Receptionists carry out a variety of tasks within the office environment. Primarily they are normally responsible for greeting visitors and answering telephones, but they do many other things as well. The exact responsibilities within a receptionist job will vary depending on the type of business they are working within.
Receptionists are, of course, the first person within a company that outside clients get to meet and generally are also responsible for keeping the office running smoothly.
So, what makes a good receptionist?
Friendly, polite, and well spoken
Great receptionists simply know how to make people feel welcome and comfortable while they wait. Always welcome people with a warm welcome and a smile. Even if you have to continue what you are doing for a short while, this makes them feel acknowledged.
The Receptionist is of course the Public Image of the Business.
Whether over the phone or in person, the receptionist’s attitude comes across loud and clear. It has often been quoted that callers can tell when a person is smiling over the phone, and they can surely tell when she or he is not. So SMILE!
It is imperative that you are always on time for work; after all you don’t want to have to leave potential new clients waiting on the doorstep whilst you flap around trying to open up the reception area to greet them.
A receptionist appearance should match the company atmosphere, but should always be well groomed and poised.
Problems have a way of occurring at the worst possible time, usually when you or other managers are away from the office. A good receptionist should be able to think fast, help customers find solutions to problems and leave customers with the feeling that they are in good hands.
Some of the biggest challenges that you will face while working as a receptionist are the clients who are impatient or downright rude. These cannot be avoided. No matter how rude the clients may be, however, remember that they are still clients and they are still the people who pay the bills in the office at the end of the day. As such, you need to learn how to deal and interact with such people with grace.
In a busy office, the receptionist has to be ‘reactively’ friendly. A fun kind of person often wants to talk too long and can’t move efficiently from call to call.
Find out your boss/ manager preferences
Ask managers if they prefer receiving calls in voice mail or getting a written message. Some have definite preferences one-way or the other and will appreciate you asking and responding in the way they chose.
Good organizational skills
Apart from managing schedules, a receptionist may have to set appointments and keep track of messages, mail and emails on behalf of several other people in the office – you need to be well organised!
Good Customer Service, a Must!
A good receptionist should also keep as her main focus, good customer service. If the customer is not treated in a professional and courteous manner, he or she will look elsewhere to get the service they need and desire.
We live in a world of ever-changing technology. As a receptionist you definitely need to keep abreast of technology and ensure that you are at a good level using MS Office.
Great receptionists are discrete; you should be able to convey all sorts of important information on the phone in a quasi-public waiting room without disclosing inappropriate information to anyone who might overhear. Receptionists also take responsibility for ensuring that inappropriate conversations between staff do not occur in the waiting area.
Good attention to detail
Receptionists must be able to put their hands on anything from a company phone list to the CEO’s appointment book quickly and as the information is requested.
Try to listen ‘actively’ so that the person feels that you are with them and are trying hard to understand their story and how they feel.
Remember the client’s names
Get to know the voices and names of clients who call frequently. It flatters clients to be recognized, and sends the message that they matter to the firm.
Being a good receptionist is not an easy task. It takes someone with an amazing outlook on life and the ability to multitask and keep things flowing nicely.
And remember – treat the person in front of you, as you would want to be treated if it was you standing there in their shoes.
With these steps, you should be able to work as an effective receptionist. If you have more tips to add to this list please share them with us.
If you feel this is the job for you link in with a recruitment agency that specialises in Administration/Reception recruitment and find a recruitment consultant that places these sorts of roles and build a relationship with them. In addition, of course, look on jobs boards like Seek and Indeed to find your dream reception role.