Your receptionist can be a good reflection of your culture

Receptionists are quite often the first person that customers, candidates or clients interact with when making contact with your organisation, so they are essentially the face and voice of your company and for this reason they play an extremely important role in the representation of your organisation. The influence of receptionists in general is crucial in reflecting the culture of the company, hence this article will give insights on tips and tricks that will benefit the company at large.

guest column:Emmanuel Zvada

The receptionist is the first person visitors meet at your office. Being so, receptionists have a strong influence on a visitor’s perception. If the receptionists are irritable, this may prompt the visitor to retaliate. On the other hand, if the receptionist’s grammar is faulty, people may suspect that the quality of the company’s products and services are probably defective, too.

The same conclusion may be drawn if her attire and grooming is shabby. Front office people can either give good or bad image of the company, hence organisations should make sure they invest much in them. Most receptionists need additional training in certain areas and these will be discussed below.

They must be great communicators and listeners

The receptionist’s oral communication skills should be excellent. If your receptionist cannot communicate properly, there is always a chance for improvement as long as the person is determined. Communication skills are the best asset that a receptionist can have. They communicate with clients face-to-face and virtually.

If you are a receptionist you should have the ability to speak well and convey information clearly. Active listening and great customer service skills are also a must. A talented receptionist can connect callers and visitors with the right employees, as well as handle basic customer service problems and requests adeptly.

Properly groomed with pleasing personality
Since the receptionist is the first person to greet visitors as they come through the door, she should be well groomed and wear standard business attire. A pleasing personality is more a combination of being friendly, helpful, approachable, cheerful, and other pleasing traits that make talking to the person a pleasant experience. Note that a pleasing personality does not mean a pretty face, although beauty adds to it.

Any business benefits from a friendly smile and pleasant personality that greets its customers. A receptionist is such an employee. A visitor walking into the office is often received by the receptionist, hence he or she should be a welcoming and pleasant personality.

Have top-notch organisational skills
Receptionists are the people that represent the face of the company. Aside from taking calls and directing visitors, they often deal with clients, organise events and set up meetings.

A receptionist often coordinates a variety of supportive services for the entire office, which might include overseeing or managing clerical or administrative staff, co-ordinating special events, managing travel arrangements or overseeing the maintenance of office equipment.

These duties require them to interface with multiple internal customers or suppliers outside the organisation. This means that they need to have phone numbers and emergency contact numbers, etc, of all co-workers, contractors, as the organisation might need them at one point or another.

Complaints handling techniques
Often, the receptionist is the one who entertains complaints since they deal with clients first. Even if they are not the ones responsible for the problem, they should be able to handle unpleasant situations. The ability to effectively handle customer complaints and problems is vital for receptionists.

Though providing outstanding service throughout the selling process is beneficial, customers who complain and get their problem effectively solved often develop a strong emotional bond with the business.

Receptionists have an obligation to reply to any complaint you receive either verbally or in writing. If they feel that the company was wrong, they should apologise to the customer and look into a complaint with an open mind as one customer can tarnish the image of the company.

Dress to impress and be respectful
Receptionists are the first person that a customer sees and interacts with, so it’s very important that their appearance reflects well on the business. Before heading to the office, they should make sure that their appearance is professional and ready to welcome. They are representing a business, thus they should be professionally dressed.

The first thing to keep in mind when dressing for reception is achieving a business-appropriate appeal. Low-cut tops and short dresses or skirts are not office appropriate and can reflect badly on the company. If your business is fine with casual dress, just remember that you should never dress too casually.

Ability to handle stress
Among the other traits of the receptionist, one of the most important skills is the ability to handle stress. Dealing with customers is not always a pleasant experience, so the receptionists should be able to cope with stress. When interacting with customers, they have to be diplomatic and courteous. Being a receptionist is a demanding job, hence the need to be able to handle workplace stress.

An office could suddenly change from a pleasant day to a gloomy day due to clients, so a receptionist must know how to deal with such situations. In actual fact, receptionists should know how to handle stress as they are prone to meet people coming with a different level of stress.

Strong technology skills
Workplaces are slowly embracing digitisation, and the receptionist’s job is not exception. Receptionists often perform several administrative tasks — receiving visitors, answering phone calls, and scheduling appointments for clients and customers.

These administrative tasks often require the use of different hardware and software. Receptionists are expected to have previous experience of using phone systems, printers, copiers and MS Word and Excel. Receptionists need to learn how to adapt to more sophisticated software systems.

Efficiently handling busy office traffic

As a receptionist, you are responsible for attending to customers while doing other duties concurrently. A receptionist must be good at handling traffic.

A lot of people who come to an organisation are directed where to go by receptionists. When the reception area gets busy, don’t let your frustration get the best of you. Remember, you are often the first face a customer sees or the first voice a customer hears when doing business with your company. Receptionists are key front-of-office staff integral to many organisations. While receptionists need to provide good first impressions, they should also make sure that they safeguard the culture of the organisation.

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