Front desk burnout: why it happens and how to avoid it

Front desk burnout: reeceptionist looks sad and stressed out at desk

Receptionists and front desk workers are invaluable first points of contact for customers and clients. They are your first impression-makers, setting the stage for the customer experience that follows.

Yet they rarely get recognized for the importance of their roles, do they? And they (almost) never get enough consideration when it comes to their well-being! Rather, they’re expected to show up on time, do a great job—and be as “low maintenance” as humanly possible.

Alas, those front desk workers are people who experience the same physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion as the rest of your team. They take care of your business—and it’s time to make sure they’re well taken care of in return!

With that in mind, let’s look at front desk burnout and how your business can prevent it.

Front desk staff stay busy.

At most businesses, front desk workers are juggling cats and making it look easy.

From greeting visitors and handling calls to scheduling appointments, entering data, sending emails, managing deliveries, ordering supplies, filing records, and keeping the office tidy, they’re masters of multitasking.

But that requires a nonstop state of vigilance which takes a toll over time. Long story short, they need a mental break on occasion. Wouldn’t you?

Customer-facing jobs are taxing.

If you’ve never served in a customer-facing position—count your blessings!

Customers come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. They can be friendly, finicky, capricious, or even downright ornery.

So your front desk workers are on the frontlines every day, adapting like chameleons to engage each person who calls or walks in with professionalism and tact (regardless of how demanding those people might be).

If you’ve never done a job like that, put yourself in their shoes. It’s easy to see why they need time to decompress and compose themselves, so they can maintain that high level of customer service without cracking.

Long hours and escalating expectations are a challenging mix.

One thing that may differ between front desk workers and the rest of your team is mobility.

Others may get to walk around or leave the workplace during the day. But front desk staff have to stay put. This makes a long workday drag even longer!

Meanwhile, demands are growing—because customer expectations have soared. With the rise of mobile devices, customers have gotten, well, a bit spoiled. They’re used to having everything at their fingertips, so their patience has gone out the window.

This culture of immediacy adds pressure on your receptionist and frontline crew to provide faster, more efficient service—while maintaining a smile.

Businesses can mitigate these problems by…

Prioritizing mental wellness at work

American workers experience high rates of anxiety and depression. But most will never tell their boss! Why? Out of fear that “reaching out about a mental health issue could negatively impact their job security,” per SHRM

It shouldn’t be that way, nor does it have to be. But it’s up to employers to take the first step, by:

  • Recognizing the seriousness of mental health issues in the workplace.
  • Actively fostering an environment where staff feel taken care of and have access to mental health resources. 
  • Putting a plan in place for providing mental health first aid when the situation calls for it. 

Prioritizing mental wellness at work pays dividends and helps prevent front desk burnout!

Optimizing customer experiences

Every customer is unique—but that doesn’t mean your front desk staff should reinvent the wheel every time a new person calls or comes in. 

Instead, focus on streamlining the customer experience. How? Test drive some new technology, such as appointment booking systems, customer relationship management programs, and task automation software. 

Oh, and why not onboard a pay-as-you-go virtual receptionist team able to respond 24/7, 365 days a year? 

With Ruby’s streamlined customer service process, you’ll never miss a chance to woo customers, making them feel valued and genuinely cared about!

Paying receptionists more

Well, one thing that always boosts morale is a pay raise, right? It won’t do much to mitigate stress and burnout but at least competitive compensation shows you value your frontline workers, potentially leading to more motivation and better performance. 

Alas, paying more isn’t always an option, especially if times are tight. Sometimes having an affordable virtual receptionist plan is a more viable option.

Calling in extra support (bring in the virtual receptionists!)

Enlisting an affordable virtual receptionist to help your helper can be a true game-changer. Let’s go over some of the reasons why…

Benefits of virtual receptionists

Virtual receptionists take the load off your in-house staff whenever needed. 

Whether they just need an hour of coverage while everyone’s in a meeting, a second (or third) person managing calls during peak hours, or someone to field after-hours queries, Ruby receptionists are the flexible, affordable answer to your problems!

Other advantages include:

  • Freeing up in-house workers: If your staff has to step away for even a moment, it’s a breeze to toggle over to a Ruby receptionist who integrates seamlessly into your team. 
  • Cost savings: The average in-house receptionist makes $38,500. With a true employer cost between 1.25–1.4× that base salary, the average is closer to $53,900. Meanwhile, Ruby plans are a fraction of that cost.
  • 24/7 responsiveness: Few small businesses can afford ‘round-the-clock coverage…unless they’re using Ruby to do it. Day or night, 365 days a year, your business can have an expert on standby ready to handle calls, answer general inquiries, take messages, schedule appointments, give driving directions, process payments and transfer calls, as needed. We can screen for spam and robocalls—and even qualify leads using your provided information.
  • Consistent, high-quality experiences: Your customers want the best—and with Ruby, they’ll get it! We make sure each call is answered promptly, professionally, and with that all-important personalized touch. Our receptionists are trained to go above and beyond, delivering outstanding customer experiences every time.
  • Creating lasting connections: Many calls are potential new customers or clients. That’s why Ruby virtual receptionists go the extra mile to establish connections via personalized experiences. We transform ordinary calls into memorable, positive engagements that establish trust and build loyalty. 

Front desk help is available.

Small business owners should recognize the signs of front desk burnout and take steps to address it. When you do, you’ll not only enhance the well-being of your workers but also your customer experiences—which can, in turn, be a boon for business! 

At Ruby, we’ve supported over 15,000 small businesses in every industry imaginable. Our flexible, affordable virtual receptionist plans provide whatever level of support you need. Full-time, part-time, on-demand, you name it. Best of all, we do it for a fraction of the cost of an in-house hire. 

So reach out to learn how we can complement and support your existing receptionist or other front desk workers today!