So many companies rely on the receptionist to set the tone for them, yet they spend the least amount of time filling that particular job position, focusing instead on the "professional" staff.
A certain type of person is meant to meet and greet clients and answer phones. The employee who never has a bad thing to say about somebody, is friendly and upbeat and loves to please people is the best fit for this position.
A good receptionist will answer the phone with a unique flair, emphasising a certain word. The phone should be answered with a smile on the face and genuine interest in what the person on the other end has to say. So often, offices rely on voicemail systems. That is a sure way to lose out to a happy, friendly, live voice on the other end of the line.
You need a receptionist that will dress to impress your clients and take pride in his or her office area.
It is important for a good receptionist to be a buffer to the employees. If someone on the staff is extremely busy, the receptionist should know it. A receptionist who is informed can help employees avoid unnecessary last minute drop-ins, without denying legitimate appointments.
It is appropriate for a receptionist to invoke a discussion with clients, as long as it isn't controversial. You don't want your client assuming the receptionist's philosophy is reflective of the company as a whole. General questions and small-talk topics are fine.
The receptionist should be an extension of your marketing team. Keeping track of important dates, giving out information you want your client to know, but giving it out in way that makes your client feel special is a gift, and a good receptionist will have it.
The receptionist should make sure company brochures are at the coffee table and keep the coffee pot full and fresh, the candy bowl loaded, and the clients moving through the reception area smoothly.
If you haven't established a communal calendar so the receptionist has access to view scheduled appointments, it would be a good idea to make that happen. You can do this easily if you are networked; simply allow the receptionist on your network. If your e-mail system doesn't allow that, you can set up a calendar on the Internet and ask everyone to post appointments the receptionist needs to know about on the site.