Front office personnel are workers who interact with, and are often seen by, the public. Common examples of these employees include receptionists and front desk hotel staff. Some front office workers handle cash for company product sales, while others may take reservations. Providing information as well as good customer service and company communications are typical responsibilities of front office employees.
For instance, most front office workers answer phones and many also greet clients or deal with couriers or workplace visitors. They may be responsible for receiving then distributing phone messages, mail and email to other staff. Most front office personnel receive incoming calls rather than make outgoing customer service communication although they certainly often do follow up with clients. In some company organizational structures, front office staff may initially take customer calls then pass any complaints or follow-up work to other employees.
Back office employees aren't typically the staff who customers first see when they go to a business in person or hear when they call the company. For example, when a patient calls or goes into a dentist's office for an appointment or information, he or she will not usually reach the dentist, but rather speak with the front office personnel. Especially in larger dental offices, there may be some front office workers who book appointments, while others handle dental insurance issues or questions.
Since front officer staff members typically see customers first or answer their initial questions, these workers are hired for an ability to deal effectively with people. They are typically able to be polite even if a caller is rude or trying their patience by being difficult to understand. Front office personnel usually report to a supervisor, manager or executive in the back office, so this person may take over communicating with a caller or visitor if a receptionist or other worker can't deal with the matter.
Front desk or office personnel may also be trained by back office workers. Usually, front office workers are expected to be comfortable and efficient in communicating with all types of people as well as adept at using telephone and/or computer systems. Many front office positions require minimum education as they tend to be training based. Some front office personnel must be experienced in, or at least trustworthy and capable of, handling cash as they may sell products to customers as in the case of a warehouse that does in-house, retail and/or wholesale sales.