Duties and Responsibilities of a Receptionist: Dizzyingly So Many!

Duties of a receptionist
A receptionist has many duties and responsibilities that are a part of his/her job description. Though certain tasks vary depending on the sector of employment, the rest are more or less the same. The points listed below, will give you a clear idea about this career.
Did You Know?
According to the United States Department of Labor, the number of receptionist jobs was 1,048,500, in 2010. Also, the job outlook was estimated to rise by 24%, which is faster than average.
In earlier days, a receptionist was responsible only for a few tasks that included answering calls, forwarding them to respective departments, receiving and sending mail, taking care of correspondence, welcoming visitors and tending to their needs. Today, with technological development and increase in scope, the duties of a receptionist have undergone tremendous change. The following points will give you a better idea of a receptionist's profile and his/her job description.
Administrative Support
Answering Phone Calls and Mails
Answering Phone Calls and Mails
A receptionist is expected to address every incoming phone call and mail (e-mail and otherwise) for the company. Mail then, has to be forwarded to respective departments and/or people. The same goes for phone calls. Queries that come through these channels also have to be taken care of. On a call, he/she has to maintain proper etiquette. That is, he/she shouldn't sound casual on the phone, and should keep it as short as possible.
Receiving Visitors
The receptionist of a company, is the first person a visitor usually speaks to. Thus, he/she has to be presentable and well-versed with the company's profile. He/she also has to follow proper etiquette while in conversation with visitors. He/she needs to calm, friendly and at the same time, confident. This also requires the receptionist to maintain a healthy and professional atmosphere near the workstation.
Office Stationery and Supplies
The receptionist is expected to keep a check on the office supplies; monitor the inflow and outflow regularly, and maintain records. The office supplies have to be stocked for future use, and should always be present when employees need them. Similarly, the office stationery should be utilized properly and records should be maintained accordingly.
Clerical Support
Paperwork
Paperwork
Most organizations maintain a visitor's register. The receptionist has to make sure that every visitor fills the register. Similarly, other data entry and workplace communication has to be recorded as well. Along with this record keeping, he/she also has to maintain, develop and take care of an up-to-date filing system.
Payrolls, Audits and Increments
Payrolls need a lot of data collection, checking and rechecking of attendance, distribution of salary slips (either personally or through mail), and then the salaries. And, all this increases with the number of employees. The receptionist is usually expected to help the management or the Human Resource Department in this process.
Secretarial Support
Managing Client Relationships
Managing Client Relationships
The clients of a company, play a very big role in determining the goodwill of that company. The receptionist, in her secretarial duties, will have to make sure that they are comfortable while dealing with the company. Travel and visa arrangements need to be made (even for the employer), accommodation and dining bookings need to be arranged, and also pick up and drop facilities have to be taken care of.
Smooth Execution of Meetings
The meetings of a company, like the general and annual general meetings, require the receptionist to multitask at a different level altogether. He/she has to start with informing all the concerned members of the meeting. The conference hall has to be equipped with necessary stationery and equipment. The receptionist has to be present throughout the meeting to note down the minutes. These have to then be mailed to concerned people.
Miscellaneous Responsibilities
General Etiquette
General Etiquette
As we know, the receptionist creates the first impression of a company. This means, he/she has to maintain a professional attitude while conversing, needs to be well-versed with verbal and written communication styles, and most important, needs to maintain decorum, and a professional atmosphere in and around the reception area.
Memberships, Fee Collections and Bank Work
Receptionists working at spas, health clubs, gyms, hospitals, etc., have an additional duty/responsibility of fee collection. They need to maintain proper customer/member data and have to keep updating it. Membership renewal is another important aspect of their duties. The collected fees then have to be deposited in respective banks. Another added duty is to check if the equipment is in working condition.
Appointments and Cancellations
Appointments and Cancellations
Receptionists working with hotels and at hospitals have to also take care of appointment/reservations/cancellations. They play a big role in the business of these sectors. Follow-ups need to be done in time. In hospitals, emergencies are another added responsibility. In case of emergency, the receptionist is expected to arrange equipment on time, inform the doctor in time, sending a 'Did Not Show' letter to clients who miss scheduled appointments, and manage other formalities.
Advertisement
Security Awareness
Nowadays, receptionists are also asked to monitor visitors and the lobby area in general, just in case they notice suspicious activities. If they do, they're expected to report the same to the authorities. Sometimes, the reception desk has a security system enabled, where screens display everything that is caught on camera every minute, throughout the company or only in the reception area.
To become a receptionist, the candidate has to have a high school diploma. Though the qualification required for a receptionist is less compared to other jobs, the range of responsibilities and duties are more than any other employee! While some areas of operation may require more qualification, such as a receptionist in a hospital, it is otherwise a post that doesn't demand many certificates.

All the duties and responsibilities mentioned above, tell us that a receptionist needs to be very good at time management, problem solving and analysis. It is also expected that he/she is well-aware of legalities concerning the company. One thing is certain, with so many duties to take care of, the receptionist's job is no longer as simple as it was assumed to be.