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The Essential Role of Receptionist

Receptionists play a critical role in any organization, but their importance is magnified in the context of a pro-life pregnancy center. The receptionist is often the first point of contact for women seeking help and guidance, so the importance of filling this role with the right person cannot be overstated. In this article we will explore the responsibilities and best practices for receptionists in this sensitive and impactful role.

The Role of the Receptionist

The role of receptionist is a significant one and should be treated as such. But sadly, this role is often handed to anyone wishing to be involved at the center regardless of their gifting.

Answering the phone in a center is far from simple though. It requires highly trained and intuitive individuals who have a deep understanding of the potential client’s needs & expectations. They should have a good handle on the center’s overall services and be armed with good answers to tough questions and even have a specific demeanor in order to do the job well.

Think about it, if you were hiring a counselor for a suicide hotline, or maybe a 911 dispatcher, you would carefully choose those who would be responding to calls. Some of the characteristics you might look for would be: professional, calm under-pressure, excellent communication skills, compassion and attention to detail.

To put this in perspective, imagine calling 911 for a medical emergency and a sweet, soft spoken woman answers the phone. When you explain your crisis, she responds “oh honey, I’m sorry you are going through this. I’m not sure I have the information to help you, but if you can hold on a minute or if I can take down your name and number, I’ll have someone connect with you soon.“ This wouldn't work. As the caller in a crisis, you would want a take-charge, knowledgeable professional, who knows what to do, what to say and is ready to help the minute you call.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why our receptionists must be equipped with the right mindset and tools to handle these sensitive interactions. Here’s a breakdown of key responsibilities and best practices for receptionists in pro-life pregnancy centers.

Role & Response Time

When connecting with women considering abortion, we need to understand that they are in a desperate and delicate situations so being available right when they reach out is key. So is the receptionist’s understanding of her role. She cannot go into a call believing that the goal is “to save the baby”. That responsibility belongs to Jesus alone. He is the Savior. You can take the pressure off by viewing the goal of the call as simply providing information about how the center might be able to help, gathering some basic information and creating an appointment for a face to face interaction.

Preparation and Mindset

Be prepared and answer the phone with the right mindset. You must be able to remove distraction, and fully focus on the caller before picking up the phone. Paying attention to your tone of voice is a crucial component of answering the phone. If you come across as too energetic, loud, quiet, distracted, apathetic or even or overly caring, this can convey an unintended message to a woman in crisis. Instead balance competence with compassion. Maintain professionalism while showing that you understand her situation and are there to help without being judgmental or being overly intrusive.

Effective Communication

It’s crucial that you understand the mindset of the abortion shopper and have the intuition necessary to offer services that are inline with what she feels she needs. Just as important is understanding what offers may subconsciously turn her off. Keep the conversation brief but relevant. Avoid delving into her feelings or reasons for considering an abortion unless she volunteers this information. Your aim should be to make her feel comfortable enough to visit the center, where deeper conversations and support can take place.

Handling Tough Questions

Be ready with good responses to tough questions. Having some great, modern scripting will help you to feel more confident and comfortable when conversing with potential clients. When the receptionist knows what to say and more importantly what not to say, she will be more confident in her abilities to navigate the conversation and that gentle confidence will help the woman on the other end of the line to trust that the center will be able to help her. On the other hand, if an advocate lacks confidence, is nervous, tripping over words or is not able to easily answer tough questions, the client may lose confidence that your center is competent enough to meet her needs.

Tools and Resources

Having the right tools and resources can significantly enhance a receptionist’s effectiveness.

  • Conversation cheat sheets can help the receptionist to stay on track and ensure she gives and receives the most valuable information.

  • Modern Scripting can guide conversations and answer tough questions helping to maintain consistency and effectiveness among all center staff.

  • Call Logs help to track lead sources and outcomes to improve continuity of care, measure success rates and can also identify areas where further training might be needed.

  • Comprehensive Referral Lists can allow a quick exchange of information if the client is looking for services your center doesn't provide.

By filling the role with the right person, responding promptly and handling each interaction with professionalism and compassion, receptionists can significantly impact the lives of women in crisis. With the right preparation and resources, you can provide invaluable support to those who need it most.

Looking for additional support with training and scripting?

If your center is looking to improve your booking and show rate or to upgrade your practices, Life Advancement Group offers our Basic Training For Effective Communication Course at a low cost through the RISE Program. This training for receptionists and those responding to after hours leads is effective, easy to understand and is offered in video module format or live virtual training workshops. Comprehensive scripting with modern answers to tough questions is included. Additional tools and resources for those who decline an appointment or who already have the abortion pill in hand are also included, making this a well rounded and necessary part of your center’s training program. To learn more or to create a tailored training and consulting package book a free discovery by sending us a message or by emailing


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