What is a Receptionist?
A receptionist is a person who supports management at all levels of the organization and generally greets the public and answers the company telephone. Their role as the face of the company requires excellent receptionist skills such as interpersonal skills, customer service skills, telephone etiquette and good communication skills. Good organizational skills and the ability to multi-task are also a must as a Receptionist performs many duties including taking messages, scheduling appointments, and maintaining employee files.
What are Receptionist Skills?
If you’re considering a job as a Receptionist, the following soft and hard receptionist skills will give you a competitive edge and help increase your personal satisfaction on the job.
Receptionist Skills – The Soft Skills
1. Good organizational skills
While a Receptionist at a larger company may only be responsible for running the front desk, nowadays, the Receptionist may be required to multi task in a variety of front office activities, requiring excellent organizational skills. While there are many different types of receptionists, they all have the same general responsibilities as well as the responsibilities tied to the industry they work in. Duties can vary but generally speaking, all Receptionists do the following:
- Greet and welcome visitors and guide them to their specific destinations
- Answer the telephone and take messages
- Keep the reception area clean and well maintained
- Send and Receive Faxes
- Maintain the Conference Schedule
- Receive mail and distribute mail
- General Filing
2. A Positive Attitude and Professional Appearance
Maintaining a positive attitude, both in person and on the telephone is very important in your role as a Receptionist. Being a Receptionist is a people-oriented profession and a positive attitude will be the key to your success in your job. As the Receptionist, you are responsible for greeting customers, either in person or by answering incoming calls. A good first impression is important as the Receptionist is the first point of contact for the entire organization, which requires a positive attitude and polished, professional appearance.
Did you know that having a good attitude is a choice you can make on a daily basis by making some positive choices? Understanding what impacts your attitude is the first step to improving your attitude. You can improve your attitude by smiling, being friendly and courteous, thinking positive thoughts, displaying enthusiasm and maintaining your sense of humor. Reducing your stress can also play a big role in improving your attitude.
3. Active Listening Skills
Listening is one of the most important skills you can develop as a Receptionist. How well you listen will have a major impact on your job effectiveness and ability to run the Receptionist Desk. If you develop good active listening skills, you will be able to solve problems more effectively. As a Receptionist, you will use your active listening skills to do many work-related activities including:
- Giving instructions and directing people
- Using voicemail and taking messages
- Screening calls
- Receiving instructions from others
- Making decisions
- Performing clerical work
- Helping customers and company employees
- Servicing the reception desk and company visitors
- Using the company telephone
- To be more efficient and productive
4. Good communication skills
Regardless of the industry you work in or the position you hold, it’s essential to communicate effectively with those around you. More than ever in our digital age, it’s important to know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person (verbally) as well as via phone, email, chat, and social media. In the workplace, communication is a way of making sure the job gets done and is the responsibility of every employee in the organization. As a Receptionist, you will need good communication skills to be able to communicate externally with your company’s clients and internally with many of the employees of the organization.
5. Telephone Etiquette Skills
A Receptionist must have excellent Telephone Etiquette Skills, including knowing how to answer the telephone professionally and enthusiastically, how to transfer calls effectively without annoying customers, how to appropriately use the customer’s name during the call and how to take messages professionally and accurately. It’s also important to know how to properly place a customer on hold, transfer the caller to another person, deal with multiple callers and how to end the call in a positive manner.
6. Receptionist Skills also include Managing angry and irate customers
How you handle an upset customer can often make the difference between your company retaining or losing a customer. When a customer complains, it’s important to listen carefully to what they’re saying and to express empathy by trying to put yourself in your customers shoes. By doing this, you may be able to better understand what the customer is upset about and take the necessary steps to try and resolve the problem.
Receptionist Skills – The Hard Skills
1. Good Technology (Hard Skills)
In addition to excellent keyboarding skills, it’s important to have an understanding of word processing software such as Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs or open office software like LibreOffice. Hard skills involve being able to create, save, format, edit, view and print a variety of business documents including letters, memos and reports.
2. Managing Equipment
In today’s technology driven workplace, the receptionist may be required to excel at not only handling phone systems, printers and copiers but also more advanced Office applications such as Excel, Outlook and additional skills such as social media monitoring or event planning.
3. Taking Messages and using Voice Mail
Receptionists are often required to take messages and respond to voice mail. When taking messages, it’s important to write clearly and just get down the important points. Try to keep it simple as trying to write down everything is impossible. While not all customers will want to leave a message, it’s important to always be ready to take a message. Don’t just assume a caller wants to go to voice mail. When taking messages, make sure to ask for:
- The callers name – asking the caller for the correct spelling
- The caller’s phone number and/or extension (including area code)
- Repeat the message back to the caller. Be sure to note the date, time, and your initials on the message so the person reading it knows who wrote it.
Your voice mail greeting should be professional and businesslike and should be given the same importance as if you were greeting a customer over the phone. Keep in mind that your voice mail may be the first point of contact a caller will have with your company so you should make sure your voicemail greetings is warm and welcoming and conveys the tone, attitude and even the image of your company. As well as being warm and welcoming, your voicemail greeting must also deliver pertinent information to the caller and be composed in such a way that it is brief and to the point.
Receptionist Job Outlook
According to bls.gov, employment of receptionists is projected to show little or no change from 2021 to 2031. The growing healthcare industries are projected to lead demand for receptionists, particularly in the offices of physicians, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners. Bls.gov also notes that “employment growth of receptionists in other industries is expected to be slower as organizations continue to automate or consolidate administrative functions. For example, many organizations use computer software, websites, mobile applications, or other technology to interact with the public or customers.”
How to Improve your Receptionist Skills
To improve your office skills and gain the valuable receptionist skills discussed above, take the General Receptionist course offered on officeskills.org. For more information and to register for the course, visit the receptionist online course page here https://officeskills.org/general-receptionist.html.
All courses are taught in the Office Skills Collaborative Online Classroom. The Office Skills Collaborative Online Classroom is a fun and interactive way to learn Office Skills. Get the benefit of learning online while being in a classroom environment with an instructor, other students, discussion forums, chat rooms, lectures, presentations and video demonstrations.
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