Fire the person who hired him or her. Over the years, I’ve told a few horror stories involving receptionists. Two that immediately come to mind, include: the cigarette dangling, shoeless one, and the one that told the caller to get lost

It has always amazed me that businesses, including law firms, would be so careless when it comes to placing a major part of their contact with the outside world in the hands of an uninteresting, bored, unpleasant person because they don’t have to pay them very much. I’ve even argued that the cashier in a bank should be paid more than the president, since they have the most meaningful contact with its customers. But I digress.

Seth Godin’s recent post on receptionists reminded me of just how important that position is to a law firm. After mentioning several different businesses, and how important new and referred business is, Godin states:

“Go down the list. Stockbrokers, even hairdressers. And not just people who recently moved. When a new referral shows up, all that work and expense, and then the phone rings and it gets answered by your annoyed, overworked, burned out, never very good at it anyway receptionist, it all falls apart.

“What is the doctor thinking when she allows her neither pleasant nor interested in new patients receptionist to answer the phone.”

What indeed! And why do some firms load up their receptionists with so much work that they don’t have the time or attitude to be good at what they were hired to do. Or, they may just be the wrong person for the job personality-wise. In that case, it isn’t their fault. The person who hired them is the one to blame. Fire them.