Receptionists/telephone operators typically work for businesses that need someone to greet customers, direct them on where to go, and answer their questions by telephone or in person. Although offices are common employers, these individuals may also work in locations such as salons and hotels. While most offices operate during regular business hours, some positions may require alternative and/or flexible shifts.
A typical day for receptionists/telephone operators might include greeting clients who come in and referring those clients to other offices or floors. Some customers may need to make appointments, so the receptionist/telephone operator must take all of the pertinent information and store it in the appropriate place. Because receptionists interact so frequently with customers — they are often the first people the clients see — they must have excellent interpersonal skills and a friendly, positive attitude. Telephone operators should be able to speak clearly and concisely to convey information to customers. Receptionists/telephone operators may answer common questions, such as which floor a certain office is on. However, they may also encounter more challenging questions, so it is crucial for them to be knowledgeable about their workplace, and willing to find out an answer if they are uncertain.
Receptionist/telephone operator positions generally require a high school diploma or equivalent, and some positions may require a bachelor's degree. They should have a good understanding of basic computer programs, and they may need to learn programs specific to that job; for example, a salon may ask receptionists to learn a scheduling program for appointments.
Receptionist / Telephone Operator Tasks
Greet and answer inquiries for general public, customers and visitors; announce and log visitors.
Process outgoing mail and receive deliveries.
Perform administrative support tasks; proofreading, typing, operating calculators, facsimile machine and computers.
Operate telephone switchboard to answer, screen, route calls and relays messages.