The top 10 receptionist skills (required in 2022)

Written by Jill - Updated: January 24, 2023


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.

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

What is a receptionist?

Merriam Webster describes a receptionist as follows:


a person employed to greet telephone callers, visitors, patients, or clients

A receptionist or front office clerk is someone who manages the reception desk of an organization. He or she welcomes visitors in a company, hotel or hospital and performs administrative duties.

The job of a receptionist is vital in an organization. By definition, the receptionist is the first person a visitor meets. It is his/her responsibility to provide top-notch customer service and make a good first impression. A receptionist is in other words the face of the company.

What are the main tasks of a receptionist?

The tasks of a receptionist are very diverse. The specific responsibilities may vary by organization or industry. Here are some of the main duties that most receptionists have on a daily basis:

  • Welcome and guide visitors
  • Control visitor access
  • Print visitor badges
  • Answer and transfer phone calls
  • Answer or forward e-mails
  • Provide information, in person, by phone or email
  • Handle inquiries and complaints
  • Receive, sort, distribute and send mail
  • Manage agendas and plan meetings
  • Keep the reception area tidy
  • Record and track office expenses
  • Order reception supplies
  • Archive documents
  • Book flights and accommodations
  • Coordinate internal and external events

Receptionists have many responsibilities. Automating certain tasks frees up time for their most important job: giving visitors a warm welcome and ensuring an outstanding first impression.

One way to do this is to work with digital visitor registration. Visitors can check themselves in on a tablet, while the receptionist can focus on providing the perfect welcome. To find out how a visitor registration system can help your front desk, try Vizito for free during a 14 day trial.

Which qualifications does a receptionist need?

The job of receptionist does not require any specific education or training, although requirements may vary per company.

Education: Usually a high school diploma suffices, but some companies expect their receptionists to have a bachelor’s degree in communications or business management. Some industries - such as hospitals or the legal industry - may require additional diplomas.

Training: Receptionists are in most cases trained on-the-job. Training is focused on the needs of the sector or the company.

Experience: Knowledge of computer programs and software, such as Microsoft Office, comes in handy as these applications are used for many receptionist tasks. Knowledge of telephone systems is a plus. In addition, some companies have specific requirements based on their unique needs, such as experience with a specific software system.

What does the future hold for receptionist jobs?

Some tasks are already being automated today, but don’t be afraid that technology will completely replace receptionist jobs. On the contrary, these tools allow receptionists to do their jobs more efficiently.

Visitor management software for example allows visitors to sign in themselves, print visitor badges and automatically stores the necessary data. This gives receptionists more time to focus on their important tasks.

Receptionists still are the first point of contact for visitors and callers, and thus take on an important role within the company. Receptionists will always be needed, but the job does evolve, and so do the skills a receptionist needs.

A good example is the trend of flexible working. The fact that staff members are now working more remotely has also brought about a change for receptionists. Skills such as verbal communication and a clear voice, good listening and problem-solving skills are more important today than ever.

How to improve receptionist skills

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

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.

Want to join our team? Check our current open positions at Vizito.

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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