When visitors enter your office for the first time, your front of house staff is the first impression they get of your brand and company. It delivers an impression of your company’s values and personality and sets the tone for the preceding meeting or interview. It often provides stability and security through professionalism and dedication to the client’s company values.
At Acacia we are lucky to have a wide variety of client types, from bright and colourful Technology Companies to the industry’s leading Professional Services companies. With these differences in tone and personality, we have had to establish many different variations of the front of house service. Even with all this variety of tone and personality, we have come to rely on three key critical success factors for the process which we will share with you now.
Success Factor one – Establishing the Candidate Skill Profile
The role of the front of house team is broad, which can become a challenge during the hiring process as a lack of definition could lead to hiring a candidate who is suited for some aspects of the role, while not suited and lacking in skill for other parts of the role. The main reason you would want to avoid this happening is that it does lead to new hires not enjoying those aspects and possibly moving on to a position in another company; this incurs more hiring and training costs for new candidates.
We work with our clients to identify the specific duties expected very early in the process. We recommend prioritising the desired skills on a scale of one to five with a maximum number of duties decided upon. For skills marked at priority four and five, we agree with the client management team a budget for training up the new hire on these skills over time. As this is then established with the candidate during the hiring process, it will give them a good sense of progression and greatly reduce the chances of churn.
Success Factor Two – The Right Fit
Our Senior Account Managers work with our HR department to deploy the right fit resources into the key roles within our client facilities. As our clients come from varied backgrounds, they have a wide variety of company tone and personality. Fundamentally, however, the importance of a professional front of house service and customer service excellence across the breadth of services does not vary. There are many things we look for in a candidate, but our top three are as follows.
- Genuine Interest in the client’s company or industry is a key advantage to any potential recruit. It is very difficult to fake enthusiasm about a role, so learning to spot that and checking if the candidate has done their due diligence is always a good tactic. Sometimes while researching for the interview, the candidate will naturally become excited about the opportunity and spotting that and rewarding it with the job is always a great start.
- Communication Skills in today’s world are increasingly on the decline and for front of house it is all about personal interactions, both with guests and with colleagues. In our experience it is more about the active listening skills and the ability to absorb information and understand it, someone who is not scared to ask for more input, and someone who is comfortable in their own skills and abilities. Also, a pleasant disposition over the phone is obviously important. If your company sees a steady stream of people needing front of house assistance daily, you’ll want someone who knows how to personally interact with people in a polished and pleasing way.
- Technical Skills can sound like a bit of overkill for Front of House staff, but today everything is technical. In Acacia, the Front of House staff we deploy are highly proficient in the MS Office suite and are also trained up on our in-house Facilities Management software platform ‘Azolla’. It’s not a pre-requisite for many of our clients, but usually it’s a level four or five priority, so we always advise that more training may be necessary down the line.
Success Factor Three – Sufficient Resourcing
Another critical success factor in delivering consistent high-quality service is to ensure sufficient resourcing levels and the ability to self-cover. In our experience, insufficient cover and support and the lack of adequate support structures within the resourcing model can lead to disengagement within the team, lack of moral and subsequent challenges such as absenteeism, etc. This can be further exacerbated by the deployment of agency staff who are unfamiliar with the service and consequently can’t deliver to the same level. A significant level of time can be absorbed in recruiting and backfilling roles even on this temporary basis; time which is much better served adding value elsewhere.
Understanding the importance of a good front of house team is a great foundation to an excellent facilities process. We hope this article helps you when making decisions about your Front of House staffing. Please feel free to contact us for any advice or thoughts or if you are looking for some help in managing your company’s front of house and any other Facilities Services.