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Front Desk Receptionist Description

by Lisa Finn, studioD

A front desk receptionist in any industry is the first point of contact with visitors. Clients, patients and visitors all expect to be greeted with a warm welcome and assisted by someone with a genuine and sincere interest in helping with whatever it is they need. Because a receptionist's role is crucial to your business' bottom line, make sure the one in your company exhibits certain attributes.


The efficient front desk receptionist is one who courteously fulfills client and employee requests. She must give directions, request paperwork and schedule appointments in a timely manner. A receptionist must have strong communication skills, and be organized about keeping patient records, distributing materials to the appropriate staff members and fixing scheduling conflicts.


With the multitude of people a front desk receptionist meets every day, she needs to be organized and detail-oriented in all of her work. A spa receptionist should alert a therapist beforehand if a client is allergic to a particular ingredient, for example. A pediatrician's receptionist must make sure that medical transcripts are transferred before a child's next appointment. Receptionists are responsible for keeping notes on outgoing and incoming materials and phone calls, and dispensing the information to the appropriate staff.

Friendly Demeanor

The receptionist is often called the gatekeeper to an organization. She decides who makes it past the front desk without an appointment, which visitors get taken care of first and whose requests are urgent. This must all be done with a smile because you only get one-tenth of a second to make a good first impression, say researchers at Princeton University. Having an upbeat attitude and genuine interest in helping others will make visitors feel welcome and more likely result in repeat business.


A vast knowledge about the industry is crucial to a front desk receptionist job. A receptionist may field call, emails and visitors with questions that pertain to services, products, pricing and availability. For example, a gym receptionist must be up to date on special membership discounts; a doctor's office receptionist needs to remember which insurance plans are accepted; and a front desk hotel receptionist should know which rooms get the most foot traffic.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.

Photo Credits

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