Receptionists are usually the first voice that external parties hear when they get in touch with a company, so it is vital that they are able to field phone enquiries in a professional and helpful manner. To be successful, it is key for receptionists to realise the impact that the way in which they answer the phone can have on the entire business.

External parties will often form an instant, snap judgement of an entire company based solely on the interaction they have with the receptionist. If they are treated rudely, or curtly, they will instantly be prejudiced against the company as a whole, and could end up taking their business elsewhere.

For this reason, it is important for receptionists to project an extremely positive first impression of their company, every time they pick up the phone. This article will provide advice on answering the phone in a positive way.

Telephone etiquette tips for receptionists.

For obvious reasons, it is important to answer the phone in a polite and friendly manner. Receptionists should aim to speak clearly, and say something along the lines of 'good morning' followed by the company's name, and then who it is that is speaking. They should be comfortable with what their opening line will be, and be able to deliver it smoothly.

This opening approach will reassure the customer that they have called the right place and that their call is valued. Having a smooth opening line also prevents the receptionist from stumbling, or sounding uncertain.

Tips for phone communication.

Receptionists should be careful to listen to exactly what it is that the caller actually wants.  They should also strike a balance between efficiency and friendliness.

When ringing a company, people want to be spoken to in a polite and friendly way, but they also want their request or question to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

A good tip for improving their telephone manner is for receptionists to always explain exactly what is happening to the customer. If, for example, the receptionist is going to transfer the call to a colleague, they should explain this clearly to the caller, so that they feel involved, and do not feel that their time is being wasted.

It is also important to try to avoid leaving callers on hold for too long. If someone has been waiting on hold for a while - perhaps for a colleague to become available - take the call off hold occasionally, and explain the situation.

It can be a good idea to take notes during a conversation. This prevents the caller from having to repeat the same information several times to different people.

Common problems.

A common problem that those in receptionist jobs can face is becoming bored of answering the phone. As a result, they might speak in a dull, monotonous voice, or inject fake enthusiasm.

To combat this problem, receptionists should allow their personalities to shine through somewhat, as long it does not affect the standard of service they provide. This will ensure that every interaction feels real and unique.  

Other simple tactics include smiling while talking, and avoiding attempts to multi-task while on the phone.