Receptionist etiquette – how to deliver exceptional service

As the face of an organisation, receptionists play a crucial role in welcoming clients and visitors and making sure they receive that exceptional first impression of a business.

So, what makes a perfect receptionist? Priscilla Richardson, who manages a team of 19 receptionists for a corporate client in the finance sector, is well placed to give her view, along with some top-tips on receptionist etiquette and delivering exceptional service.

“Having the right personality, coupled with some technical ability, is ideal for anyone who is working on a reception desk. I think genuine warmth is the most important attribute to have as from this, all the usual traits regularly associated with people working in customer service will follow. By showing that you genuinely care about helping your customer, being friendly, approachable and always smiling, you’re already heading in the right direction for delivering excellent service.

As a customer, there’s nothing worse than being helped by someone who is clearly following a script or being robotic, so you need to make the experience more exceptional by showing your individual personality. Adapting your behaviour to the person you are dealing with is key and this could be through engaging in conversation or sharing a joke, if that’s appropriate. By being able to read people and situations, you will know how to deal with every guest in a personal way. Pay attention to the details and remember names because it’s true that the little things matter.

Have confidence and knowledge in your job and remember to have the right attitude even when you’re dealing with a difficult person. Don’t take anything negative too personally – that irritable customer is clearly in a bad mood for a reason out of your control and needs to vent out their frustration. By showing kindness and a willingness to help, it’s more than likely you will turn that situation around and make their day a little brighter.

Being a receptionist is a very rewarding role and a fantastic career choice. From my many years of experience, here are some top tips I’ve learnt to make the service that little bit more exceptional:

  • Live and breathe the values and culture of your client – you are the face of the company you’re working for and your appearance and attitude should reflect that;
  • First impressions are lasting impressions;
  • Names are hugely important and it makes the service much more personal;
  • You have the opportunity to make someone smile and there’s nothing more positive than that!

As receptionists, we are the first person guests see when they arrive into a building and the last person they see when they leave. We really do have the opportunity to make an exceptional, memorable experience for them…one guest at a time and that’s powerful!”

Priscilla Richardson is an Account Manager for Mitie Client Services

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