A receptionist is often a customer’s first port of call when dealing with a business. It is essential that they provide a positive first impression and deal with customers, clients and representatives of other organisations in a friendly, efficient and professional manner.
The exact requirements may vary depending on the company and the receptionist’s role within it, but these general tips should help any receptionist fulfil that role to the best of their abilities.
Think about your appearance
As the first person most visitors will see, the receptionist should be well presented. Some work environments are more formal than others and a receptionist at a firm of solicitors may be expected to dress differently than one at the office of a cutting edge fashion designer. However, receptionists should at least be clean and well groomed regardless of what the precise nature of the business is.
Most receptionists will be used to keeping several plates spinning at once, but the reception desk or area should be neat and well organised. A chaotic and cluttered reception area does not present a good first impression.
Keep yourself occupied
There’s usually something to do within most work environments. Even if you are enjoying a brief lull it can look terribly unprofessional if a customer arrives to find the receptionist filing their nails, making a personal call or playing games on their phone.
Even if you’re feeling under the weather or have had a blazing row at home, you should present a friendly, business-like face to the world. Your problems are not the problems of your customers, so deal with everyone in a friendly but efficient manner.
Perfect a good telephone manner
If your company has protocols for answering the telephone, make sure you stick to them. In general, you should always state the company name so that people know they have come through to the right place. Be friendly but deal with telephone queries as efficiently as you possibly can. If you cannot answer a query or resolve an issue yourself, you should have a clear idea of who to direct the customer to. Make sure that you take note of messages and make appointments accurately.
Keep accurate records
Whether you use a computerised system or log visitors in a book, most receptionists will be required to record information. This may simply be the amount of people dealt with, their names and contact numbers or more detailed information. Record the relevant information accurately on whichever system is appropriate.
Many receptionists will have times when they have to deal with a full waiting room or irate or upset customers. It’s important to maintain a professional demeanour at all times, even if you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed yourself. You should not have to take abuse but never escalate a situation by getting angry and shouting back at a customer. Try to remain calm and defuse the situation.
My name is Richard Deeley and I work for Randstad UK as a part time PR consultant. Jobs in reception are tougher than people often think but research carried out by Randstad illustrates that they are one of the most satisfying jobs to work in.