Receptionist Skills Training

Receptionists sit behind the front desk at businesses and other organizations; they are first points of contact for customers, clients and delivery personnel. Their job involves several responsibilities; they answer phones, transfer calls, send emails, prepare documents, send faxes, make copies, file paperwork, run errands and perform any other duties requested of them. Receptionists typically receive on-the-job training, although community colleges, technical schools, libraries, online courses and community centers also may offer instruction in receptionist skills.

  1. Customer Service

    • One of the most important components of a receptionist's job is customer service. Receptionist candidates should be trained thoroughly in customer interaction, as their faces are the first ones that customers see. Training should include how to speak in an intelligent, respectful, articulate and professional manner; handle customer complaints; engage in active listening, answer questions and assure clients their needs will be met.

    Switchboard Skills

    • Receptionists are responsible for handling the company's incoming calls and should be trained in proper switchboard skills. Topics should include using a greeting appropriate for the time of day, such as "good morning," "good afternoon" and "good evening"; learning the names, job titles and phone extensions of employees within the organization; maintaining a polite and respectful speaking voice regardless of the nature of the call; and how to transfer calls, place clients on hold and use the conference call feature. Receptionists should also know how to access the voicemail system to retrieve messages.

    Computer and Keyboarding Skills

    • Receptionist training should include computer and keyboarding skills. Students will benefit from instruction on typing; how to turn a computer on and off; computer operating systems such as Windows; creating, editing and printing documents with word-processing software;creating and maintaining spreadsheets with accounting software, preparing presentations with appropriate software, and how to use Internet-based technology, such as search engines email, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

    Office Equipment

    • Receptionists also will need to be trained in the use and maintenance of common office equipment, such as printers, fax machines, copiers and scanners, as well as any specialty equipment used in their employers' offices.

    Data Entry and Filing

    • Data entry and filing are important parts of a receptionist's duties. Training should include various paper and computer filing systems, as well as entering data quickly and accurately.


    • Receptionists may be called to handle some accounting responsibilities for their employers. This may include billing, invoicing and payroll work. To this end, receptionist training should include lessons on bookkeeping software and instruction on how to use a 10-key adding machine.

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  • Photo Credit call-center image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

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