In most cases, an office receptionist is the first person that the customers see when they come in to an office and also the first person that a caller would speak with if contacting the company by phone. Since the front-desk person is in such a highly visible position, it is important that they make a good impression and represent the company in a positive way. They are expected to be knowledgeable about the company and are often seen as a source of information for co-workers and customers.
A receptionist does much more than just answer the phone and often they are willing and able to take on more tasks. There are many skills required in order to be a good receptionist and to be considered valuable by employers. Most importantly they must have a professional image, both in person and over the phone. This position requires the front-desk person to act as an ambassador for the company and they are responsible for representing the company in a positive manner.
Having computer skills is a very valuable tool that many office receptionists have. With the increased tasks, they may be required to create spreadsheets, create mail merges, create word documents, and update and maintain a customer database. It is essential that a receptionist has at least basic computer knowledge.
Front desk staff must be able to multi-task. At any time, there could be multiple tasks to do and it is up to the receptionist to priortize and make sure that everything is taken care of. An office receptionist must also have a general knowledge of services provided by the company and be able to answer customer questions when they occur.
Traditionally the primary duty of a receptionist was to answer telephones. Although this duty is still very important today, there are many other tasks perfomed by reception staff.
Telephone tasks include taking messages, transferring calls, screening calls, answering questions, and providing information about the company to existing and potential clients. Receptionists also may be involved in schduling meetings, opening and distributing mail, doing office filing and photocopying, and working together with other staff members to assist and provide customer services.
More tasks include greeting clients as they enter the office and making sure that they are taken care of, billing, handling payments, invoicing clients, and handling the daily bank deposit. In general, an office receptionist oversees the day-to-day operation of an office.
Using an answering service
With all of the tasks that daytime reception staff are given to handle, it can become hard for them to ensure that each incoming call is being answered consistently in the same professional manner. In order to remain productive and assist their front-desk staff, many companies are choosing to enlist an answering service to help them serve their customers.
This service can be used as a "back-up" system, in which the answering service receives incoming calls that come in while the receptionist is on break or unavailable. An answering service can also receive overflow calls that are coming in while the receptionist is on a different line.
This allows reception staff to assist their company without worrying about compromising telephone answering. While an answering service is picking up the calls, an office receptionist can handle data entry, payroll, filing, bookkeeping, and receiveables collection, all without having to worry about answering the telephone!
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