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Receptions are the face of every organization. They are the first people your customers engage with; therefore, they leave a significant impact on your customers' experience. It is significantly essential for receptionists to have outstanding skills and be super good at multitasking.
According to the market study, the number of receptionists employed in 2019 was around 1.2 Million. This was approximately 6.59% more than the previous year. Females occupy most of the receptionist jobs, which is 89.9% of the job market. The demand for receptionists in the medical field is increasing. Employment is expected to grow at 3.6% from the year__ 2019 to 2029__.
With the increasing demand, there is a required skill set the receptionists need to have. Receptions need to possess hard and soft skills that will contribute to their performance. What are the skills that can help you secure the job? Let's have a look.
Here we have highlighted some of the best receptionist job skills of 2021 that receptionists and front desk officers need to demonstrate on their resumes.
Be a Good Communicator
Business Phone Answering
Be Calm and Empathic
Stay Updated With the Latest Technology
Good Problem-Solving Skills
Working Under Pressure
Information and Memory
Visitor Management Skills
Ability to Work Independently
Billing and Coding
Coping With Constant Interruption
Good communication skills are essential if you are somebody working in the reception area. You have to master the art to convey critical information and messages effectively for visitors to understand. Some good verbal communication skills include:
• Address people with their first name
• Apologize for making them wait
• Inform before putting a caller on hold
• Never say 'I don't know,' instead request time to find out the required information
• Provide accurate and complete information
• Watch the tone of the voice
• Use good volume
When we talk about effective communication, we think of non-verbal communication skills, besides verbal communication skills. Here are some non-verbal factors of communication:
• Maintain eye contact
• Have pleasant facial expressions and smile
• Nod when you understand the other person
To be able to communicate well, you need to be a good listener too. When communicating, 45% of the time is spent listening. Effective listening is believed to reduce errors and understand the visitor query.
Active listening lets the visitor know that you are interested in their query. Here are some tips to follow for active listening.
• Use affirmation and acknowledgment words: "I understand" and "I know."
• Maintain eye contact
• Face the speaker
• Re-state the visitor's questions
Data entry is another crucial receptionist skill needed to enter and upload data into the database. Data entry needs to be accurate. Firstly, it is to avoid inconvenience for customers. Secondly, data is processed and used for the analysis of company performance.
Data is extracted from various documents or received from visitors for entry into the system. Here are some important data entry skills that receptions need:
• Fast typing speed
Front desk officers also must be proficient in handling mail for the residents or workers in the building. The building often uses mail management software tools like Mailroom by PackageX, which automates the entire process.
The front desk management has to receive mails on behalf of its residents and inform the recipient about the package arrival. They also must manage the mailroom to avoid clutter skillfully.
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Phone calls received at the reception area make the first impression. It may turn a lead into actual customers, or it may drive them away. Thus receptionists need to be proficient with their phone skills. Here are some important rules to consider regarding phone calls.
• Receive the call at the second ring, do not receive the call too early or late. Too early can put get the caller off-guard.
• Greet and mention your name
• Keep a pleasant tone and hearable volume
• Do not keep the caller waiting or request before putting it on hold
• Be informed about departments and personnel, to forward the calls
• Keep a paper and pen ready to note down important messages or information on
Front desk operators need to put on different hats. They need to handle multiple tasks and visitors at the same time. They may have to answer a phone call while searching for important information on the computer.
It is always important to note down important tasks to not miss out on them when interrupted. Furthermore, it is important to understand that visitors who physically take the time to come are a priority. Calls and emails come after visitors.
Staying neat and clean is crucial as it speaks volumes about the culture of the company. Good hygiene projects a good image of the individual and the company both.
Keeping this in view, receptionists should follow these fundamental rules:
• Wear clean and pressed clothes
• Maintain tidy hairstyle
• Maintain dental hygiene
• Use good fragrance
In some organizations, visitors can be unhappy due to multiple reasons. For example, visitors in hospitals are usually distressed, and hotel visitors are often tired. To make these customers feel at ease, receptionists need to listen to the customer. They need to be calm and empathic and should not invalidate the problems of the customers.
They need to understand that the visitor may not be happy and can display unpleasant and negative emotions. In such situations, the receptionist needs to empathize with their situation and understand their behavior while resolving the issue.
Most organizations need receptionists to have at least a high school diploma or an equivalent. Higher education is always preferred.
Candidates with additional skills like administration are preferred. So, if you have certifications in administration and other clerical work, such as typing, it will move you one place upwards on the list of candidates.
Besides basic data entry skills and email checking, front desk officers must use different software tools. Every organization is going digital; thus, they use other software solutions designed for their industry. So, using technology is an additional front desk operator skill that is essential to have.
For example, organizations use various business management systems and coworking office space management systems. Therefore, receptionists should be prepared to learn and use these software tools.
Receptionists have multiple tasks to take care of, but they have to ensure that they focus on staying organized amidst these tasks. To maintain the first impression, the front desk counter has to be organized. It should be clean and tidy.
Papers have to be appropriately filed so important papers are not lost. Using attractive organizers helps in keeping things in place and accessible to find when needed. They also need to maintain calendars to know of important dates and information related to employee availability.
As a receptionist, you should identify the root cause of a customer’s dissatisfaction and offer a solution. It would be best if you focused on the problem rather than focusing on the unpleasant feeling of the customer.
Sometimes there will be callers or frustrated visitors because they were not happy with the service or product. In this case, the receptionist has to stay calm while finding a solution to the problem.
The solution could be in different forms, including:
• Be an active listener
• Identify the root cause of the problem
• Find an alternate solution to the problem
• Take responsibility for mistakes
• Take up the issues to the concerned department
• Be creative with the solution
As a front desk officer, you often have to work under pressure due to workload, busy front desk, or multitasking. However, you have to make an effort to stay calm and focus on each task individually.
Furthermore, receptionists should identify crunch times and outsource tasks so they can deal with that time effectively. Some important tips for working under pressure are:
• Break down the tasks
• Prioritize queries
• Work mindfully to remain calm
Receptionists need to have all the information regarding the organization they are working in. This is to be able to answer visitor queries accurately.
They should have information like:
• Directions to different departments
• Employees that are on leave
• Business off-days and employee off-days
Receptionists must keep an eye on who enters the building to ensure security. Similarly, they have to check the equipment that enters the premises, including USBs, laptops, and cameras. Visitor check-in and logging the relevant data is also a part of their duty.
In 2021, receptionists have an additional duty of health checks to keep COVID cases at bay. They have to make sure everyone is wearing a mask and using sanitizers. Visitor management software used by organizations help in automating these tasks.
As a front desk staff, you will primarily be working in isolation. Therefore, independent work is an essential front desk operator skill. You should be able to handle all kinds of front desk tasks and be responsible.
You should be well informed about the activities to give accurate information to visitors. Receptionists need to be able to work without direct supervision.
Being at the front desk means many people will be interrupting you for information as they all depend on you. Amidst these interruptions, you need to regain your focus and continue doing your pending work.
It is, therefore, crucial to note down important tasks and prioritize so you do not miss out on these tasks.
If you are applying for a receptionist job in the medical industry, you will know about billing and coding. This is entering patient information and a code associated with the health issue into the system. The code is then used to connect to insurance companies for billing.
If you want to land a job as a receptionist, you need no showcase these receptionist job skills to your recruiter. Create a skills section in your résumé and list down both soft skills and hard skills. In the summary section, you could add a few statements highlighting the skills to your recruiter.
Do not be scared of technology replacing receptionist jobs. Technology has created visitor management software tools to automate the process and make the job efficient. Receptionists are still needed in organizations as visitors and callers need a point of contact to get information from.
Thus, receptionists will always be required, but job nature is changing with the changing market trends. Consequently, the receptionist skills and qualities needed to be a receptionist are also changing from before.
The changing trend of remote work in 2021 has also brought about a change in the receptionist job market. As companies are going remote, they are hiring remote receptionists too. Receptionist skills like voice tone, acknowledgment words, being a good listener, and problem-solving skills still hold the same importance.
Let's go over some frequently asked questions about the receptionist's skills in 2021.
Q. What are the skills required to be a front desk officer?
To be a front desk officer, you need to possess social skills and be friendly with the visitors. You need to use your interpersonal skills and be helpful. Your helpful attitude should be prevalent, and you should always be available to assist others.
The front desk officer has the power to make visitors their loyal customers or drive them away with their behavior, tone, and communication skills. Thus, as a front desk officer, you have a huge responsibility to drive the company.
Q. What is the most important skill that is required of a receptionist?
Receptionists need to have outstanding communication skills by practicing active listening. Moreover, they should be great at multi-tasking. It is also significantly important for them to have good knowledge of using computers to record visitor information.
Q. What should be the key priorities of a receptionist?
Though receptionist educational requirement is not high, in 2021, you need to possess outstanding computer skills. Every organization has a software solution to automate tasks for which you need to be prepared.
There will need different software tools in different organizations and industries. As a receptionist, you should be able to learn how to use the software quickly.
Q. What are the two essential qualities of a receptionist?
Firstly, it is significantly important for receptionists to have professionalism. As they give the first impression of the company, they have to be professional in every aspect. This includes their tone, their dress code, and the way they greet everyone.
Secondly, they need to be pro in time management. As they juggle between the tasks, they need to know the strategy of prioritizing essential tasks and putting them on top of the list. Moreover, they have to divide the time to handle calls and visitors while completing the clerical work.
If you are a new entrant in this industry, the receptionist job skills mentioned above will be your guide to make your résumé shine. Being the first contact in a company, recruiters want to review résumés with receptionist skills and qualities that will immediately impact. Using your objective statement, convey a strong message to the employer explaining how you can add value to the organization.
A receptionist job may seem a small one; however, it is a high-impact job with a huge responsibility. With the right attitude and interest in a receptionist position, you have great chances of growth and success.