Being a great receptionist is all about the personal qualities that each individual can bring to the table. Whether hiring a receptionist or you have set out to become one, it helps to know some of the more critical attributes that make a good receptionist.
Personality traits have often been termed the “Big 5”, which include: Openness to Experience, Extroversion-Introversion, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Agreeableness.
However, the same blunt tool can’t be applied to hiring receptionists. While being agreeable is the most important quality in a candidate, there are many more characteristics and qualities of a receptionist that we have found to be crucial. These personality features that must be apparent when hiring your next receptionist. If you are or are planning to become a receptionist, take our fun quiz which identifies your celebrity receptionist personality!
1. Being open to new people and ideas
Receptionists are often a clients’ point of contact, and they play a critical role in building positive relationships. Being open to new people helps the receptionist to establish a positive rapport with clients, making them feel welcome and valued.
- Embracing Diversity: One of the most important responsibilities of an in-house or virtual receptionist is to greet and speak to callers from various backgrounds and cultures. This means the receptionist has to be culturally sensitive, which is a quality that comes naturally to those who score high on being open to new things.
- Being open-minded: This helps receptionists to creatively solve problems, and ensure that every caller is attended to in a respectful and polite manner.
- Continuous Learning: Receptionists open to new people and ideas are also more likely to be open to learning new skills and knowledge.
2. Being friendly and polite
Being friendly and polite is a quality that can be learned, but also a characteristic that comes naturally to some people. There are individuals who just don’t have to try that hard for this to be apparent in their personality. They always speak with a smile, are kind and resourceful, and ensure that they don’t cross the boundaries of civility.
Being friendly and polite is an essential personality trait for a receptionist for several reasons:
- First Impression: As a receptionist, the first impression that a client gets is essential. Being friendly and polite helps create a positive first impression, which helps set the tone for the rest of the interaction.
- Building Relationships: Receptionists are often responsible for building relationships with clients. Being friendly and polite can help create a good rapport with clients, leading to better relationships and increased customer satisfaction.
3. Being sociable
As receptionists need to speak a lot and interact with many people, having extroverted qualities can be rather helpful. However, this doesn’t mean introverts can’t be hired as receptionists. Introverts can be quite sociable, as long as they find time to remove themselves and recharge from extensive human interactions. Some advice that we often give to our virtual receptionists who are introverts is to take frequent short breaks and get some personal time for themselves.
Being sociable as a receptionist can have the biggest impact when it comes to:
- Client Engagement: As clients’ first point of contact, receptionists must be friendly to engage with clients effectively. They need to be able to start conversations and build relationships with clients to make them feel comfortable and welcome.
4. Being judicious and careful
If you’re applying for a receptionist’s position, or if you wish to hire a receptionist, make sure they have good attention to detail. One of the most important tasks of a receptionist is to take notes and record information. While virtual receptionists simply enter all details into their systems, receptionists on the floor may find it difficult to take organized notes. Often these notes end up being misplaced or incomplete. This is one of the major reasons why you should hire someone who is prudent about their job responsibilities.
Additional reasons why being vigilant is an important personality trait and how it could impact your business include:
- Confidentiality: For example, a HIPAA-compliant receptionist often handles sensitive information, such as personal or confidential business information. Being judicious and careful ensures that this information is kept secure and confidential.
- Attention to Detail: Receptionists are responsible for managing appointments, booking meetings, and handling other administrative tasks, so you want to ensure these tasks are being carried out accurately, without any errors.
5. Able to control emotions
It is very common for receptionists to find themselves in a fix, or feeling cornered by callers and visitors. And, when someone corners you it’s hard not to feel threatened or become emotionally defensive. But, it’s critical to display a calm and collected demeanor so that your work can continue to run smoothly. Even when someone is being really difficult or even aggressive in their tone virtual receptionists need to be able to remain confident in their position. This kind of environment requires a higher emotional intelligence than most other jobs. Remember, you’re there to represent your company. So, staying strong in your stance is a must for any receptionist.
Being able to control emotions will exhibit:
- Professionalism: Receptionists are often the face of a company and must always maintain a professional demeanor. Being able to control emotions, even in stressful situations, helps to demonstrate professionalism and a calm, collected demeanor to clients.
- Stress Management: Receptionists may face high-pressure situations, such as a busy schedule or unexpected situations, and being able to control emotions helps to manage stress and prevent burnout.
6. Able to empathize with others
Sometimes callers who contact a business can be irate, sad, or upset. In fact, callers can have varying emotions when they call in and an important quality for any receptionist or call center agent to have is to be able to sense and recognize these emotions in a caller or visitor and address them professionally and properly. This means you have to be empathetic. If you have found a receptionist who is able to put themselves in another person’s shoes, then you have found a good receptionist. It’s not an easy task for anyone to put themselves aside for another’s feelings or well being, but for those that can do this, they make the best candidates for customer service jobs and other positions that represent your business.
Being empathetic can contribute to the following:
- Building positive relationships: By understanding their needs and concerns, a receptionist can offer a personalized and empathetic service that can help to create a positive experience for the individual.
- Conflict resolution: Empathy helps a receptionist to de-escalate tense situations and resolve conflicts. By listening to the concerns of the individual, a receptionist can empathize with their situation and work towards finding a solution that meets their needs.
7. Ability to work under pressure
A receptionist often has to work under high amounts of stress. Although like any position, there can be some downtime or slower periods in the average work-day, receptionists will suddenly find themselves juggling many tasks at once. There are always deadlines to meet, meetings to schedule, calls to make, and dozens of other duties, none of which can be postponed or forgotten. This, of course, may cause a lot of strain on a receptionist. Nevertheless, a good receptionist is the one that is able to handle stress management gracefully, without wincing or complaint. It makes sense to hire a receptionist who is not only able to remain calm and focused but is also seemingly unaffected by it.
8. Ability to remain calm
If a caller is angry with an employer (or even just under a lot of stress), the aggression is usually directed toward the person receiving the message. You’ve heard the old saying “please, don’t shoot the messenger.” Well, this is why.
A good receptionist can remain calm even when callers or visitors cause chaos. You have to “keep your wits about you,” is another good old saying for these scenarios.Ultimately, the ability to remain calm help project a professional image which helps establish credibility and promote a positive reputation for the company.
9. Ability to make quick decisions
When the time comes, and it will, a receptionist will have to make some big decisions regarding company affairs, even if that is not within their purview. This is common when the boss is unavailable, a manager or supervisor is occupied or detained, and the caller or visitor needs a quick answer or solution. Answering service agents simply can’t keep a caller on hold or ask them to call back later. It’s just not good business. They’ll need to make some difficult decisions to keep things running smoothly and have a good understanding of basic business practices.They’ll need to make some difficult decisions to keep things running smoothly and understand basic business practices well.
10. Being patient
“Patience is a virtue” – but it’s also a personality trait.
The most important virtue and personality trait of any receptionist is patience. Hiring a receptionist who can patiently answer questions, handle situations calmly and collectively, and listen to people before speaking is key. In fact, without patience, you couldn’t be a receptionist or work in any kind of customer service position. Being patient can benefit a receptionist and the company by building positive relationships and handling and solving complex requests.
Abby Connect: Checking All the Boxes For Essential Personality Traits
As you can see, being an in-office or virtual receptionist isn’t just about being a good note-taker and having strong communication skills. It takes open-mindedness, friendliness, diligence, empathy, and patience to be an effective receptionist.
At Abby Connect we hire for just those qualities, and provide our receptionists with excellent training and top-notch technology. You get 5-10 virtual receptionists answering your calls from our Nevada-based offices, and they sound like they’re at your front desk!
Like an in-house receptionist, a virtual receptionist service will manage your phone lines. They’ll answer your phone, warm transfer the calls you want, filter out and take messages from the calls you don’t, provide FAQs, do intake, and schedule appointments.
You get 5-10 employees managing your phones at a fraction of the cost of a single hire – and you don’t have to worry about hiring, training, or managing. You just provide your custom call-handling instructions, and we’ll take it from there!
Get started today and we’ll be delighting your callers tomorrow!