5 Receptionist Customer Service Skills

Written by Nicky Walker - Senior Marketing Developer
5 customer dervice skills needed for a great receptionist

Great customer service is key to the success of any brand, and one of the very first opportunities for a company to show off their customer service is through their receptionist.

As the first point of contact, be it in person on the front desk or over the phone, receptionists play an important role in showing the business off in the best possible way to existing and potential new clients.

Their ability to properly greet and communicate with visitors and callers make their role vital, as their interactions can set the tone for the customer’s journey with business.

Why are Receptionist Customer Service Skills important?

“It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it” and this can be very true for a receptionist engaging with customers. Whether it’s saying it with a genuine smile, showing empathy in the face of a complaint or providing clear and concise communication, a professional receptionist is worth their weight in gold if you’re looking to project a positive image for your brand.

Through their professionalism, communication and problem solving skills, a good receptionist can transform an initial enquiry into a lasting relationship with the business, underscoring the importance of their role in the brand’s image and customer retention strategy.

5 Key Receptionist Skills required for exceptional customer service:

1) Communication

Clear, concise and friendly communication is not only a great skill to possess, but a must if you are to give great customer service when answering phone calls. Clear communication ensures that messages are understood correctly, preventing any potential confusion.

Reading back and confirming telephone numbers and names, using the phonetic alphabet, should be standard. It can be deeply irritating to receive a message to call back a new enquiry only to find either the telephone number has been taken down wrong or you ask to speak with Ray when it was actual Faye calling! Not a great start and one that’s easily avoidable by following the basics of call answering.

Having good communication skills also means being concise, without coming across as rude, but professional. OK, some callers might want to have a good chat about the weather or latest addition to I’m a Celebrity, but in the main, business callers don’t want to waste too much time on calls, especially if it’s urgent or they are chasing something for a second or third time.

Whether you are on the front desk or hidden away on the switchboard answering incoming phone calls only, it’s always a good idea to smile. A friendly face or tone always adds a personal touch and can make customers and callers feel welcomed and valued.

2) Empathy

Empathy in customer service isn’t just about understanding what a customer needs; it’s about stepping into their shoes and genuinely seeing it from their point of view. Imagine a receptionist who not only hears what you’re saying but also feels the urgency or frustration behind your words. This skill can transform a cold, almost uncaring interaction into a meaningful, more human connection.

When a receptionist can display real empathy then they can relate to a customer’s situation and bridge the gap between corporate policy and human touch.

By acknowledging and addressing a customer’s concerns with genuine understanding, receptionists not only solve problems but also build trust and trust in business can equal brand loyalty.

3) Patience

Patience in customer service isn’t just a virtue; it’s an essential. The customer is always right and to that end it’s important to listen to them, be patient and keep your cool.

A receptionist showing great patience

Imagine you’re a receptionist for a pen manufacturer and you are faced with a caller complaining that your company’s latest offering, a pen that purports to write in zero gravity, is nonsense and a gimmick. Staying calm and collected, even when the complaint seems deeply trivial, is key. It’s about listening to their concerns with the same seriousness as if they were discussing something more down-to-earth. Remember, every great receptionist knows that behind every complaint is an opportunity to demonstrate just how unflappably patient your brand can be — even in zero gravity situations.

Demonstrating patience can send a powerful message about the brand’s commitment to exceptional customer service, showing that each client’s concerns are worthy of attention and care, it allows for more thoughtful responses and solutions, rather than reactive or hurried ones that may escalate the issue.

4) Technical skills

This doesn’t mean that a receptionist needs to have a fantastic grasp of computer coding but rather being relatively good and familiar with computers and software that offices use every day. It’s not just about knowing how to send emails or use a spreadsheet, it’s also about being able to pick up new programs or apps fast when the job needs it.

Being tech-savvy helps them do their job better and faster, which means they can help customers and callers more effectively too.

Knowing their way around a computer and being open to learning new tech skills are key for any receptionist who wants to be really good at their job.

5) Problem-solving skills

Having the ability to untangle customers’ problems can sometimes seem like a dark art, but more often than not, it can be because the receptionist has great communication, patience, and possibly some technical skills. A good receptionist listens carefully to understand the root of the issue, thinks creatively to come up with effective solutions, and communicates these solutions in a way that is easy for the customer to understand.

It might even be that the receptionist is not able to solve the problem themselves. Why should they, if the issue is deeply complex or product-related? But if they have listened, understood the customer and have good receptionist skills, then they are able to point them in the direction of the best person or team to help.

Being able to solve a problem or identify the best person for the job is a valuable skill set. Like many of the skills mentioned, it can transform potentially negative experiences into positive ones, building customer trust and loyalty.

Looking for excellent customer service representatives to answer phone calls?

The role of receptionists in establishing and maintaining a brand’s reputation through excellent customer service can’t be understated. Whether they are dealing with customer complaints, scheduling appointments, answering phones or just manning the front desk, they first and foremost need excellent customer service skills.

Their clear communication and empathy can transform a routine enquiry into an opportunity to demonstrate the brand’s commitment to customer care. Patience, problem-solving and active listening skills ensure that even the most difficult of situations are handled with professionalism, again reinforcing the brand’s values.

At Connect, our virtual receptionists professionally answer phone calls for clients from all business sectors and for all business sizes, for small businesses to the legal industry. They are all trained to have great communication skills and many have gained years of experience so that we are able to offer your business some of the best receptionists there are on offer, just as if they were on your front desk.

If you’d like to see for yourself how our call answering service can help with your incoming phone calls, scheduling appointments or other important tasks, why not give us a call on 0330 3333 777, request a call-back or set-up a trial online by clicking here.

Receptionist Skills for Great Customer Service : FAQs

What makes a perfect receptionist?

Excellent communication skills coupled with empathy, patience and the ability to turn a complaint or negative phone call into a positive.

Is there such a thing as a “perfect receptionist”? Probably not as, what maybe classed as perfect in one organisation, may not suit another but in general a great receptionist should be a people person, enthusiastic, be able to juggle multiple tasks and know their trade, organisation and clients well.

What are 3 essential interpersonal skills for a receptionist?

  • Communication skills:
    A receptionist must be able to convey information clearly and concisely to ensure that messages taken can be easily understood. This includes some absolute musts like repeating back telephone numbers and confirming the correct spelling of names.
  • Empathy:
    Being able to genuinely understand the feelings of others is vital and can very quickly let the caller, or client, see that you understand, especially if they are complaining or upset.
  • Patience:
    Taking the time to listen, allowing the caller to air their thoughts, without interruption, can help de-escalate a potentially angry call. Regardless of who is in the wrong, client or company, sometimes a little patience is all that is required to truly understand the issues and to come up with a solution.

How do receptionists deal with difficult customers and customer complaints?

Dealing with difficult customers and complaints

  • Stay Calm and Patient:
    Maintaining composure is vital. By staying calm and patient, receptionists can manage the conversation’s flow and avoid escalating the situation.
  • Listen Actively:
    Before attempting to solve the problem, it’s important to fully understand it. Active listening involves paying close attention to the customer’s words, acknowledging their feelings, and validating their concerns.
  • Empathize:
    Showing empathy by acknowledging the customer’s feelings can go a long way in smoothing over negative feelings. It demonstrates the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Offer Solutions:
    After understanding the problem, the receptionist should either provide a solution or explain the steps that will be taken to find one. The solution might be something as simple as knowing who the best person to speak to is.

Related Posts: