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Reception Skills

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Contents of the free course
The Role of the Receptionist
Being an Ambassador

Have you also considered these aspects of the course?

  • Receiving Visitors and Guests
  • Administration in Reception
  • Security and Safety
  • Telephone Skills

Enroll on a complete business course and receive nationally recognised qualification or call us free at 08000-75-8000 for further information

The aims of this course are to provide reception staff with an understanding of the requirements and duties performed in reception, and the ability to perform these duties effectively.

After completing this module you will be able to:
• Describe the receptionist role in your company
• Be an ambassador for your company
• Understand the importance or receiving and greeting visitors
• Provide information and advice to visitors and guests
• Handle enquiries effectively
• Follow routine administrative procedures
• Deal effectively with security and safety issues
• Practice good telephone skills

The Role of the Receptionist
The receptionist’s job in any organisation is different from any other and that is an indication of the diversity of duties performed. Unlike many occupations where it is relatively easy to define and list the duties of the job succinctly, in this case the role is defined by many variables.
The size of company, the nature of its work, your location and even time of day, determine what needs to be done by the receptionist. For example a company in a busy high street may receive many casual visitors whilst in a rural area less so. Hotel reception at 9.00 a.m. is a very different place to the same hotel reception at 6.00 p.m.
What this demonstrates is that there is no one job description for the reception post and therefore in a course such as this we shall have to cover a wide spectrum of activities in quite general terms. It also says much about the actual role, rather than job, of reception.
Exercise 1
Think about receptionists you have encountered in your daily routine and consider these two questions:
Q.1 — How would you describe the role (or purpose of a receptionist)?
Q.2 — What qualities differentiate between good and bad reception?

It is likely that in defining the role you will have identified a purpose which is about presenting a good company image, and acting as the ‘front line’ of the company as far as visitors and telephone callers are concerned. Whether your company is engaged in tourism, travel, manufacturing, health care or any other industry, the prime purpose of the receptionist is the same — to present the public image of the company and to handle the first contact efficiently.

With regard to the qualities of a good receptionist, we could probably list:
. Friendly
. Efficient
. Smart
. Patient
. Helpful
. Calm
and many other qualities too.

Conversely, we have all visited or phoned organisations where these qualities were lacking, and gained a very poor impression of how the company values their custom.
Whether customers, guests and clients make personal visits to your organisation or contact by telephone, the role is the same — to present the company image to external visitors and callers in a proficient manner.
Another way of describing the role would be that of ambassador for your organisation — acting out the values and qualities which your organisation wishes to convey to visitors and callers.
In this course, therefore, we shall look in turn at various duties and skills which go towards fulfilling that role. Some may be very relevant to your organisation; others less so but by being selective you will be able to concentrate on what is important to you.

Enroll on a complete business course and receive nationally recognised qualification or call us free at 08000-75-8000 for further information


Exercise 2
List below the range of tasks which are expected of the receptionist in your organisation:
From this you will be able to highlight which sections of the course are most
important to you. If in any doubt — check it out with your supervisor.  

Being an Ambassador

The word ambassador no doubt brings to mind civil servants based in luxurious foreign offices, representing the country which they serve. This is a good example of an ambassador but by no means the only ambassadorial role. In this instance, the ambassador is representing their country and trying to convey the image of that country which it wishes to present. The ambassador is intended to convey the image, ethos and spirit of their native country, and as such, others will judge that country by the actions and deeds of the ambassador.
So it is with receptionists. Let us look at two examples:
1 . You go into a hotel and are greeted warmly by the receptionist. You are checked in without fuss, they offer to book you a table for dinner and the receptionist carefully explains where your room is and offers to obtain a morning newspaper for you. The reception area is neat and tidy, giving an air of order and there is a comprehensive display of literature for the benefit of guests.
What impression does this give?
2. You arrive to visit your bank manager and go to the desk marked enquiries. The only person you can see behind the counter is on the telephone and neatly avoids any eye contact with you. When you are finally asked about why you are there, the receptionist disappears off without explanation, leaving you standing at the counter. What kind of impression does this give?

In both cases the receptionist is being an ambassador, but each approaches the task very differently.
Inevitably, in both cases, you will form an impression of the company based almost entirely on the actions of the person you first meet from that company (especially if it is your first contact).
In the first example above, you are likely to feel positive about the hotel and, importantly, if other aspects of the service you receive do not quite match up to expectations you may be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. In the second case, chances are that you will be less well disposed to that bank and become very critical of other aspects of their service.
See how important it is to be a good ambassador? The first impression can count for a lot and you must make sure that the impression you create is the one you intended.

Enroll on a complete business course and receive nationally recognised qualification or call us free at 08000-75-8000 for further information

Exercise 3
Now look at the following descriptions. In each case write down what this tells you about an organisation.
1 . You enter a building and instead of a receptionist you find a telephone and a notice saying “ will visitors please call extension 1 1 1 for assistance”.
2. You approach a reception desk to ask for directions to a client’s office and find that the receptionist is chatting to a colleague about last night’s TV.  
3 . After arriving slightly early for an appointment you are asked to take a seat and find that the waiting area is full of boxes from a recent delivery.
4. When you tell a receptionist that you have arrived for an appointment with Mrs. Brown, she has to ring several extensions before locating your host.
In each case you will no doubt have formed an unfavorable impression about the organisation and it will have done nothing to ease your anxiety. Most people arriving for an appointment, checking into a hotel or entering an unfamiliar building do feel some anxiety. Even the hotel is a potentially nerve jangling experience with visitors often quite apprehensive about whether they are expected, is the room going to be OK etc. or possibly just wound up after a long and tiring journey. The potential for wrong and bad impressions to be created in reception is enormous and therefore we must anticipate this and do all we can to put the visitor at ease and create the right impression.
Now, let’s look at the ambassador role again. What this means is presenting the right image and conveying a feeling of welcome to visitors. Have a go at describing the following characteristics of the reception environment as you would like it to be as a visitor yourself to a hotel, bank, business or surgery:

Reception area
Waiting area
Signposting of facilities
Receptionist dress style
Tone of voice
So if this helps to define how you would like to be received as a visitor, shouldn’t this help describe how reception areas should operate.
We will look at this in more detail in the next section but for the moment the important lesson is that being an ambassador is not just about what we say, it is also about what we do and the whole environment which we create.
Obviously, how well these aspirations can be met will be determined to some extent by the type of business and the space and budget available, but whatever business you are in, it will cost very little to pay attention to the important aspects of receiving visitors, guests and customers.


Enroll on a complete business course and receive nationally recognised qualification or call us free at 08000-75-8000 for further information