How to be a good front desk receptionist
…and get promoted.
Written by the FOH manager of one of the largest corporate teams in London.
I left school with Very basic O Level Maths, English and Drama; I wanted to be an actress. Attended Drama school in the evenings and got myself an agent, did the odd photo story and advert, I was always a very confident youngster and very theatrical, if I’m honest, a real Drama Queen, but I needed to earn money as I was also attending college on day release training to be a Hairdresser.
I actually started temping with no admin experience or qualifications, other than common sense.
Tea lady was my first temping role at a very large Accountancy firm, I worked closely with the reception team and within a week I was covering a 6 month maternity cover on the reception desk.
My next temping role I was sent to, I had already applied for the permanent position the previous week in a large Law Firm near Liverpool St. I was offered the permanent position in the same week after the first day of temping.
I seemed to be on a roll and really enjoyed the customer service focus, Id found what I really felt comfortable doing.
Four years on and the economic climate took a dip, the company decided to cut hours and staff, two of us were made redundant, last in first out.
I applied for my next role in an even larger law firm and was successful where I stayed for 6 years and bagged a Husband too.
I worked the permanent late shift in this role, so after 6 years of burning the midnight oil, I decided to see if I could make it in the Banking world of FOH, which was very different, “A Play Hard Work hard” environment, which I really enjoyed, it was a much larger team, I made friendships there that are still very strong and evident in my life to this day.
Sadly all good things must come to an end and we were outsourced.
On the promise of a training role, I stayed but unfortunately the company were very new within the FOH business and it soon became evident that I needed to move on as the lack of customer service they were asking us to provide was an inferior service to what I had become accustomed to and built up over my career, I didn’t want to work for a company where this was not a number 1 priority.
Three of my colleagues had moved to a magic circle Law firm and were buzzing with the attention to detail focusing on the whole client experience, I left the Banking world and never looked back. I came to the best role I would ever imagine and major career changing moments.
After two years I was made up to Team Leader, looking after our brand new prestigious Conference suite, I was in heaven! I worked hard stayed long hours and presented myself for any projects that I could. I was promoted to Supervisor, reporting to the FOH manager. (if you need tips on getting promoted – check out the receptionist guide-book.) When she left to go on Maternity leave I was unsure if I felt strong enough to step into her shoes, with trepidation I was thrown in at the deep end when her temporary cover fell through, I was dealing with budgets, upgrades, recruitment issues, new systems implementations, tenders & mangers meetings. Phew, I learnt very fast and very quickly lots of new processes and ways of managing all kinds of scenarios.
I was working really hard to up my game & fully succeed in this role But I had an amazing team to back me . After a year my Manager returned from Maternity leave and I was promoted instantly promoted to assistant manager, where I am today… so it does just show a bit of hard work and determination always gets rewarded in the end! There are lots more examples of FOH managers in London who have written their how-I-got-promoted-stories here.
So – to answer the questions – “How to be a good front desk receptionist” – first get that corporate reception job with one of London’s receptionist agencies