As a manager or supervisor, do you ever listen to how your receptionist answers the phone? Does he or she say, "Can I help you?" or "May I help you?" "May" is the correct way to begin. Does he or she sound professional yet cheerful? Do they repeat message information to be sure they heard it correctly. Listen in sometime, if you haven't already. This person, representing your company, may make the first impression a potential new client gains of your company.
I know that I once refused to continue seeing a particular doctor based on the lack of communication skills demonstrated by his administrative assistant. She was pasty-faced and rude. If she ever cracked a smile, I'm sure her face would fall off. On the phone she was equally horrible, mono-toned and completely disinterested. Having choices of other very competent doctors, I chose another.
You might also make note of how your staff communicates in meetings with clients. Do they use intelligent, proper English. Do they make inappropriate jokes. Do they say horrible things like, "you guys" when addressing a mixed gender group. (Actually, I hate the expression "you guys" at all times, but it might be appropriate for a group of "guys" watching football. ) Make sure that your staff shows interest, respect, and yes, old fashioned class when speaking in meetings. No off-color jokes. No improper English. No culturally insensitive remarks. You get the idea, I'm sure. The key is to just listen to the conversations in your office. You may be pleasantly surprised or realize the need for a basic office communication training update. If it's the former, that's great! If it's the latter, a simple reminder might do wonders to improve the situation or it may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Investigate further. Gather more data and set aside, if this is only a part of a comprehensive audit. At the right time, if you don't have a fully qualified staff to address this and any other issues you find, call a professional. You can find a great consultant who will understand your needs, will be objective and who could save you time and money. A great place to find the most qualified consultant is through the National Communication Association (NCA) , choose the Career tab, the Post a Job. Another excellent source is the Association of Professional Communication Consultants (APCC). At the APCC site choose the Business Resources tab, then Find a Consultant.
For additional information on this subject check out the APCC information called, "Why Hire a Communication Consultant?" You can also send your questions to me. I will answer as many as I can here in a blog. Contact me.