Whether interacting with customers in person or on the phone, your receptionist should be engaging, personable and polite.
Imagine a potential customer is visiting your company for the first time, if your receptionist is rude then your company’s reputation may suffer as a result.
Ideally receptionists should have experience in handling dissatisfied or rude customers. The ability to remain calm under pressure could ensure that a volatile situation is successfully defused without reputational damage.
Receptionists will usually have significant involvement in internal communications as well as external. Similar principals apply in both cases: a friendly manner and good personal skills can encourage a more positive working environment.
Commonly, a receptionist will have responsibility in organizing and rescheduling meetings.
If a receptionist lacks the requisite organisational abilities then things can rapidly go awry. If an external customer has arrived for a meeting that either has been moved or cancelled, then it is your company as a whole that may suffer, not your receptionist.
Receptionists will commonly be called upon to receive and relay messages to internal staff members. A disorganised receptionist can lead to miscommunication and inefficiency within your company.
Furthermore, many demands may be put upon a receptionist concurrently, so the ability to multi-tasks without being overwhelmed is also key.
Technical / Writing Ability
You will be hard-pressed to find a receptionist that does not depend upon a computer to perform their daily responsibilities. Whether this involves the production of minutes, sending emails to customers or managing calendars, a degree of technical competence is crucial.
Microsoft Office is the software package of choice for most offices, so experience with this product is useful.
However, if your company has its own bespoke or tailored software, a general familiarity with computers and a willingness to learn can compensate.
Don’t forget, much of your internal and external communication may come through your receptionist, so possessing a good grasp of written English and grammar will ensure your company maintains a sterling reputation.
Besides, interpersonal, organizational and writing skills, for some businesses, the choice of right receptionist may also depend on industry knowledge, experience in particular niche or some other requirements. In this case it's always good to take advice of a recruitment consultant.