Administrative assistants are the face of the company. Clients and vendors get their first impression of the company from the person sitting behind the front desk or answering the phones. This can mean one of two things for your company. The experience an individual has with the company can be positive or negative depending on how the administrative assistant treats clients and vendors. Try and get to know your clients and what type of people they are. Some people like to share their life stories and make them feel like they are part of the family. Others may not be like that, they may be the, “let’s get down to business” type. You definitely want to be aware of your client’s personalities so that you may know how to best handle them.
When communicating with people face to face, you always want to try and have a welcoming presence. Show them that you are genuinely interested in what their needs are and what they are trying to accomplish. If you have what I like to call “the ugly face” or body language, it shows them that you are closed off and really don’t care what they need. This gives the client the impression that you are only there to collect a paycheck, and unfortunately that’s a reflection on your company and what the company is about. Be proud and confident of who you are and what you do, and you will definitely portray a better image for your company.
When communicating with people over the phone, you always want to have a “positive” or “nice voice.” It’s all in how you present yourself and what you are trying to convey. People tend to be more receptive to the “nice voice.” If you present yourself in a negative tone or manner then they will automatically put their guard up and will not be receptive to what you are trying to get across. As I have always been told, “you want to have a smile in your voice.” People can really tell if you have a smile in your voice or not. Another thing to try and remember is to know who they are, meaning their name. When answering the phone you may want to try and have a notepad handy so that you are able to write their name and company down so that you don’t have ask them after they have already told you. People in general do not like to repeat themselves, so you want to try and minimize that as much as possible. As a result, your client feels like you are really listening to them and their needs. I try to always say their name at least once or more in our conversation.
In conclusion, I believe the most important thing you can do as the administrative assistant is to be aware of how you are portraying yourself and your company.
Written by Jamie Macedo, Administrative Assistant