Receptionists and switchboard staff are very much on the front line. Whether on the phone or face-to-face, they are often the first point of contact for important customers, potential customers, suppliers and business partners. They also deal on a daily basis with all levels of the organisation and interact with a broad range of other people who have dealings with your business, whether on a regular or a one-off basis, some of whom are not that easy to deal with.

They have to do all this to a consistently high standard, mindful of the fact that they are the public face of the organisation. They have to be polite, engaging and efficient at all times and need to be able to deal with a wide variety of people and potentially difficult situations.This is all much harder than people think, which is why we have devised this very practical  programme specifically to help your team to deliver excellent front-of-house at all times. They are your key people and the organisation will be judged by the way that they treat every visitor and caller.

We have all had experience of really good and truly appalling service from front-of-house staff in offices, shops, restaurants, hotels and leisure facilities.  During this course they will experience what it is like to be ‘on the other side’ and consider how they can achieve World Class Front-of-House Service each and every time. 

Training Objectives

This course will help participants to:

  • Recognise the benefits of excellent front-of-house service and how essential it is to the reputation and success of the organisation
  • Understand that success means beating the competition and that the standard to be attained is high
  • Establish the characteristics of front-of-house professionals and the importance of working as a team to project the right image at all times
  • Identify any gaps between current service provision and World Class Front-of-House Service including future learning needs
  • Create a personal action plan with measurable objectives for application back in the workplace.


This programme will benefit all reception, switchboard and ‘front of house’ teams.


The programme begins with a fun, memorable and participative half-day workshop that is used as an introduction to three further competency-focused half-day modules. Participants will leave with new motivation and enhanced skills.

This programme uses a number of interactive, experiential and brain-friendly techniques to ensure that the event is memorable and fun.  The FM Guru Consultancy firmly believes that learning can be best embedded and applied when the learner is engaged in different activities and ways to learn.

Our courses are different, in that we create an inclusive, safe environment for the participants to share their experiences, and our facilitators challenge conventional ways of thinking to ensure the greatest chance of successful learning.

By injecting a fast-paced, dynamic range of facilitators with a wealth of experience, we do everything we say that we do.  We don’t do ‘powerpoint and waffle’ – we create transformational learning experiences that have a measurable impact on the future performance of those who engage with the process.

Workshop Outline

Module 1: Great People = Great Service

0900 – 1050

Session 1 – What does world class ‘front of house’ service look like?

  • Guardians of the reputation and success of the organisation
  • Characteristics, skills and qualities of good front-of-house people
  • Your role in representing the business and Beating the Competition
  • What are the benefits (to you, the team, the customer, the organisation)?
  • Defining your customers and your responsibilities to them
  • Handling  your customers in a professional manner

1110 – 1300

Session 2 – World-class front-of-house skills

  • Why is customer service so important?
  • What does world-class front-of-house service look like?
  • How does the current operation compare?
  • The seven core competencies world-class receptionists and switchboard operators
  • What do you need to succeed?
  • What will you do next?

Follow up modules will depend on the gap and skill requirements identified in module 1 but typically might include any of these 90 minute modules:

You don’t get a second chance when you’re ‘front of house’     

  • Projecting a professional image – being well presented
  • The importance of first impressions and how they stick
  • The power of perceptions
  • Maintaining a positive attitude and self-confidence
  • Understanding the principles of prioritisation, planning and organisation

Professional verbal and non-verbal communication skills

  • How we communicate – the psychology of interpersonal/intrapersonal exchanges
  • Why building rapport and trust with your customers and visitors is so important
  • Using effective listening skills and successful questioning techniques
  • Using body language appropriately – it’s not just what you say, it’s how you look
  • Professional etiquette and effective verbal communication – pitch, pace, tone, volume and articulation.

Dealing assertively with different people and handling difficult situations

  • How to look, sound and feel confident and assertive throughout the day
  • The four-step process for being more assertive
  • How to say ‘no’ – nicely!
  • Handling criticism assertively
  • Handling difficult situations and people
  • Identifying conflict handling strategies that will work ‘front-of-house’

 Maintaining security and health and safety

  •  How to handle potential security issues
  •  The importance of being observant
  •  Knowing how to respond quickly and getting help quickly
  • Giving an accurate safety awareness briefing and the importance of health and safety
  • Making visitors aware of fire evacuation procedures and the importance of wearing visitor identification pass visibly at all times

Professionally Handling the Telephone & Caller

  •  Taking and recording messages accurately
  • Your voice – what does it tell the caller about your company?
  • The importance of clarity and brevity
  • Receiving, placing and re-directing calls
  • Screening calls – handling unwanted calls
  • Dealing with difficult callers – remaining calm and professional
  • Getting the most from enquiries and knowing your company’s business
  • Using discretion

Dealing Effectively With Email

  • Write clear, concise and correct emails which create the right reactions from everyone reading them
  • Use email effectively and efficiently as a communication medium
  • Avoid all the common ’email errors’
  • Build relationships with people via email and generate commitment and motivation
  • How to structure an email –  layout, appearance and ‘readability’
  • Clarifying the core message, forwarding techniques and closing positively