The Reception or The Front of House function is a pivotal role for any company, and one which has evolved greatly! In countries far afield this function bears the rather fancy title of “Administrative Professional.”
Receptionists today are much more than just a switchboard; they often coordinate the whole guest experience as well as provide administrative support to their team. Receptionists are the hub of communication and will use their exceptional customer service skills to meet, greet and host all internal and external visitors. Their role also includes answering and managing all incoming phone calls and generally supporting the management of day to day admin. If you love interacting with people, then a receptionist role would be perfect for you! Receptionists acquire a huge amount of core skills from their role and many use these to help advance and progress their career.
Single-handedly answering calls, greeting clients and employees with a smile, ordering stationery and filling up the bowl of candied mints – all while searching high and low for the office supply of post-it notes that seems to have diminished far too quickly; receptionists are the multi-tasking ninjas of the workplace.
Visitor management system or no visitor management system, if these talented colleagues weren’t around to man the desk, cracks would quickly appear. And while people can begin to appreciate the daily tasks and duties a receptionist or Administrative Professional (if we are going to be ‘larny’) takes on, there are a few things that only a receptionist (or Administrative Professional) will understand.
These are the lessons I have learnt that I would like to pass on to the newcomers of the profession, and to highlight my role to others that may be unaware of how much I do:
- That seemingly effortless “Hello, how are you today?” greeting actually takes a whole lot of effort.
- Your company genuinely cares about the people who use their services
- You are encouraged to try new things and be innovative. And if it doesn’t work out, dust yourself off and try again.
- There is always something to laugh about every single day, plus it’s good for your psychological wellbeing.
- Its’s okay to not know everything.
- A “lunch break” is, all too often, you sitting at your desk, inhaling the leftovers you brought from home and fending off everyone who walks up to your desk saying, “I know you’re eating your lunch, but…”
- It’s an unspoken law of the universe that the phone will only ever ring the very second you put food in your mouth.
- It takes all your earthly strength not to scream, “TRY GOOGLE MAPS!!” when people call asking for detailed directions.
- No matter what angry callers may think, there are times when you do have to put people on hold – for very legitimate reasons.
- You have to be extremely organized, because you are expected – by all and sundry – to know where everything is at all times.
- Always make sure you’re on excellent terms with the IT guys.
- There’s a special place in your heart for people who don’t miss a single signature on their forms.
- And a not-so-special place for people who refuse to fill out sections of their forms.
- Every day, someone will call exactly one minute before closing time and ask you something that requires a 10-minute explanation.
- You’re the master of keeping cool in tough situations.
- Be deeply appreciative of the few people who acknowledge how hard your job really is.
It is an honour to work for the company I do and I love the role I play. Although it comes with its challenges and difficult days, I know how appreciated I am, and that makes me want to work even harder every day to support my team and make sure I am working hard to be the best Administrative Professional I can be.