The top 10 skills that every receptionist needs

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Written by Jill / On May 16, 2022


Your reception is the face of your company. The receptionist is by definition the first person of your organisation a visitor meets in person. Needless to say this first contact is of utmost importance: it’s decisive for the first impression people get of your company.

That puts a lot of responsibility on your receptionist. A smile goes a long way, but the work of a receptionist is much more than that. Therefore it’s essential that they have excellent skills.

After two years that were dominated by the coronavirus, vacancies for receptionists are on the rise again. Most receptionists are women: last year, 85 percent of applicants for receptionist jobs were women.

If you’re looking for staff to man your reception area, you’ll want to look out for certain skills. What qualities should a good receptionist have to make your company shine?



10 qualities of a good receptionist

A good first impression and an organization that runs smoothly: that’s the aim of a good receptionist. Here’s an overview of the skills every receptionist should have.

  • Communication
  • Multitasking
  • Social skills
  • Organization
  • Technical skills
  • Resistance to stress
  • Problem solving
  • Empathy
  • Reliability
  • Visitor management

Receptionist skills



1. Communication

Receptionists are always in contact with people, whether by phone, email or in person. Good communication skills are therefore at the top of the list of desirable qualities. A good receptionist is able to convey information clearly, speaks clearly and loud enough, and masters the art of non verbal communication.


2. Multitasking

On the busiest days, the phone at the front desk is ringing off the hook. Meanwhile, people may be waiting to be greeted personally. Appointments are to be made, messages to be passed on, and administrative tasks to be completed.

A receptionist is constantly juggling all kinds of tasks. It’s important they can switch between tasks smoothly, while taking into account everyone’s needs and not becoming overwhelmed or frustrated themselves.


3. Social skills

Needless to say, a receptionist must also possess quite a few social skills to build relationships with clients, colleagues and visitors. A bad experience at the reception can leave a negative impression in no time. Welcoming guests warmly and with a smile is thus a core task.


4. Organization

Looking around in an office building, the reception area is often the neatest place. And so it should be. A desk full of paperwork not only makes a bad impression on visitors, it is also a prelude of problems: documents go lost easily and data lying around is a violation on data protection rules.

The perfect receptionist is therefore highly organized. They must be able to come up with files and telephone numbers instantly. A tidy workspace is a must.


5. Technical skills

Complex phone systems, email, word processing programs and photocopiers hold no secrets for most receptionists. But in a world where everyone is going digital, being up to speed with the latest technologies is a great asset. Systems for managing rooms, smart parking and registering visitors: receptionists have to know them all.


Cold and impersonal? Too complicated? In this article we debunk the top 5 myths about digital visitor management.


6. Resistance to stress

Receptionists must have nerves of steel. They often have to work under great pressure, as they have to handle several tasks and visitors at the same time. While doing their tasks they are often interrupted by people requesting information, by a phone call or by a new visitor, and then go back to their work. Yet they must remain calm and focused.


Receptionist stress resistant



7. Problem solving

An unsatisfied customer, a missed appointment, a visitor who is unwell… Dozens of problems can arise every day. It is the receptionist’s job to remain calm and find a solution. In emergency situations, receptionists are also often the first people who have to react and decide what to do.


8. Empathy

Every once in a while every organization faces the occasional visitor who is dissatisfied, stressed, or frustrated. To put these visitors at ease, receptionists must listen to them, be calm and empathetic, and try not to deny the problem.


9. Reliability

Because receptionists have contact with almost every customer and employee, it is very important that you can rely on them. No company can afford to have a phone call to go unanswered or to have a visitor waiting at an empty reception desk.

A receptionist must be able to work independently, be punctual, return from breaks on time, take responsibility and solve problems as they arise.


10. Visitor management

Receptionists are largely responsible for visitor management. They must keep an eye on who enters the building to ensure security. Checking in visitors and keeping track of their records is also part of their duties.

In 2022 many companies use visitor registration software. By automating the registration of visitors and the management of their data, receptionists can concentrate on their many other tasks, such as ensuring a warm welcome and creating a positive first impression.

Here you can read how you can get started with digital visitor registration in less than 30 minutes.



How to improve your skills

Are you looking for a job as a receptionist? There are several things you can do to improve your skills.


1. Train your communication skills

As communication is key for a receptionist, it is important that you train your communication skills whenever possible. Practice your active listening skills on the telephone, paying attention to what the other person is saying and summarizing this information. You can also practice your communication during meetings with others.


2. Work on professionalism

Receptionists must maintain professionalism throughout the day. A good way to practice this is by communicating on the same professional level with everyone you meet. For example, greet the mailman with the same courtesy as an executive in your company.


Receptionist social smile



3. Take notes

When you take notes and document everything, you will be better organized and more focused on details.


4. Work on reliability

Receptionists should always be at their desk to greet customers, answer phone calls and perform other tasks. Make reliability a priority by ensuring you are always available to help.

To get a feel of how a modern visitor management system can help your business grow, try out Vizito during a 14-day trial or chat with us to discuss how Vizito can help you improve your reception.

Got more questions? These are the 7 most common questions about digital visitor management – and our answers.

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