How to get the right receptionist for your business to keep customers happy and data secure? We explain the qualities of a receptionist...
Your receptionist is at once the client-side face of your company, and the administrative grease that keeps the machine running. The best receptionists are adept at organization, have a strong suite of generalist technical skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to handle multiple different tasks.
These days you can hire a virtual receptionist and outsource those roles to qualified professionals who maintain a personal touch, but don't come with the overheads of in house staff. With the right organizational skills, they can effectively manage appointments and meetings. They will also improve client relationships with a positive attitude and a customer-centered mindset. They can even increase your office productivity and help you set up more efficient client management systems.
Offloading time-consuming tasks to a human virtual receptionist will add more hours to your day—time you can use to focus on your core business goals and increase your revenue.
1. A Positive Attitude
A person’s attitude will always shine through. So, it’s crucial that your receptionist has a positive one. This will affect how they respond to different situations—good, stressful and everything in between. A positive attitude is not just something that will rub off on your customers, it is something that other staff members will absorb. Positivity is a leadership trait and it's also something to look for in a good receptionist. So, what are signs of a positive attitude? See if the candidate:
- Has stayed in positions for longer than four years and/or hasn’t had more than three jobs in a 5-year period.
- Talks positively about past jobs and employers. If you are interviewing someone and they start to talk only about times when they were let down, it is a sign that they might not tend to look at the best in certain situations.
- Are willing to take responsibility and refrain from blaming other people.
- Talks about things that they are passionate about, both within their career and in their personal life. If your recruitment process allows people to talk about their passions during an interview, then this is a good way to gauge if you have a positive applicant.
When interviewing potential receptionists, ask questions that reveal more about their outlook and personality as well as their previous experience and skills. This way, you’ll have a better idea of their attitude. A lot of people opt for longer interview processes to try and extract details about this sort of personality trait and find out if a candidate has the right receptionist qualities.
2. The Right Technical Skills
The right receptionist for your business should have the right technical skills as all customer-related transactions will start with them. They will answer calls, texts and messages from customers, schedule appointments and handle client information.
Here at Nexa, our live receptionists have all the necessary technical skills to address your company’s needs. We build clients’ trust with:
- Call Answering and Appointment Scheduling: Real people power our 24/7 phone answering services. This means no more generic AI that may put off potential customers. Our expert agents handle customer questions and concerns just as you would—professionally and with empathy.
- Inbound and Outbound Sales Services: Cut your marketing and sales spending by scooping-up leads your competitors leave or converting more incoming leads to new business. Our robust customer relations efforts and tailored sales services create brand loyalty every step of the way. Nexa’s virtual receptionists also are trained in the best sales practices to help improve your retention and conversion.
- People-Powered Live Chat: Convert your web traffic, even the phone-shy potential clients, into paying customers with our people-powered live chat services.
- People-Powered Messaging: Connect with your customers wherever, whenever, with our people-powered text messaging services. This way, you can improve customer experiences without the added effort and expenses.
- Client & Patient Intake Services: Client intake can be difficult for new clients and patients. Accelerate and improve your intake process without lifting a finger with our efficient client and patient intake services.
3. Organizational Prowess
Organizational skills are vital for almost any business. Your receptionist needs to be able to develop processes on the fly in order to stay on track and focused. That way, they’re prepared for the unexpected, which often happens in a bustling business environment. They should also be able to keep files, phone numbers and their work area organized, so they don’t lose important documents. This is vital. Some people are terrible at staying organized, but you need certain people within the business who can be responsible for this.
Financial records and customer data are not things to mess around with and often these are the things that your receptionist is dealing with on a daily basis. So, how can you tell if a receptionist candidate is organized? Just like other qualities of a good receptionist, a test of organization is something else you can build into recruitment.
You can start by asking how they prefer to setup calendars and contacts. All of our virtual assistants are trained to high standards and boast brilliant organization skills, as well as the ability to book appointments and integrate with your own CRM. They know how to help keep everything in your business safe and secure.
4. Multitasking Skills
Multi-tasking isn’t exactly the greatest thing for focus, especially on very creative jobs. However, the ability to multi-task is essential for receptionists. They will undoubtedly have to handle multiple tasks at a time. It’s simply the way the job works. One minute they may be working on a spreadsheet and the next, they may be answering a phone call or taking a message. We train all of our virtual assistants to deal with multiple tasks at the same time, so they are able to handle tough situations that are thrown at them. They must be able to do this with poise, even amidst stressful situations. So, how can you tell if a receptionist candidate is poised and has the ability to multi-task?
- Ask how they’ve handled a stressful situation in their previous workplace
- Assess whether or not they can stay calm under pressure
- Ask them how they manage multiple deadlines
For small teams especially, multitasking skills are a must-have. There will always be multiple, sometimes competing, needs in any administrative role, especially when it mixes with a client-facing side. When you're looking for a great receptionist, you need someone who can juggle all the balls in the air at once. Answering calls, scheduling, taking notes, and remembering the core task list and goals set for the day and week all at once. They are often the glue that keeps the machine rolling.
Some companies think they need to hire separate employees for customer relations and office admin management. A competent receptionist can fulfill both roles.
5. Tech-Savvy & Ability To Integrate With Your Industry Software
A good receptionist is proficient with basic technology. They know their way around a spreadsheet as well as industry-specific software. They can update your social media if needed and create documents in Microsoft Word. Also, they will easily make call transfers, use fax machines and copiers, and handle a complicated phone system. A receptionist's role is often varied, and they need to learn fast. It shouldn’t take five hours to teach them how to use a new piece of simple software. People who are tech-savvy tend to pick this sort of thing up fairly quickly. How can you tell if your receptionist candidate is tech-savvy?
- Ask what tasks they’ve handled in previous jobs
- Ask what technical software they’re familiar with—name specifics, if required for the job
- Ask about a time they’ve had to get familiar with the new software quickly
If you hire staff who have experience in a wide range of industry-specific tools and software programs, they'll be able to get up-to-speed and integrate with your team quickly. The same is true when you opt for an outsourcing solution.
Nexa’s industry-leading technology brings valuable, actionable data to your business and integrates seamlessly with your chosen software. We’ll fit right into your workflow and quickly adapt to your systems. That way, you get the most out of the tools you already use, from up-to-date information and maximizing your sales to tracking calls, chats and texts in CRM.
For instance, we’ll integrate with your CRM platform to improve customer experience and satisfaction, thus increasing customer retention. We do this by determining which operations need automations and which ones need the human touch. This way, your staff will save time and energy so they can do the more important tasks in your company. What’s more, we’ll help you gather and organize relevant data that provides insights into your target demographics, market, competitors and industry. This information will help you make better business decisions and boost your revenue in no time.
6. High Emotional Intelligence
Within the workplace, emotional intelligence is vital. Emotionally intelligent people have empathy, can handle their own emotions and manage the emotions of other people. All of these skills are key to being a good receptionist. When a receptionist needs to answer telephone calls, the person on the other line won’t always be happy—and a receptionist needs to understand how to handle that situation.
If they have low emotional intelligence and poor communication skills, they may get offended easily, lose their cool and/or leave the caller feeling angry or frustrated. But if they have high emotional intelligence, you’ll see the opposite effect. They will greet people in a friendly way and try to build a rapport with either new clients or existing customers. Here’s what you need to ask your receptionist candidate to see if they have high emotional intelligence:
- Their biggest weaknesses (this will show their self-awareness)
- How they would handle a particular situation involving other people
- How they handled a problematic caller in the past
- How they would pacify an over-demanding customer
- How they keep their emotions in check even when they’re frustrated
Why Emotional Intelligence Is a Key Component To Customer Experience
Dealing with customers requires a certain level of sensitivity to their feelings and dispositions so you can address the issues more effectively. At the same time, emotionally intelligent employees can recognize and manage their own emotions, so they can handle the situation objectively and professionally.
Emotional intelligence is arguably one of the most valuable job skills. Every aspect of business operations involves collaboration and communication with employees and clients. It’s even more evident when it comes to customer relations. How you handle your clients can literally make or break your business.
The human touch not only provides better outcomes for your customers, but for your business, too. Having people-powered communication via text, chat, or phone call gives your clients a genuine connection to your company. If you answer your clients’ concerns and queries with an apathetic template, chances are they will feel as if the company doesn’t have the time to listen to their dilemma—or worse, that your company simply doesn’t care. Most of the time, customers just want to be heard, and human touch, if done right, will diffuse a difficult situation almost instantaneously.
Expert receptionists can assess the situation and respond appropriately to customers. This way, your clients will feel properly heard and understood. In the long run, customers want to stay in business with people they can trust.
7. Dependability and Consistency
This ties in closely with many of the other important qualities of a receptionist. As it is such a vital cog in any business, if the receptionist is not dependable it can cause chaos. Dependability for a receptionist can come in the form of being trustworthy, always being available to answer calls rather than being late back from lunch and returning those calls in a prompt manner. Consistency is a similar concept. For a receptionist, following the same process to keep accurate records and communicate the messages to everyone can be invaluable. It keeps everything ticking along in the business as you can avoid issues around mixed messages and confusion, or customers getting left by the wayside.
The right receptionist will ensure this consistency is in place throughout the office, and the systems you have put in place are implemented properly every time. Knowing that you can depend on someone is vital, but it’s not easy to do. You may need time for a receptionist to familiarize themselves with your business before you learn whether they are consistent and dependable. When reviewing resumes, long spells at other businesses are a good sign that you can count on someone.
Key Points to Remember
Your receptionist is often the “first point of contact” prospects and customers have with your business. When your receptionist has these qualities, you’ll make a great first impression and set a positive tone. Don't want to let your calls go to voicemail and need help finding a receptionist with these qualities? Our virtual receptionists have all of them and more. They are fully trained to adapt to your business and provide a polite, friendly and positive service, as well as keeping your business organized. Check them out if you haven’t already!
If you are recruiting a receptionist, then you will probably have some questions already in mind specific to the business you run. Questions about their previous employment and their outlook on the role of a receptionist, can give you good insight. Remember, you are looking to learn more about both the skills of any prospective receptionists and their personality. Do they have people skills and thrive on communication? That’s the important question.