Extinction of the office receptionist no excuse for chilly reception

closeThis article could be out of date, as it was published 10 months ago.

The gradual extinction of the traditional company receptionist from the front office – often replaced by a cheap silver bell or telephone – was the inspiration behind Kiwi technology innovator Designertech’s new electronic receptionist product.

Created by Auckland based software innovator Designertech, the electronic receptionist, dubbed EVA, is in many ways a product of the recent global recession.

Service delivery manager, Leigh Roberts, said that while intelligent machines were replacing many job roles, the company receptionist was probably more a victim of cost cutting and belt tightening.

“It is not uncommon to go into the front offices of businesses all around New Zealand and find a small silver bell or a telephone – complete with complicated instructions – waiting to greet you. I personally have to make myself ring the bell, but many others will stand around waiting to be spotted.

“The absence of a person from the front office has become fairly common now, so we expect that the traditional receptionist role will gradually go the way of many other jobs that are fast disappearing from the workplace.

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing for people, because although the work may change we still need people to make it happen – so there will always be work.

“On the other hand, however, a bell or a telephone does not create a good first impression – they are obvious cost cutting measures.”

Roberts said the idea behind Designertech’s Electronic Visitor Assistant was to help companies present a friendly efficient face as well as carry out some tasks the traditional receptionist never did.

“Many clients also have a receptionist in place alongside the EVA console because the two can work together.

“First impressions still count, so EVA was engineered to be stylish and simple, with full company branding and the ability to deliver marketing messages too,” he said.

Unlike some human receptionists, EVA remembers returning visitors, and is capable of delivering customised messages to the visitor or more general induction information.

The contact person in the company is also advised by email that his or her visitor has arrived, and a barcoding system makes it easy for the visitor to swipe himself or herself out.

“The safety and compliance benefits of EVA are particularly popular with buyers locally and internationally. In addition to screening a safety video for the visitor to view – if required – the system logs who is on the site and where they are supposed to be.

“In the case of a mass evacuation, safety personnel can track people via a tablet computer app,” he said.

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