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The front office or reception is an area where visitors arrive and first encounter a staff at a place of business. Front office staff will deal with whatever question the visitor has, and put them in contact with a relevant person at the company. Broadly speaking, the front office includes roles that affect the revenues of the business. The term front office is in contrast to the term back office which refers to a company's operations, personnel, accounting, payroll and financial departments which do not interact directly with customers.
The front office receives information about the customers and will then pass this on to the relevant department within the company. The front office can also contact the marketing or sales department should the customers have questions. The company needs to give training to the front office manager as this position will come in contact with customers the most.
The most common work for the front office staff will be to get in touch with customers and help out internally in the office. Staff working at the front office can also deal with simple tasks, such as printing and typing tasks and sorting emails. Although front office staff might only need to perform tasks such as answering the phone, using the printer and fax machine, training is still needed on these tasks.
At hotels, front office refers to the front desk or reception area or the core operations department of the hotel. This would include the reception and front desk, as well as reservations, sales and marketing, housekeeping and concierge. This is the place where guests go when they arrive at the hotel. Employees working in the front office will confirm guest reservations and also attend to guest complaints and queries.
The employees who work in the lobby of the hotel are also part of the front office as they deal with guest directly. The concierge, cashier, porter, and mailing service are included in the front office.
In some sports, the front office usually gets in touch with the players and organises activities for them. The front office staff is usually the person who has the highest position in the sports team, who can control the whole team.
The front office staff might lack motivation sometimes as they do the same work repeatedly on a daily basis and usually their pay is the lowest compared to other staff. This is a very important fact to take note of as this might affect the profitability and efficiency of the company as this staff member will directly deal with customers the most. This staff member might have high stress levels as they might have to deal with bad-tempered customers and a lot of complaints, making it hard to maintain good services.
One of the biggest challenges that front office staff might face in the hotel industry would be over booking. These bad communication and organisation skills might lead to a bad reputation for the company and unsatisfactory services to customers.
Front office staff should receive continuous training as this will improve their customer service. Salary increases can also provide more motivation.
The phone system could be configured in such a way that the company can track the calls that are missed by the front office. This can help them get back to the customers as soon as possible.
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