In business, the receptionist is the first point of contact, and can make an impression on external stakeholders such as customers and investors. As such, receptionists must abide by an etiquette protocol that meets the company's standards.
Receptionists are charged with a variety of administrative support functions, such as answering the phone, greeting visitors, scheduling appointments and making sure the reception area is tidy and welcoming. Receptionists are essential, because the work they do may affect the success of the company.
Receptionists should practice excellent telephone etiquette, because a large portion of their job relates to answering, screening or transferring phone calls. Receptionists should speak clearly and slowly, and should not have food, beverages or gum in their mouths while speaking to callers. When they need to place callers on hold, they should ask the callers for permission to do this. Also, before transferring a call, the receptionist should inform the caller of what she is about to do.
Whether the receptionist is on the phone or greeting visitors in person, he should follow standard communication etiquette. For instance, receptionists should be patient with callers and visitors, no matter what the situation. Even if callers or visitors express frustration or anger, the receptionist should remain calm and patient at all times.
According to a June 2005 publication by the Harvard Business School, professionalism is a conscious effort that creates a desired, or undesired, impression. In business, executives want their receptionists to demonstrate professional etiquette and create a positive impression of the company. Since the receptionist is the first person to greet visitors as they come through the door, she should wear standard business attire and be well groomed.
Part of having good etiquette entails maintaining an environment that is welcoming, clean and comfortable for others. Receptionists must maintain a professional reception area. This means they should keep things neat and clean, provide magazines for visitors to read while they wait, offer guests coffee or water, and greet people appropriately.