Receptionists are the first people to greet you when you enter the front office of an organization or business. These employees serve much like gatekeepers, controlling the flow of business and interacting with visitors. Companies are anxious to find dependable receptionists and hire those who can complete the three major duties the position requires. These duties fall into the hospitality and administrative categories.
Degree Directory and the Receptionist Job Description website both indicate that receptionists are responsible for handling phone calls. In fact, Degree Directory says this is the most important task receptionists perform. They have to answer the phone and transfer the caller to others within the company if they cannot deal with the caller's issues or needs personally. They take messages and may make calls to remind clients about appointments or to confirm data such as office supply orders.
Greetings and escorting
Receptionists greet everyone who comes into the main office. They may chat in a friendly way with the visitor to make them feel comfortable and at home. They alert others within the building that the visitor has arrived. Sometimes the receptionist may offer the guest some refreshments during this period or show the visitor where he or she might have a seat if the visitor needs to wait. The receptionist also makes decisions on when to show a guest to other areas of the building and serves as an escort for the visitor to make sure the visitor doesn't get lost.
The Receptionist Job Description website points out that receptionists have to be able to handle uncomfortable situations such as when a customer is displeased with service. The ability to diffuse conflict is important on the phone, but it is even more important during greetings and escorting because the chance for physical confrontation is much greater. Receptionists may need to alert security personnel if these situations escalate in order to keep others in the building safe.
Receptionists may be responsible for a host of administrative tasks, depending on the organization. According to Degree Directory, these tasks include, but are not limited to, entering data into computer software, ordering supplies, filing, managing accounts (bookkeeping), sending correspondence via fax, post or e-mail and tracking/handling inventory. Receptionists may participate in meetings for the organization so that they stay abreast of the organization's needs and therefore can provide better service.
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