Telephones in The Reception Area - What's The Protocol?

Published on 30/05/2021

A commercial reception is often a busy space. People are coming and going all the time and the receptionist is often answer queries, directing people to the right place, and asking others to sit and wait on the sofa or reception seating. 

Given the fact that reception desks are busy places, should there be a telephone ringing in the background?

What do you think? Do you think that a reception area is the place for a telephone?

You can look at this in a few different ways. The reception is the first port of call for visitors, so it makes sense that they will call the front desk too. However, should the main receptionist be taking calls, if they’re greeting visitors constantly throughout the day? What if someone stands at the reception desk screen and asks a question, and the phone is ringing incessantly at the same time?

It’s a query that has long dragged on. It really depends on how busy your reception area is, how many reception desks you have and how often the phone rings. If you give out the reception number to everyone, it’s going to ring pretty much all the time. In that case, you need someone helping the reception area, fielding calls and greeting people when the main receptionist is on the phone.

For a less busy reception area, it’s probably perfectly acceptable to have a phone in there, because the chances of a visitor standing at the desk and the phone ringing at the same time are far lower. Even if it does happen, it can be overcome by having the telephone ringer volume low and calling the person back/having an answerphone in place, or asking the visitor to wait just one second. 

The other issue with telephones in the reception area is confidentiality. The receptionist needs to be very careful that when they’re talking on the phone, they're not giving out details or letting those sitting in the waiting space understand what is being talked about. In some ways, the receptionist has to talk in code!

It really varies from situation to situation but if you do need to have a telephone in your reception area, check out this infographic for a few tips on how to answer a ringing phone in a professional and confident manner. By doing so, you’ll impress your visitors even more!

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