The extent of involvement with visitors will depend on the size of the organization and the way it is structured.
In small organization there may be only one member of the office staff who carries out a wide range of duties, including of receptionist. It will be that person’s responsibility to make callers feel welcome, show them where to wait and direct them to the right person or place.
Large organizations generally employ a receptionist to handle the switchboard, deal with callers and give routine information about the organization. The reception area is located near the main entrance to the building or suite of offices.
Some organizations require clients to sign a visitor’s book when they enter and leave the office. The receptionist might also supply visitors with an identifying badge or tag to wear while they are o the premises.
Acknowledge visitors as soon as they arrive. Your manner should always be courteous, pleasant and helpful. Politely ask the visitor’s name, who they have come to see, and whether he or she has an appointment.
If you frame the question carefully you will get a clear and pleasant response. Here are some examples: “May I have your name please?” : “Would you mind spelling your name for me ?”. Concentrate on the answer given, maintain eye contact as much as possible, and avoid asking for answers to be repeated.
Try not to make visitors wait. If you are on the telephone, acknowledge to visitor by a nod or smile.
Locating staff for visitors
Once you have greeted the visitor and established why they are there, contact the person they have come to see as quickly as possible.
Contacting the staff member
Phone the relevant staff members to tell them that their visitor has arrived. They will usually ask you to direct the visitor to their office, come to reception.
Directions for Visitors
The manner in which a visitor is directed or escorted depends on the size and layout of the office. Remember, if you are responsible for switchboard duties and you leave your workstation, you must ask another member of staff to take calls while you are away.
Delays or non-availability
For various reasons, a staff member might not be able to see a visitor immediately, even if he or she has appointment. If this happens, it is courteous to keep the visitors informed. Explain why the staff member is delayed or currently unavailable, and how long you think the visitor might have to wait.
Because the receptionist deals with so many callers and clients, he or she will sometimes have to handle unusual or challenging situations. These might be related to appointment details, misunderstandings, diversity of personalities or sensitive information. You should handle all situations and callers calmly, confidently and politely.