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When a client walks into an office, the receptionist is the first person he will meet. Receptionists are the link between the public and the companies they work for, and for that reason they should be knowledgeable of all office policies and procedures. They may not be able to answer every question a client has, but they should always be able to direct the client to someone who can.
The primary duty of a receptionist is to greet visitors and direct them to the appropriate offices or administrators. The receptionist is the public face of any company, and should be friendly, helpful and knowledgeable of all office procedures and policies. These may vary from one office to another. For example, a medical receptionist will need to know how to obtain insurance information from each patient and how to collect co-pays if necessary. Although they do not need to answer medical questions, they should know who to direct patients to if they have a problem. A receptionist in a law office should not offer legal advice, but she must know who in their office has the expertise to work with a client and promptly direct him to that person.
Enforce Office Policies
In some cases, receptionists are responsible for enforcing office policies and procedures. Specific office policies will vary from one office to another, but they are usually designed to protect the safety and well-being of the employees and customers in the office. Office policies may include bans on smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and engaging in sexual or verbal harassment in the office or reception area. Many offices also have a basic dress code, and require everyone entering the office to wear shoes and appropriate clothing. Other basic office policies cover hours of operation, billing and how to inform clients of any changes in services or fees. Like all employees, the receptionist should be aware of office policies and have an employee handbook available at all times.
Privacy and Confidentiality Issues
In many offices, receptionists are responsible for filing large amounts of information. These could include clients’ employment records, legal or medical histories, address and contact information, or financial information. Although a receptionist’s employer may have complete access to that information, the receptionist should not share it with anyone outside of the office or with unauthorized personnel within the office or workplace. Office policies provide strict rules on clients right to privacy and often include penalties for releasing unauthorized information. Because receptionists are entrusted with a highly personal information, they must be aware of these policies and adhere to them at all times. Receptionists should also be able to inform customers of their privacy rights, and answer any questions they might have regarding these issues.
Sal Griffin has been writing professionally since 2006. She has written for a number of online and print publications, including the "Philadelphia City Paper" and "New York Arts Magazine." Her writing specialties are home improvement, gardening and travel. Griffin received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Bard College.