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Front Office

Updated on March 21, 2024
Article byAswathi Jayachandran
Edited byAswathi Jayachandran
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Front Office?

The front office is a general term to describe operations that directly involve customer interactions in an organization. These operations form the basis for work to be done by the back office. Different industries use the phrase to indicate different things, but the front office department mostly involves advisory, sales, and service departments.

Front Office

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The staff in the front manages all interactions between a company and its customers. The team answers questions from customers and takes care of their demands and requests. They also establish a working relationship with their clients and customers. In addition, they are responsible for leaving the customers with a favorable first impression of the company.

Key Takeaways

  • Front office is a general term to describe operations involving customer interaction.
  • The front end works to assimilate and arrange tasks to be completed for the back office.
  • These office staff members work as a point of client interaction and the primary communication center for the entire business. In addition, office professionals frequently carry out secretarial duties and may be in charge of accepting messages, managing orders, and communicating information to various departments.
  • They include front desk agents or receptionists, senior front desk agents, hotel front desk agents, guest service agents, and other professionals.

Front Office Department Explained

Front office staff members interact directly with the clients and build a working relationship with them. Usually, to work together on an issue of mutual concern, these operations form the basis of working for the back office. While the back-office processes information and focuses on the timely settlement of deals and managing data, the front office desk manages accounts, keeps records, and ensures regulatory compliance for them to work smoothly.

The front office staff members should communicate with each other and their coworkers and subordinates to complete the front and back office tasks successfully. This may include coordinating with many divisions inside the department as well.

A front office executive may interface with a business and its customers, management, and employees. They are a representative of the organization and its culture. They often take care of small amounts of administration and aid in routine organizational and administrative activities.

An example is receiving incoming mail and scheduling important meetings to ensure that the office runs smoothly daily. In addition, the personnel coordinates with one another within the division to provide the best guest services possible. This may include booking goods and services, registering visitors, managing guest accounts, processing guest mail, and providing individualized guest service.

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Front Office vs Middle Office vs Back Office Video

 

Duties And Responsibilities

A front office executive could play multiple roles, depending on the size and nature of the company. Some common tasks include daily sorting and distributing mail, offering copy and fax services to other departments, dealing directly with clients, and data entry tasks. Individuals employed in this position will have a mix of office and customer service abilities. 

The front office staff works as a client interaction point and the primary communication center for the entire business. Office professionals frequently carry out secretarial duties and may accept messages, manage orders, and communicate information to various departments. In addition, many front offices collaborate with sales and marketing teams to create and distribute client-facing content.

Some of the key responsibilities of the front office are as follows:

  • Maintain a clean and attractive entry space with the necessary materials (pens, forms, paper, etc.). 
  • Greeting and welcoming visitors.
  • Respond to queries and grievances. 
  • Respond to all incoming calls, redirect them, or retain messages.
  • Handle in-house communication within an organization.
  • Obtain letters, shipments, etc., and supply them. 
  • Create outgoing mail by writing letters, arranging and securing packages, etc. 
  • Examine, group, and forward emails. 
  • Maintain a close watch on office supplies and place orders as needed. 
  • Maintain accurate records and files. 
  • Keep track of the office’s expenses and costs. 
  • Assume additional responsibilities (travel arrangements, schedules, etc.).

Importance

Every physical multi-department firm must have a front office desk or reception area to welcome customers. This department serves as the voice and face of a company, as the front office is where guests see the most. The front desk employees handle transactions between the organization and its guests and are responsible for improving the customer experience. The staff welcomes the clients or customers, attends to their needs, and imprints a positive first impression of the hotel in their minds.

The customer experience, thus, can be made or broken by front desk communication with other departments. Apart from that, they also facilitate operational efficiency through internal communication. Healthy communication among staff members and visitors, and between the workforce and the management team, build trust and a sense of cooperation within the business.

Front Office vs Middle Office

Key PointsMiddle OfficeFront Office
MeaningA department between the front and back offices in a financial services organization. Typically, non-revenue producing tasks like risk management and ensuring that transactions are completed properly fall within the purview of the middle and back offices.  The front office department often consists of the receptionist, front office managers, and customer service agents who offer assistance, administrative support, and a workforce that assists customers.
PurposeThe middle office connects the front and back offices. The processing, booking, and fulfillment of agreements established during financial transactions are the responsibilities of the middle office. Additionally, they ensure that documents are created in compliance with agreements.The front end works in order to assimilate and arrange tasks to be completed for the back office.
BoundariesIt isn’t easy to distinguish between tasks that belong in the middle office and those that belong in the back and front offices.Front desk work clearly distinguishes between tasks that are allocated and executed systematically and are different from assigned tasks of back offices.
SettlementPreparing settlements is the responsibility of the middle office. Pre-settlement work includes decisions regarding the placement of IT resources throughout the company’s three divisions (front, middle, and back), risk management, profit and loss calculations, and netting duties. The segment that is most aware of the needs of other departments is the department in the middle of the flow. It also has the best overall awareness of how various systems and technologies interact with other departments. To prepare the information flow for the back office, the middle office’s duties mostly involve processing settlement and post-settlement data. All settlements and post-settlement activities are managed in the back office.  The front office must arrange the initial process. It includes noting customer and client details, recording queries to be addressed, and settling for the middle and back offices to complete the work.
ExampleRisk management, strategic management, and corporate treasury may be part of the middle office category.The front end includes Front Desk Agent or receptionist, Senior Front Desk Agent, Hotel Front Desk Agent, Guest Service Agent, etc.    

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who are the front office staffs?

Customer-facing staff often makes up the front office. They are in charge of producing a substantial amount of the firm’s revenues because it interacts most directly with clients. Desk clerks, cashiers, reservations managers, telephone operators, bell crew, and room key clerks are all front office staff.

What are the front office operations?

The front office operations of a company include providing information and assistance of any kind. Customer service, sales, and industry experts who offer advice are also part of this.

How do front offices communicate with other departments?

A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and a private telephone network used within a business are used by them to manage internal communication. However, they can also make use of a company-approved internal communication channel.

This has been a guide to what is Front Office. Here we compare it with middle office and explain its duties, responsibilities, importance, and executives. You can learn more about finance from the following articles –

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