A receptionist is a person in an office administration and support position. Their work is usually perfomed at the front desk of an organization. In most cases, they are the first business contact that a person will meet at an organization. Their primary responsibility is to greet incoming visitors and callers.
The traditional duties of a receptionist commonly include answering visitor inquiries about the company, directing visitors to appropriate contacts, sorting mail, answering incoming calls, and arranging appointments for guests to meet with company staff.
The front-desk staff may also assume a security guard function with the company. Often they moitor who is coming and going through the doors of the company and they are able to observe and report any suspicious behavior or activity.
The job description of reception staff has expanded quite a bit due to the increased use of technology in the workplace. Many front-desk staff are now encouraged to have experience with computers and software programs. Many receptionists now assist in creating and maintaining spreadsheets, creating word documents, merging documents for mailing, entering formulas into spreadsheets, and entering data in to a customer relations database.
In addition to their usual tasks, many reception staff also assist their companies with payroll, bookkeeping, receivables collection, and a variety of other office tasks. In many cases a receptionist is expected to perform multiple tasks quickly and efficently, in addition to answering the phone. A receptionist who possesses strong office and technical skills and is also courteous and tactful is considered an asset to the business image of a company.
Using an answering service
With all of the tasks that are being given to front-desk staff, it can become hard for them to ensure that each call is being answered professionally in a timely fashion. It can also be hard for them to concentrate on their other tasks when they are constantly being interrupted by the telephone.
In a situation like this, some companies are choosing to use an answering service to increase the productivity of their staff. Incoming calls can be directly forwarded to answering service operators during busy times or when the receptionist is away from the office or unavailable.
Having a system like this in place allows the company to be sure that their calls are still being professionally handled while allowing their staff to expand their skills by taking on an increased number of duties.
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