Unit 4. Front Desk & Telephone Reception

Receiving visitors

The first impression visitor’s gain of an organization is influenced by the manner in which they are received at the reception office. The office itself should be attractively furnished and designed in every way to impress the visitor, and the receptionist must possess the necessary personal qualities and business skills to greet all callers pleasantly and efficiently.


At the beginning of each day the reception office should be notified of all the appointments made and the movements of the executives, so that the receptionist is able to act without undue hesitancy when visitors arrive.

On arrival, visitors are usually asked to sign a visitor’s book or enter particulars of their visit in a register of callers. This provides a useful permanent record of all visitors to the company.

A visitor from another company may introduce themselves by offering the receptionist a business visiting card which provides their name, company and position.

Register of callers

If no card is offered, the receptionist should ask the visitor for these details and make a note of them.

The receptionist should retain the card as it provides the relevant information for informing the appropriate member of staff of the visitor’s arrival and for making the necessary introduction. When visitors make their request known, the receptionist must give them undivided attention so that they do not have to repeat information.

While the receptionist is contacting the requested member of staff or their secretary, the visitor should be seated and offered some reading matter. If there is a delay in arranging for the visitor to be seen by the member of staff, it is polite to apologise to the visitor and explain the reason for the delay.

The member of staff, or their secretary, may collect the visitors from the reception office, or the receptionist may be expected to accompany the visitor to the appropriate office. In this case the visitor must be escorted politely and efficiently. If no one is present on arrival at the office, the receptionist must refer the visitor to the secretary or wait with the visitor until the person arrives. Under no circumstances should callers be shown into an executives’ room before the executive has been informed. When introducing the visitor, the receptionist must clearly announce the visitor’s name, title and company. The visitors name should be given before the name of the executive, but when introducing a man or woman, it is courteous to announce the woman’s name first.

If a secretary is required to meet a caller in the executive’s absence, a note of the meeting should be typed and given to the executive for information on their return to the office.