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Front Desk Attendant Duties and Responsibilities

A front desk attendant performs a range of clerical and general office duties that help support a company's customer service function. Some of the duties they are responsible for include:

Answer Phone Calls Because they are the first point of contact, it is important that front desk attendants answer all incoming calls promptly and professionally, maintaining a positive attitude while assisting the caller. If they are unable to help the caller, they must accurately determine the proper department/person to transfer the caller to or take and relay a message.

Welcome Customers/Clients Front desk attendants are the first person customers and clients see when they enter the lobby or office. As such, one of their primary roles is to greet them with a warm smile and a professional demeanor before determining the reason for their visit and directing them accordingly.

Data Entry Depending on the type of employing organization, front desk attendants may enter and/or update data related to patient or guest registration, appointment scheduling or cancellations, order taking/processing, charges, etc.

Serve as First Line of Security Their vantage point makes them the default first line of defense. Front desk attendants may be responsible for monitoring lobby and/or front entrance security cameras. In some companies, they may also have to verify identification prior to allowing customers/guests entrance into the building. Front desk attendants' responsibility also extends to first response in the event of an emergency.

Maintain Reception Area Keeping the front desk clutter free and organized and the waiting/reception area clean and professional looking is a part of the front desk attendant's "housekeeping" duties.


Front Desk Attendant Skills and Qualifications

Applicants who have a positive attitude, love helping others, and are able to follow instructions make strong candidates for this position. Other sought-after skills for front desk attendants include:
  • Communication - because they will be communicating with varying levels of internal and external customers over the phone, in person, and via email, front desk attendants need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Customer service - front desk attendants are the first people that customers/clients/guests see and talk to; how they greet, treat, and respond to them forms their first impression of the company
  • Computer - to enter customer-related data, and send and follow-up on emails and written correspondence
  • Multitasking skills - answering the phone, assisting customers at the desk, and monitoring a security camera are a few of the duties that a front desk attendant may have to perform simultaneously
  • Ability to think fast on feet - to handle situations or emergencies that might arise and require a quick decision and/or action

Front Desk Attendant Education and Training

A high school diploma is sufficient for entering this field; however, for some positions, customer service experience is preferred, as are computer skills. On-the-job-training is provided for front desk attendants at most companies.

Front Desk Attendant Salary and Outlook

There is not a significant increase in salary for experienced front desk attendants and those lacking experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the salary range as $16,000-$23,000, with an average salary of $18,000. In addition to the standard health, life insurance, vacation, and retirement benefits, front desk attendants may also be eligible for bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing, and may also enjoy the added bonuses of tips and employee discounts. An average growth rate of nine percent through 2026 is projected by the BLS. It further predicts the biggest increase for front desk attendants will be seen in the healthcare industry.

Front Desk Attendant Helpful Resources

If you'd like additional information on becoming a front desk attendant, we have compiled a list of resources for you to explore:

A Job Seeker's and Worker's Guide Managing the Front Desk - This eBook, written by author Collins Francis, will provide prospective and new front office personnel valuable tips and tricks of the trade. It is also handy for those responsible for training these professionals. The author is lauded for training and placing hundreds of front desk attendants.

Front Desk Security & Safety: An on-the-job Guide to Handling Emergencies, Threats, and Unexpected Situations - Front desk attendants will find pertinent guidance in performing one of their most challenging responsibilities, serving as the first line of defense. Betty Kildow provides coaching on what to do and offers step-by-step plans to be utilized in the event of natural disasters, terror threats, fires, workplace violence, and other emergency situations. Additionally, she has included checklists that you can print off and post at your desk.

National Association of Professional Receptionists (NAPR) - Receptionists, greeters, switchboard operators, information clerks, and other front office workers are eligible to join this national association. NAPR's mission is to provide educational and leadership opportunities, accreditation, and assistance with job placement and career change to its members.

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