Receptionists are without a doubt among the most important staff within the workplace. They often perform a seemingly limitless variety of tasks throughout the office and are found working at all manner of crazy hours to meet operational requirements.
Not only that, but they are also oftentimes the first impression that many people have with your business. This makes receptionists a crucial part of the customer experience your brand delivers and can have far-reaching impacts for your business as a whole.
Receptionists are often required to perform a large variety of administrative tasks, from checking in visitors and answering phone calls, to scheduling meetings for staff, clients and customers and organising office calendars or events. While many of these tasks have been made easier thanks to the advent of software platforms, the variety of platforms available and ever-changing nature of them requires receptionists to have high levels of technological literacy to quickly learn to maximize the platforms used in different companies.
Previous experience using phone systems, printers, copiers, and competency in the Microsoft Office suite is almost mandatory for every receptionist these days. But on top of that, there’s now a huge range of industry-specific software too, that receptionists are expected to have experience with. For example, many businesses are increasingly moving towards using the Google suite of applications, such as Google Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Slides. Giving rise to a new technological landscape for receptionists to familiarize themselves with and master.
With new platforms emerging all the time, it’s difficult to know which platforms and tools will become standard in the future. However, by developing a high level of technological literacy, receptionists can ensure they remain ahead of the curve and are equipped to learn and try new tools as they emerge. One of the greatest assets for any receptionist is to simply possess a willingness to learn and try new platforms.
Communication is a crucial tenant of any receptionist’s role. In many situations, receptionists are depended upon to provide accurate, time and sensitive information between staff, clients and companies. Unclear communication can cause a world of problems for businesses so it is essential that receptionists can communicate clearly, effectively and in a concise manner.
In addition to day-to-day business communications, receptionists are often also tasked with managing difficult calls, challenging customers or time-poor staff members. Receptionists need to be flexible and adapt to all manner of communication styles and preferences in order to handle these different stakeholders.
We all know that people can be moody at the best of times, and as much as this should be controlled by individuals within the workplace, inevitably receptionists often face the brunt of these moods. Strong emotional intelligence and empathy go a long way in equipping the modern receptionist to navigate these challenging situations and maintain a consistent and professional approach to their role.
An often overlooked part of strong communication skills too, is the ability to listen effectively. Not only must a receptionist be able to effectively communicate to people, but they must also work to effectively listen and process all the information they are faced with on a daily basis.
Many times emphasis is placed on hard skills and tangible experience, however, one of the most crucial skills for success not just as a receptionist, but in any career, is the soft skills someone possesses.
These may include interpersonal skills, strong abilities to prioritise and operate within a professional working environment. Other crucial skills are attention to detail and also the ability to manage high workloads or operate and make decisions under pressure.
Sorcha Sherlock, Relationship Manager at LinkedIn, says of receptionists:
“A receptionist can literally do anything…..anything. You can rely on them for their flexibility, and the ability to adapt quickly to new situations. The receptionist knows everyone in the office (unlike most employees) and gets involved in all departments, helping out where necessary. They always know whats going on, which is especially good when new employees or clients enter the business, as they can answer any questions.”
The modern receptionist is required to be a jack-of-all-trades and wear many hats within the workplace. All these different hats and responsibilities take time, so time management is essential to being successful as a receptionist.
Competing priorities are inevitable in the workplace and the skills to not only manage the tasks but also maintain clear communication and manage the expectations of your stakeholders.
Time management is not only essential for completing the work that needs to be done, but strong time management skills have also been proven to lower stress levels for employees and enable them to better focus and take advantage of learning opportunities. In turn, leading to more career success and a greater feeling of fulfilment and contentment as an employee.
Depending on the workplace, front desks can often be a very lonely place. Unlike other office environments where staff are surrounded by colleagues at neighbouring desks to consult with, the front desk is often isolated by itself. This means that the ability to work independently is one of the most important skills for a receptionist.
Without colleagues to bounce ideas off, or lean on for support, receptionists are required to think on their feet and problem solve quickly – often while a client is waiting right in front of them, or their phone continues to be inundated with calls. These challenges can be too much for someone without the right skill set to tackle them independently.
Working in any business without strong organizational skills is risky in the modern-day. For starters, being organized is essential to maintaining a clean, clutter-free workspace. This not only allows you to be more productive as a receptionist, but it also positions receptionists to stay cool under pressure and respond quickly and efficiently to the never-ending list of requests and duties they need to fulfil.
For many organizations, receptionists are invaluable and irreplaceable team members. But the scope of their duties is ever-expanding and it’s essential to embrace new technologies that can empower them to work smarter and more efficiently.
Visitor management systems, like Sine, enable you to remove the administrative burden and manage repetitive tasks automatically.
How many times have you taken down a visitors details and checked who they’re seeing, only to call that host and get no answer?
Sine handles every step of the check-in process, from collecting details, signing forms (such as non-disclosure agreements), issuing personalised visitor badges and even notifying hosts they have a visitor with both an email and SMS notification so they’ll receive the message even if they’re away from their desk.
Self-service using the Sine solution means that every visitor receives the same high quality of service and experience, plus your receptionists can focus on the work that matters most.
But the front desk is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the world of workplace management.