A front office department is usually the liaison between a company’s customer service center and its administrative functions. The office can have a few or several individuals depending on the size of the company. In nonfinancial services companies, the front office department includes subgroups for marketing, sales, and customer service departments. A financial services firm has a different setup, with the front office consisting of corporate finance, risk, and information technology in addition to sales and administrative and support services. Alterations to these departments may occur due to the tasks a company needs its front office to complete.
Marketing activities often fall under the front office department because they represent direct interaction with consumers. Sales departments usually intermix with marketing because they handle customers who are willing to buy goods or services after watching the company’s advertisements. Customer service employees have an obvious inclusion here as they may need to help either customers or other employees working in marketing and sales. In most companies, each department is separate. This ensures private information stays away from individuals who should not have access to the data.
Financial services have different setups due to their operations and industry standards. The front office department also has a sales staff that works with customers to sell investment products. Outside of this department, however, the others focus on more internal activities, providing support for administrative functions. Corporate finance, risk, and IT functions all seek to ensure the financial services firm does not become too one-sided in its portfolio. Administrative functions typically oversee the front office department and make policies for its operations.
Employee positions in the front office department are mostly nonskilled, save for those in financial services companies. Common jobs in nonfinancial services businesses include secretaries, customer service agents, clerks, and at least one front office manager to oversee these employees. Sales personnel and advertising consultants are also in the front office department, though these positions may require a bit more skill or experience depending on the company. Financial services firms typically have several positions for sales, risk management, and information technology, which may have have copious requirements for hire.
Not all companies have an actual front office. There may be single individuals who function in several business areas. Therefore, a company’s front office is represented more by position than actual location or physical representation.