Front desk agents may also be called receptionists, secretaries, clerks, etc. and they work in a wide range of industries. While the typical office receptionist works normal business hours in a professional setting, front desk agents for other types of businesses may be working at any hour of the day or night, in a wide variety of places. Hotel clerks, hospital receptionists and emergency service desk agents, for example, are available around the clock.
Regardless of the industry in which they work, however, front desk agents are the first point of contact between a business, clients and the public. When people first walk into a business, front desk agents greet them, answer any questions they may have, and direct them to their destination within the business. Front desk agents can often conduct routine transactions as well: for example, a desk clerk at a hotel can check guests in and out, and process payments. If customers needs are more involved, the front desk agents can help them get in touch with the appropriate manager or supervisor.
Front desk agents must be flexible and patient. They encounter many different types of customers and clients, some of whom may be difficult to please. When they’re not helping people, they may be asked to perform other duties, such as typing, filing, data entry, bookkeeping, inventory tracking or even light janitorial work. Because of the many different tasks they could be expected to do, the educational requirements can vary widely, but usually an associate's or bachelor's degree is required. Regardless of the degree requirement, the one universal trait that all front desk agents need is a good attitude. Because they are responsible for the public’s first impression of their business, they must be able to work efficiently while making every customer or client feel welcome.
Front Desk Agent Tasks
- Greet clients and walk-ins and provide information, assistance, and security.
- Create, deliver, and explain bills and collect payments.
- Explain pricing and room options over the phone and in person.
- Assist clients with check-in, check-out, and other standard operations.
- Handle and document complaints, problems, and concerns.