Your Website: The Friendly Receptionist

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Graphic of a receptionist behind a desk talking to two customers with text reading "Your Website: the Friendly Receptionist"

This blog was originally posted in 2011 and has been updated for 2019.

Think about a business you love to frequent simply because, well, they’re friendly.

Two businesses that come to mind for me are Chick-fil-A and Publix. They’re always friendly, inviting, and ready to help!

Customer-friendly businesses are those that acknowledge you, welcome you, and let you know they’re glad you’re there. They do it so well that you just can’t help but feel good, and then you find yourself going back again and again.

Let’s translate that into the online world.

As the first point of contact for your customers, your business’s website should be like a friendly, knowledgeable receptionist.

For potential clients and customers, your website is indicative of the type, quality, and style of work you do, or product you offer. You need to come across as a customer-friendly business so they know you’re friendly, inviting, and ready to help.

What you don’t want to do is present potential clients and customers with a sloppy, unfriendly website that has poorly-thought-out navigation, in addition to missing or confusing information.

That’s equivalent to having a cold receptionist whom clients and customers are afraid to approach because she’s not nice — borderline mean, in fact — and always acts like they’re bothering her any time they try to make contact.

You wouldn’t hire an employee like that, so why in the world would you have a website like that?

Don’t turn away potential clients and customers. Invite them in!

Here’s how.

Be Friendly & Knowledgeable 

The Friendly Receptionist (which is what we’re going to call your website from here on out) would not be very good at her job if she acted friendly but was completely uninformed. Similarly, the best-designed website is no good if the information isn’t easily accessible, concise, and above all, pertinent.

Many businesses want to include every tiny detail about their business on their website so they can reach as many clients and customers as possible. Sure, that can work if you want to sell hair products. People would want to know what the product was, how it worked, and what its ingredients were. But if 90% of your business is hair cuts, not hair products, then the hair product information shouldn’t be the main focus. After all, it’s not what you primarily sell.

A better approach is to think like a customer.

Assume that your website is The Friendly Receptionist. What information should she have readily available?

Be Inviting

Remember how we started this post talking about businesses you love to frequent because they’re friendly, inviting, and ready to help?

Now think about the opposite — businesses you prefer to avoid because they’re unfriendly, cold, and disinterested in assisting (or completely uninformed).

There’s a lot of them out there, and we’re all familiar with The Unfriendly Receptionist. Maybe she knows everything about everything but is so unfriendly, cold, and clearly not interested in helping that you’d rather figure things out on your own — or go somewhere else! — than approach her.

That’s how some websites are. They can have the best information available, but if their website is unfriendly or cold, you’d rather figure things out on your own, or simply go elsewhere.

This problem is just as serious as the lack of information on an otherwise “friendly” site. How can The Unfriendly Receptionist help anyone — or make you any sales! — if no one wants to approach her?

Don’t let that be your website.

Remember: You want potential clients and customers to feel good and find themselves coming back again and again.

So be inviting! Be customer-friendly. Make them feel welcome and like they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be to get just what they were looking for, and maybe more.

Be Helpful & Caring 

The best websites have what you need in a “wrapper” — they’re friendly, inviting, and ready to help (not to mention, easy to use and full of relevant information). Why are these things so important?

Because a customer-friendly website tells your potential clients and customers that you care about them.

Think about your favorite businesses, your favorite brands. Do they make you feel good? Of course they do! You wouldn’t like them if they didn’t.

We want to feel like the businesses we interact with truly care about us and our satisfaction. And at the end of the day, that’s what The Friendly Receptionist should be doing for your potential clients and customers.

To recap, your website should be:

  • Friendly
  • Knowledgeable
  • Inviting
  • Helpful
  • Caring

At Design Extensions, we want our potential clients — and current clients! — to feel good on every interaction with us, and we want them to know that we care about them and their satisfaction. Because we really do.

That’s why we always adhere to the principles of The Friendly Receptionist when designing and building websites. If you need some help getting your business’s website there so your clients and customers will keep coming back and start recommending you to everyone they know, get in touch! Our team is the best in the business, and we’d love to help.

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