Receptionists perform many different tasks within an office. They are normally responsible for greeting visitors and answering telephones, but they do many other things as well. The exact responsibilities for receptionist jobs vary depending on the type of office they work in.

Receptionists are the first representatives of a company that outside clients get to meet, also responsible for keeping the office running smoothly.


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So, what makes a good receptionist?


 Friendly, polite, and well spoken

Good receptionists know how to make people feel welcome and comfortable while people wait. Always welcome people with a warm welcome and a smile. Even if you have to continue what you were doing for a short while, this makes them feel acknowledged.



The Receptionist is the Public Image of the Business.



 Positive Attitude

Whether over the phone or in person, the receptionist’s attitude comes through loud and clear. It’s been said that callers can tell when a person is smiling over the phone, and they can surely tell when she is not. So SMILE!


 Be punctual

It is very important that you are on time; after all you don’t want to have to leave potential new clients waiting on the doorstep while you flap around trying to open up the reception area to greet them.



A receptionist appearance should match the company atmosphere, but they should always be well groomed and poised.

Problems have a way of occurring at the worst possible time, usually when you or other managers are away from the office. A good receptionist should be able to think fast, help customers find solutions to problems and leave customers with the feeling that they are in good hands.



Some of the biggest challenges that you will face while working as a receptionist are the clients who are impatient or downright rude. These cannot be avoided. No matter how rude the clients may be, however, remember that they are still clients and they are still the people who pay the bills in the office at the end of the day. As such, you need to learn how to deal and interact with such people with grace.


In a busy office, the receptionist has to be ‘reactively’ friendly. A bubbly kind of person often wants to talk too long and can’t move efficiently from call to call.



 Find out your boss/ manager preferences

Ask managers if they prefer receiving calls in voice mail or getting a written message. Some have definite preferences one-way or the other and will appreciate you asking.


  Good organizational skills

Aside from managing schedules, a receptionist may have to set appointments and keep track of messages, mail and emails on behalf of several other people.


 Good Customer Service, a Must!

A good receptionist should also keep as her main focus, good customer service. If the customer is not treated in a professional and courteous manner, he or she will look elsewhere to get the service they need and desire.


 Technologically savvy

We live in a world of ever-changing technology. Tablet computers and smartphones are fast becoming a big part of how businesses operate; receptionists need to keep abreast of this technology.



Good receptionists are discrete; you should be able to convey all sorts of important information on the phone in a quasi-public waiting room without disclosing inappropriate information to anyone who might overhear. Receptionists also take responsibility for ensuring that inappropriate conversations between staff do not occur in the waiting area.


 Good attention to detail

Receptionists must be able to put their hands on anything from a company phone list to the CEO’s appointment book quickly and as the information is requested.



Try to listen ‘actively’ so that the person feels that you are with them and are trying hard to understand their story and how they feel.


 Remember the client’s names

Get to know the voices and names of clients who call frequently. It flatters clients to be recognized, and sends the message that they matter to the firm.


Being a good receptionist is not an easy task.  It takes someone with an amazing outlook on life and the ability to multitask and keep things flowing nicely.

And remember – treat the person in front of you, as you would want to be treated if it was you standing there in their shoes.


With these steps, you should be able to work as an effective receptionist. If you have more tips to add to this list please share them with us. 


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Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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