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As a receptionist a large part of your day will involve listening to people, over the phone or face to face.
Maybe it’s a new customer, perhaps it’s a regular customer. It could be a team member or often it’s a courier or tradesperson. Whoever it is, a large part of your day is spent with someone asking you a question or relaying information to you.
A good receptionist starts with being given good receptionist training. Below are some fundamental reception skills, around listening and interpersonal skills, that you’ll need to be a good receptionist.
Being able to listen well is vital. It will make you more efficient and more effective and anyone interacting with you will respond more positively. You’ll be able to solve problems faster when you understand clearly what the person is asking, and you’ll be able to connect customers to the person they’re trying to reach sooner.
A good listener is focused. Give your full attention to the person talking to you and aim to understand exactly what they want. If you’re distracted, it’ll be obvious to the other person and it’ll mean you need to ask them to repeat themselves, which never leaves a great impression. I’m sure you’ve been in front of a distracted receptionist before and become frustrated pretty quickly. So don’t try to multi-task, focus on one task at a time. If you are speaking to a customer face to face, give them your full attention, if you are speaking to a customer on the phone, give them your full attention. Obviously there will be times when you are interrupted.
Handle these with grace and politely ask the first person if they would mind waiting for just one moment, then turn your attention to the person interrupting and thank them for waiting, let them know you will be with them as soon as you’ve finished serving the first person. Let them know this with a big smile and happy voice then immediately return to the first person and thank them for their patience. It’s harder for people to be upset with you when you thank them and smile at them.
Not only good listening skills but good interpersonal skills are also vital for reception.
This goes beyond basic communication abilities. A great receptionist will be able to initiate small talk, empathise, collaborate well with others, give and receive feedback gracefully, and rise above petty office politics. This means soft skills like friendliness and likability are especially important for the receptionist role.
Don’t allow others to rush you, as the receptionist you set the tone for your organisation and the people in your reception area. Make it a smiling, positive, efficient but relaxed tone and you will find others respond to this. After all, who wants to be greeted by a frowning grump?
To learn more reception skills check out our short, practical, easy to understand reception skills training videos at canity.com
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