After working as a receptionist for over six years, there are insightful tips that I feel are important to pass on to others in the field. These skills of presentation, communication, and professionalism are important for anyone working behind the front desk of any company.
Be a Reflection of Your Company
Anything you wear, say, or do will be a reflection on the company you work for. I work at a school of music, so some casual clothing is accepted. Doctor’s and lawyer’s offices, however, will expect you to dress, speak and act professionally at all times. Know the level of professionalism expected when applying or working for a receptionist position.
Be Open to Conversation While Maintaining Boundaries
When you take time to make small talk with customers, they will be more comfortable with you, which is important for their return to your company. Receptionists take personal information from customers, such as addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, or even social security numbers. An aloof receptionist might make a client wary of handing you sensitive information. Keeping an upbeat openness will break that awkwardness. Feel free to be personable and make chit chat, but also know your boundaries. Bringing up politics, religion, or other sensitive topics could affect your relationship with clients. Stick to small talk, compliments, and most of all, professionalism.
When You Don’t Know – Admit It!
Once again, being a trustworthy receptionist is a must. Never pretend to know something, or give on-the-spot answers. If the customer finds out you were bluffing, that trust will be broken, which could hinder your reputation, and the reputation of your company. It is absolutely OK to admit when you don’t know something. Let them know that you will speak to your supervisor or look into the answer and then get back to them. While you should be expected to know many ins and outs of your company, you’re only human. The customer will understand if you’re unsure about their question.
Know Everyone Around You
There is one key thing that you should know, though. That is who the people around you are. Of course, you should know your co-workers for social reasons, but also know them in order to redirect your clients to the correct person. Even more importantly, familiarize yourself with the recurring customers. Ask their name until you’ve memorized it. Not only will that make your job easier, but it will establish that trust that I mentioned earlier.
Find Something To Do
When no one is in the waiting room or the phone is no longer ringing, it’s easy to get away with playing solitaire or checking Facebook to avoid work. But if you get caught by your boss or supervisor, it could hurt your chances of getting that raise, promotion, or just put you on their bad side. When you work in an office, there’s always something that needs to get filed, organized, researched, etc. This is your job, so get down to business! At the end of the day, you will be happy you had.