Picture this: The flu’s hit the office, and most of the crew’s home sick, including the receptionist. You and your healthy teammates are facing double the usual workload, and although you’re up for the challenge, one question looms: “Who’s going to answer the phone?” As the boss mutters something about signing up for that answering service, it happens — the phone rings, and by chance, you’re standing closest to it. All eyes are on you. Do you have what it takes?
- Greet your caller graciously. “Hello” doesn’t cut it. Start with something nice like “Thank you for calling,” end with a “How may I help you?” and be sure to slip your company name in the middle. You can find more of our greeting guidelines here.
- Mind your manners. You may be new to the receptionist game, but if you’re nice, no one will notice. Ask for information rather than demanding it, as in “May I say who is calling?” and “May I have your name?” Throw “please” and “thank you” in there as much as possible. Everyone loves to be treated with respect, and the happier your callers are, the happier you’ll be.
- Deflect with style. Here’s a little secret every great receptionist knows: it’s not about having the answer to every question, it’s about knowing what to say when you don’t know. “Let me find out for you” and “Let me connect you with the best person to help you” are excellent responses. “I don’t know” is not.
- Avoid dead ends. When you’re not able to reach the person your caller is seeking, always offer to take a message or transfer the caller to voicemail. Never make your caller ask to leave a message — it’s awkward and off-putting. It’s just this easy: “Tim’s in a meeting. May I take a message?”
- Keep calm and carry on. Mistakes — we’ve all made them. Our expert virtual receptionists have learned that nearly any flub can be remedied with friendliness. Being a receptionist isn’t an easy job by any means, but at the end of the day, you’re a person communicating with another person. Be kind, be courteous, and be yourself, and you’re sure to hit any curve ball out of the park.