A company is only as good as its weakest employee. Therefore, companies should be very selective when it comes to hiring people. It is often better to look for the right applicant for a little longer than to make rash decisions. The ideal candidate must be qualified, but good grades alone are not enough, they must also fit into the team and have social skills. This starts at the lowest level, says Rieta de Soet, CEO of De Soet Consulting in Switzerland.

The first contact between the customer and the company usually occurs through the reception. The receptionist answers incoming calls, replies to first emails, is the first employee you meet at the company and should usually also have an overview of who is currently in the building and who is responsible for certain things. In general the receptionists needs a broad understanding of the company and its service or products.

The receptionist should always be friendly to customers, even if they may be upset for whatever reason. Then a good employee should be able to appease the customer. A well-groomed appearance is a given, says Rieta de Soet, who says people should not underestimate the importance of a good appearance.

The receptionist has several responsibilities.

1. Telephone service: The receptionist is usually also responsible for the telephone service. He or she should have a clear pronunciation. Even in a region with a strong dialect, the employee should be capable of speaking dialect-free. Furthermore, they must be well informed about who has which area of responsibility. This is the only way to ensure that the customer is properly connected and is not passed on unnecessarily, says Rieta de Soet. If the customer is promised a call back, this should also be done relatively promptly.

2. First emails are usually sent to the receptionist who then forwards it if they can’t answer it themselves. Inquiries should be forwarded as quickly as possible. Here too, friendliness has top priority, says Rieta de Soet. Furthermore, the receptionist should master German and English perfectly, as well as other languages as required. This testifies to a high level of competence, as does the avoidance of spelling mistakes. Small mistakes creep in quickly, e.g. the wrong form of address Mr / Ms, these are careless mistakes that can be easily avoided.

3. Some customers prefer to contact the respective company in person. The first point of contact here is also usually the receptionist. The employee should help the customer as quickly as possible rather than finishing other work first. Nobody likes the feeling of being ignored. A friendly smile also often goes a long way and helps giving the right first impression. In addition to a well-groomed appearance as mentioned before, a receptionist should not chew gum or play with his or her cell phone.

There are many things that need to be considered in order to find a good receptionist. The overall package must be right. In order to ensure that customers are not deterred at the first contact, the right staff must be found.