniform?

What do you call your receptionists?

How do you deal with cold-callers ?

What was your best team building experience?

What was your worst team building experience?



What happens to any food left over from client working lunches?  

Do you allow staff to take it up to the working floors?  Yes we do

If so, do they take it on the platters and get in the lifts with clients with the food? We asked them to use the side lifts and not the client ones

What about H&C risks? Yes there are and we often ask our catering team to deliver the food on the floors whenever possible.

Yes we allow staff to take leftover food back to their desks or working areas however we help package it up nicely. The expectation is on them as adults to then stay tidy at their desks!

Do you allow staff to take it up to the working floors? No – lounge/kitchen area only and only food that is still safe to eat (though still at own risk)

We don’t deliver to the floors if the food in the rooms have been touched. The Pa’s are welcome to come down and take/ eat it take it from the room themselves. Yes they would take it in the main lifts ( but our clients use an escalator to reach us ) so no impact on the clients.

It is taken to our kitchen area and our Reception team call through to teams on each floor to advise (depending on how much is left over). We are not keen on office wide emails explaining there are leftovers.

Do you allow staff to take it up to the working floors? Yes

If so, do they take it on the platters and get in the lifts with clients with the food? Not on platters but encouraged to use the stairs

What about H&C risks? Food is disposed of after set times so it is not being left out for too long. Some is then also placed in our fridges.

The reception team have the option to take it and then it gets chucked away!

With regards to the left-over food question you ask, it is a tricky one.  Whilst we do not want lots of food waste we have to be mindful of the time the food has been out and if there is any doubt on safety it will be disposed of.

Sometimes a department will take left overs themselves back to their team following say a breakfast meeting where lots of pastries are left. 



Do your AV team(the ones coming to help out on client floors) wear some kind of uniform?

There are no uniforms for our AV team , however we ask them to dress smart wearing appropriate corporate clothes.

No uniform however generally they wear business attire.

No, they just have to dress in office smart clothes. Our receptionists don’t wear uniforms either though they wear formal office wear. Holding out against uniforms as it’s our policy not to set people apart.

Yes the AV technicians that work on the client floors wear a uniform.




What do you call your receptionists?

Client Services Assistants, Guest services Agents, Welcome Hosts

Front of House Administrators or Client Hosts

Guest Relations Co-ordinators

Front of house co-ordinators

Guest Relations Assistant.

Guest services, Guest relations, Business services, Client services

We are the gatekeepers 

Makers of Happy People

We have been toying with the Idea of introducing a Client Experience Manager as we are seeing more meeting rooms being offered out to our clients to use while in town. The reception team are handling these requests directly with the client, not through the PA’s.



How do you deal with cold-callers?

Unfortunately we do receive lots of cold calls too however we always put them through to specific contacts which we are advised on.

Some companies have a general email enquiry email address for such calls, this does of course mean you have to monitor it but it also acts as a deterrent. If people call and don’t have an actual name we don’t entertain the call but anyone can look at a website and obtain name information if they dig deep enough.

We have set up a fake voicemail box for IT and Facilities and put all calls through there. In general all our managers say that if it is a call they are expecting they would have their direct line number so they are not worried about losing any calls. The amount of cold callers is huge and to be honest this helps us as well as them as we don’t have to waste time on the call etc.

We get a lot of sales calls for our I.T department, we advise callers that we have a “no name policy” so if they don’t have the name of someone currently working in the department, we are unable to transfer their call. We are also registered on TPS (telephone preference service) so if the caller is extremely difficult or pushy, we do make it clear that we are registered for this service and as such they should not be calling without our consent – see link below for more information..

We inform that we operate a no name policy. If they wish, they can send any literature in the post addressed to the Facilities Department.

Our company runs a No Names Policy.

Here are some basic filtering techniques you can use to get the caller to disclose if they know the staff member or if they are trying to gain a direct sales call transfer through the switchboard:

  • Is …. expecting your call
  • Will ….know what this call is regarding?
  • I am required to announce the call, please let me know the nature of the call for announcement purposes

NOTE – If you believe the call to be a sales call, take the person and company name and announce the call to the internal member staff explaining that you believe this might be a sales call: the internal member of staff may request not to take the call. If you are required to do this, please tell the caller that the internal member of staff is not available to take the call.

It’s an art that must be learnt. These “cold-callers” are only trying to do their job, however irritating they may be, and I refrain from remedies such as having one’s calls screened because I get to keep my ear to the ground and know what’s going on.

So in my last life, my deputy and I used to keep a league table of how fast you could get rid of a cold-caller while remaining completely polite. I think our personal best was around 32 seconds. Excellent.

We have a drop box we send cold calls to. Alternatively we ask callers to email a generic email box monitored by BD.


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What was your best team building experience?

Last year we played ‘it’s a knock out’ we had all sorts of inflatable’s, dressing up, puzzles, obstacles etc. This is when you really saw team work at its strongest there were people there of all ages and abilities and everyone helped each other out. Everyone still talks about it to this day!

Cooking or chocolate making masterclass.

A day at Longleat (including safari) 

Escape rooms – brilliant fun and very challenging.  It really does make you work as a team and brings out the competitive side of the least competitive people!

Getting drunk!!!

Building our own manual cars, which we raced…

Once a year we would do a “job swap day”, It made people understand each other’s jobs and the different challenges we faced in our day to day jobs. One of the directors covered reception and switchboard but only lasted 1 hour! From that moment on he had a new found respect for our team. I was always moaning above the Post Room so went into the department for the day. I was exhausted by the end of the day and never complained again about them.

A treasure hunt throughout the building going into different departments having to get clues from staff. The team got a full understanding of where everything was in the building plus working together to win the prize! Which as I remember was a bag of sweets (very disappointing).

We went to a big Hospitality fare in Hamburg to check out all latest trends for 5 star hotels, corporate receptions, etc.

Gin tasting.

I’d just started on the Marks and Spencer Management Training Scheme they chose 6 people from different parts of the country and sent us off on a two week trip aboard a tall ship, each going at a different time of the year, as the ship made it’s way round Britain. 

What was quite frightening – having to climb to the crows nest and man the rigging to show you’re coming in peace and not manning your guns as Tower Bridge opens for you – at least I could swim, unlike the girl I was partnered with!      

However, we got June, no wind, we motored a lot of the way round the south of England – had a bbq on the beach in Alderney, visited Amsterdam, went up the Thames and were entertained by the Brazilian naval training ship moored next to HMS Belfast.

Needless to say, my response to being sent on it was the most positive and enthusiastic, though not sure about the hammocks and all in one oilskins when you’re claustrophobic!

Team Building Fun  –   Christmas  Drinks trolley and Pizza –   
Quiz  with  Hotel Chocolate prizes . The questions were all related to reception, How many meeting rooms we had, the last working day of one of our long standing receptionist, which receptionist eats the most, extension numbers for certain departments – security , post room,   when we started wearing our new uniforms etc.   We finished with charades, team building is always embraced with more enthusiasm during the festive periods. 

‘Eagle of the Hour’. Given that Barclays’ logo is an eagle, we bought an Eagle soft toy and nominated the team member that led our morning briefing that day as ‘Eagle of the Hour’. Every hour a team member would nominate the next ‘Eagle’, deliver it to them and email the team their reason, tying it in with Barclays’ values. Putting the power in the team members’ hands meant they all had some fun, we had some lovely, personal messages sent by team members, got to know a bit more about the team and what makes them tick.

We were given some balls to play with.
The tennis ball challenge. One bin and we had to shoot the balls into the bin….timed! All to do with output and productivity! We were given a box with various materials in there.It was great fun! The whole room adopted my idea of loading as many balls into a bag and dropping them into a bin. Tennis ball challenge! Check it out! The session at Claridges which ended up with us swigging a lot of bubbles!

We went on an adult size BALL PIT. The company was mainly 20-40 year old males who really enjoyed jumping around a pit full of balls. (Men) It may not have gone down so well if the dynamics of the office was different. (I’m sure)

An exclusive boat hire in Henley-on-Thames (OPEN BAR and canapes!!!) and the sun was out!

The best team building activity I took part in was a “Colour me beautiful” session when our manager was trying to make a point about appearance and grooming.  She showed up to the Saturday session in an outlandish outfit, hair in plaits like she came off a Swiss mountain. 
We got the point. 
She engaged a professional company to come along and carry out a presentation followed by personal styling which gave us all great ideas on what would suit us best in relation to our individual colouring, size and shapes. They gave examples of celebrities that matched those shape types and what they’d wear, bearing in mind they are styled by the best in the industry. We all came away feeling much better about ourselves, delighted with the guidance and expertise.

Clarins workshop with free samples and money to spend on products as well as fizz to drink!

I chartered a yacht for the day on the Solent. There were about 8 of us and you get a qualified skipper for the day with your yacht. So while it’s obviously great fun, it also demonstrates how teamwork can be essential to get the results you’re after. With a yacht it’s quite extreme because if you don’t work as a team, needless to say the results can be quite catastrophic, and can even be fatal!! And the cost?
It cost about £130 per person for the day.

An escape room would be a great way of getting people to work together and support each other.

I asked everyone to write down something about themselves that no one would know. I then randomly read out each revelation and we as a group had to guess who had submitted it. It was a good ice breaker and everyone was in good spirits before discussing the team meeting agenda.



What was your worst team building experience?

Bonding days people didn’t like, in case they’re suggested again:

Four hours of customer service training in a hot room without air-conditioning.

Carnival drum beating – headaches all round.

Go Carting – half the team off with injuries

Painting a room (I think the MD just needed their house decorating)

We did an honesty game, where we had to go around the reception team telling each other one positive and one negative thing about themselves. Within five minutes half the team were crying and two had to be physically restrained from hitting each other. We were given a cup of herbal tea, a tepid pizza and put on a bus home.  If we found it hard working together before, now it was open warfare!


If you are interested in attending one of our Reception Managers Forums, you can find more details in our Client section.

Visit Receptionist Needed to find out about Londons best recruitment agency for the very best Front of House staff.

For all kinds of useful tips and information, reviews of services and almost everything you could need to know about reception and reception mangement, please have a look at our Front of House Magazine