Once I heard someone make the suggestion that the highest paid people in a bank should be the cashiers, and the same should be true for receptionists – whether with a company or law firm. Can’t remember who said it, but I remember agreeing wholeheartedly. The reason is simple. Because of their interaction with customers/clients, receptionists can have an incredible impact on whether callers and visitors have a terrific experience when coming in contact with your firm, or whether it is a downer. The legal marketing impact is real.

There are three posts on this topic that you must read that tell the story better than I can of how important it is to have a top notch person in the role of official greeter. Promise yourself that you will read all three. First, look at Michelle Golden’s post, then Gerry Riskin’s and then Seth Godin’s, which started it all. They are definitely worth the read.

The posts may give you a different perspective on just how important your receptionist is to the impression your firm gives off.

So, how much do you pay your receptionist?

For my own best receptionist story….

I was visiting a small but prominent D.C. patent firm (they weren’t called intellectual property firms back then). While waiting for my meeting, I had some time to observe the receptionist. She was too casually attired IMHO (lawyers wore suits or dresses every day back then), quite overweight, and carried on conversations with other staffers as if I were on Mars (or is that Venus). She had a cigarette dangling from her lips (yeah, it was a while back) like a moll in an old James Cagney movie. But the kicker came when she walked out from behind her desk with the dangling weed SANS SHOES. Remember this was allegedly a prominent Washington firm. Obviously, that experience has made a lasting impression on me. But probably not the one the firm would have liked.