The media generally doesn’t portray receptionists in the best light. Think about any receptionist you’ve seen in a film or television series lately. They don’t tend to work too much! They sit around on the phone (often to their friends), bring in an occasional hot drink during meetings and unsuccessfully attempt to stop hot-headed characters from walking straight past into their boss’ office. This is unfortunate, as nine times out of ten, this isn’t an accurate portrayal of the job role. A good receptionist actually carries out a whole variety of tasks each and every working day. While your business is small, you may find that you carry out the tasks of a receptionist yourself. However, as you expand, you may need to call in the help of a full-time receptionist in order to maintain good balance and productivity. Here’s everything you need to know to make the right decision for your small business’ needs.
What Does a Receptionist Do?
So, what does a receptionist actually do? Well, a good overall summary would be to say that they meet and greet visitors welcoming them into your office environment in as professional a manner as possible, whether this may be in person or over the phone. Here’s a quick list of their traditional duties for a more in-depth understanding of this high-demand job role!
- Listens to the individual’s requests and direct them as appropriate. Perhaps the individual is waiting for an interview or a meeting; a capable receptionist will seat them in a waiting area and inform the necessary individuals within the office of their presence.
- Answers phone calls and emails directed to the office. As businesses expand, the business owner generally cannot keep up with these at the same time as carrying out all of their other duties. A receptionist can take calls, answer or forward queries, and make a note of any information that needs to be passed on.
- Maintains security in the office by following company procedure when it comes to admitting guests. This may include signing people in and out of a visitor book and issuing visitor badges.
- Ensures that the reception area is safe, clean, and presentable at all times according to company rules and regulations. When your business is still small, they might have to carry out small cleaning tasks themselves, such as mopping up spills. As your business expands, they will generally contact the specialist company cleaner.
- Helps to organize you. This can include keeping a log of your meetings and other appointments.
- Helps to organize your staff base. This can include making notes of individual employees’ holiday leave, sick leave, and in-house meetings.
Hiring a Receptionist for an Online Based Company
Now, we are well aware that an increasing number of businesses are based almost entirely online. If this sounds like your startup, you may be thinking that you’d benefit from the majority of these actions, but don’t have a physical reception to base a receptionist at. This is absolutely fine and doesn’t mean that you have to carry out all of the aforementioned tasks yourself. Instead, you should simply look at outsourced receptionist services. Your business calls, emails, and other forms of inquiries can be redirected to a virtual receptionist (who is still a real human) off-site.
Hiring a Receptionist for a Brick and Mortar Company
If you are hiring a receptionist for a brick and mortar company, you need to focus much more attention on individual selection. You need to know whether they will fit your business’ style and whether they will gel well with you and any other existing employees. This means that you should put much more emphasis on the interview phase of the hiring process. Place a job vacancy up on jobs sites and scan through the CVs and cover letters that you receive for individuals who exude energy and charisma. If you are only just expanding, previous experience isn’t always key, as this individual can grow and improve hand in hand with your company. You can put their ability to the test from early on. Observe their telephone skills by phoning them and scheduling them in for an interview. Check out their written communication skills by arranging details over email. Analyse their verbal communication skills during the interview. By the end of this process, you should have a good idea of their competency.
As you can see, a receptionist is pretty essential as your business grows. So whether you’re based online or in a brick and mortar company, start considering taking on this valuable member of staff today!