Team in the Spotlight: Reception

sofico receptie 2

Each week we put a team in the spotlight, explaining the team's duties and responsibilities. This week: Reception with input from Ana (Mexico), Florence (France), Gerda (Belgium), Hiromi (Australia), Katrien (Belgium), Kay (Australia), Naomi (Japan), Samanta (Germany). 

Q1: Is receptionist your full-time job or do you combine it with other roles? 

Ana: FAMS, HR, learning coach and right now I am helping with legal documentation and paperwork to bring our new country representative to Mexico. 

Florence: As we don’t receive many visitors in Sofico Services France, the receptionist represents only 5% of my job. I combine it with F&A, office management, translations, and some HR tasks too, I am a multi-tasker 😉 

Gerda: I’ve been working at Sofico’s reception since 2005. Being a receptionist is a full-time job, but it comes with many responsibilities. We combine manning the reception with many other tasks. 

Hiromi: My main role is Finance. Post COVID, Office Manager position was made redundant here in SSA, hence Kay and I are filling in to perform the tasks, including ‘receptionist’ duties. 

Katrien: Receptionist is our full-time job, but we support a lot of teams. 

Naomi: I’m an office manager in SSJ and do multiple tasks: HR, Finance support, Web site, office supplies, SYS support. 

Q2: You do a lot more than welcoming visitors and answering the phone. What are your other tasks and responsibilities? 

Ana: Well, I think that a receptionist only greets customers and review the agenda, but we do so much more, that is why we are administrators.  

Gerda (depicted): At the reception, we are the first contact with the company. We welcome visitors and answer incoming calls. But in fact, we are responsible for a wide range of supporting administrative tasks. Under normal circumstances, we spend most of our time arranging 'Business Travel'. We also take care of the registration of visitors, keep an eye on the maintenance of the building and parking spots, check availability of meeting rooms, arrange catering, order office supplies, approve and process incoming invoices, send outgoing invoices, etc.  

Katrien: You can call us a Jack(ie) of all trades: welcoming a visitor, while the phone is ringing, a colleague is standing at your desk to inform you that the coffee machine is broken, and a supplier is waiting for you to open the garage for example. 

Kay: Kitchen and stationery ordering, ensure the office is clean and tidy, planning and arranging Internal office activities. 

Q3: What is the most satisfying aspect of your job? 

Ana: I think that the most satisfying aspect of my job is that this is not a static job where you just warm your seat and get older. These two years have been challenging, dynamic, the workload and the responsibilities have been increasing with time and so the expertise. I feel that I am really building a career inside a company. 

Florence: The most satisfying aspect of my job is when colleagues appreciate the little things I do for them (book extra-legs seat in a plane or single seat in the train) or simply thank me for my job. My job is very interesting because of its variety of tasks with different services and persons. So, I don’t have time to get bored. 

Naomi: There is always something going on. Sometimes, suddenly, I get a message for help or support. Sometimes I need to solve things urgently. Sometimes I have new tasks and need to search and learn about them. So, it is difficult to choose the most satisfying aspect of my job, because I am enjoying the variety so much. 

Q4: Your job brings you in contact with many different people, do you have any anecdotes to share? 

Florence: In France, we have a loan company named Sofinco, so sometimes, people are calling about their loans. 

Gerda: A very memorable experience was when Sofico won the award for being the ‘most customer-friendly office in the greater region of Ghent’. This award was based on the contact customers had with our reception and it is something we’re still very proud of. 

Hiromi: I had a call for a wrong number from an elderly person who was hard of hearing. It took so long to end that call because I didn’t want to be super rude to that person.

Kay: I had a wrong number call from an old lady who didn't speak English, only Spanish. I had to find a colleague in the office who can speak Spanish to help her. 

Q5: Is there anything your Sofico colleagues can do to make life easier for you? 

Ana: Just keep up the spirit and the team efforts. 

Gerda: We are often expected to perform multiple tasks at a quick pace. We do the best we can to provide a friendly and professional service, but it’s appreciated that colleagues show a bit of patience: we have only 2 hands 😉 

Katrien: Stay/be positive 😊

Q6: We are all very thankful for screening our calls and keeping cold call salespeople from interrupting our work. How do you deal with them? 

Gerda: We are frequently approached by headhunters. They try very hard to get through and sometimes call us up to 10 times a day. They are often not ashamed to pretend that they call for personal reasons and even use another company’s name to convince us. 

Hiromi: If the call sounds obviously from a call center or automated voice call, I just hang up.  If they are too friendly and cheerful, I get suspicious and I am normally right, they are marketers or sellers. 

If they ask for ‘Mr. Koenraad’ or struggle to pronounce his last name, they are definitely selling something. 

If they just ask for ‘Koenraad’ and briefly explain what they are after, they do a very good job trying to get through!  (yes, some of them successfully get through to Koen)   

Katrien: 85% of the calls we get are cold calls, aggressive recruitment agencies, salespeople of any kind, … Most of the time I stay annoyingly friendly. 

Naomi: When I get strange calls from overseas, I suddenly speak only Japanese or very bad English. 


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