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Receive Visitors

As you go through this element, you need to ensure that you acquire the necessary skills,
knowledge and attitude to receive and assist visitors. Your learning facilitator will assist you
through the different activities, so on completion you will be able to:

Greet visitors courteously


Ascertain purpose of visit
Record visit and facilitate security clearance
Direct or escort visitors
Introduce visitors in accordance with company policy

Greeting visitors courteously


If you work in a large firm as a receptionist, your main duty will be that of greeting and hosting
visitors. If you work in a smaller firm as a secretary or an office clerk, a part of your
responsibilities may also include greeting and directing visitors.
Regardless of whether you work in a large or small company, here are some techniques for
greeting visitors:
When you are greeting visitors, ensure that you do the following:

Greet visitors in a warm and courteous manner


Use appropriate salutation to acknowledge visitors presence
Introduce yourself and get the name of the visitors you have never met before
Check record book to verify appointment made, if not made deal with person, according
to the organizations policy.
Determine the purpose of the visit if it is an unscheduled caller
Be pleasant to difficult visitors

Tip: If you know the visitors name, use it in acknowledging his /her presence or as soon as it
is known (this may be his/ her first visit) start using it as this creates a friendlier atmosphere!!
Always remember first impression last.
Ascertaining the purpose of visit
Knowing the purpose of the visit is very useful in helping you with directing your visitor. In
many organizations, it is important mainly for security purposes. However, such information can
help you in making decisions quickly as to how you will deal with a particular visitor and to
whom you will direct him /her.

You should be very tactful on trying to obtain such information from the visitor.

You should try to avoid blunt questions such as What do you want? Instead, you could
say, Could you please tell me what company you are from and the purpose of your
visit?

Recording visit and facilitating security clearance


When someone visits your company, you should record vital information such as name, the date,
time of arrival, the organization the visitor represents and the person who will attend to the
visitor. Such information will be readily available for future reference. It is important in case of
an accident/emergency at the work place.
You must:

Prepare books neatly


Insert appropriate headings in each column
Check books to keep track of visitors i.e.: visitors waiting, those who are being attended
to, etc.

Tips! You should also keep an appointment book for visitors who opt for a meeting later.

It is important that the receptionist / secretary maintain a staff log book. This way, he/she will be
able to keep track of workers who are to seen by visitors and can advise them appropriately when
they arrive or their appointments.
If it is your companys policy, security clearance should be given for entry to certain areas of
your firm. If entry permits/visitors badges are used, you should ensure that you issue then to the
visitor.
Directing or escorting visitors

Here are some important points to note when directing or escorting a visitor:
Ascertain whether the person to be seen is available
Give clear direction to the visitor
Introduce the visitor first
Maintain eye contact when making introductions
Keep the visitor informed if there is a delay and apologize for the inconvenience
Never leave your desk unattended while escorting a visitor

If you escort a visitor to a staff member, then it will be your responsibility to introduce the two if
they not met before. Here are a few guidelines to proper introduction of a visitor:

Make sure you have the correct pronunciation of the visitors name
Speak clearly, ensuring the correct grammar, when making the introductions

Introduce the visitor first


Maintain eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking to
Ensure the visitors comfort and certainty of being dealt with before leaving him

Element 2: Addressing Relevant Hospitality and Emergency Situations


Learning outcomes
As you go through this element, you need to ensure that you acquire the necessary skills,
knowledge and attitudes to address relevant hospitality and emergency situations. Your learning
facilitator will assist you through the different activates, so on completion you will be able to:

Provide visitors with appropriate hospitality facilities


Use judgment and initiative in dealing with non-routine and emergency demands
promptly and effectively
Ensure that visitors are give only information that you wish to disclose
Ascertain the availability of the person to be visited
Explain polity, reasons for delay/non-availability of assistance.

Provide appropriate hospitality facilities


From time to time, a visitor may have to wait for a while to be seen. You need to ensure that the
visitor is comfortable and does not feel totally overlooked or forgotten. To ensure your visitors
comfort:

Offer comfortable seating


Ensure the availability of up-to- date supply of reading materials
Always take the initiative to offer refreshments
Ensure that the reception area is tastefully furnished and tidy

TIP! Exceptional hospitality includes minimizing the waiting time for the visitor. Before
sending someone to an office, ascertain whether the person that the visitor wishes to see is
available.

It is important that you are able to deal with non-routine and emergency demands. To a
receptionist, experience in first aid and other emergency related skills is an asset. For example,
you need to understand clearly how to make emergency call and use fire extinguishers, as you
could be the one to save someones life in your own reception area. From time to time visitors
might face you with other non-routines. You should be very tactful in dealing with these
situations; ultimate goal of any organization is to please its customers.
Non-routine/emergency demands may also include dealing with difficult and irate persons, as
well as person who pose a security risk. Remain calm, tolerant and open minded about the

situation. Allow the person to finish his/her viewpoint the suggest alternative solutions to the
problem. If the person continues to be rude or boisterous then measures should be taken. You
should the security or the police if someone poses a security risk.
In addition, you need to remember the following:

Remain tolerant, calm and open-minded about the situation


If a visitor cannot be assisted according to his/her request, offer to have someone else
deal with the matter
Politely suggest that a visitor makes an appointment if he cannot be seen at the immediate
moment
Try not to appear abrupt or rude
Do not panic
Giving Only Disclosable Information to Visitors
Confidentiality is an important factor in all businesses. Ensure that you give information
in keeping with the policies of your company and disclose only what is relevant to the
particular matter with which the visitor is concerned. Do not volunteer any information
about the internal affairs of the organization or about anyone in the organization.

TIP! If an unauthorized person asks you for confidential


information, tactful evade the question and suggest that

ELEMENT 3: Identity is cleared, applying tact and necessary security


measures taken
Learning outcomes
As you go through this element you need to ensure that you acquire the necessary
knowledge, skills and attitudes to clear visitors identity tactfully and take necessary security
measures. With the help of your learning facilitator, on completion you will be able to:
- Identify visitors and establish requirements accurately
- Deal with visitors queries satisfactorily
- Handle visitors with tact and diplomacy
- Maintain security and confidentiality procedures.
IDENTIFY VISITORS AND ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS
Being able to identify your visitors is an important element in reception. Some organizations
require that workers wear identification card with their photographs, which help in

differentiating them from visitors to the firm. Other, for the same reason, allow for the
wearing of visitors badges.
It will be easier for you to identify your regular visitors. You will be able to call them by their
names and, because of the existing relationship, establishing their requirements will also be
easier. However, your company will get new visitors on a daily basis and it is important that
you are able to identify them and establish their requirements. Here are some techniques to
help you do this effectively:
- If the visitor does not state his name as he arrives, you should ask him politely
- If he/she is an overseas visitor, you will be required to check his passport and other
documents, as is necessary, to the nature and policy of your organization.
- Accept the visitors business card, which will supply or support other vital information.
- Establish the visitors requirements and treat according to your organizations policy.

Deal with visitors Queries satisfactorily


From time to time you will be required to handle queries being made by visitors. Your ability to
do so can save both the organization and the visitor valuable time. Your knowledge of you
companys operations will also give you more confidence in carrying out your roles of directing
and advising visitors.
In order deal with queries effectively, you must observe the following:
- Listen attentively to the visitor
- Think carefully before giving advice
-Do not allow the visitors appearance to help determine the type of service meted out to
him/her
- Follow up the matter if necessary and give relevant feedback
- Refer enquiries to your supervisor or appropriate officer personnel where the matter is
beyond your responsibility
- Observe organizational policy regarding confidentiality
TIP! Being knowledgeable about your organization and the community in which it operates,
contributes significantly to your efficiency on the job.

Handle visitors with tact and diplomacy


In carrying out your job, you will meet different types of visitors. It is important that you learn
how to deal with each type, since customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to the survival of
any business. The different types of visitors are:

Visitors with appointments:


- This category includes persons for interviews and persons attending meetings.
- Visitors without appointments:
- This includes persons seeking jobs, customers with complaints, family members and
friends of workers.
- Regular visitors:
- This group includes the mail carrier, deliverymen, and security van drivers.
Tip! If a visitor proves to be difficult, you should exercise tact and patience in dealing
with him/her. Try to convince the visitor to make an appointment if he insists on seeing
someone who is not available.

Maintaining security and confidentiality procedures


Not all the information your company handles will for the publics knowledge. Based on the
policy of the firm, you will know exactly what you should disclose. Here are some key points to
remember in order to safeguard your companys confidential information:
-Keep papers and other devices with information locked away
-Do not discuss confidential matters in the presence of visitors
-Destroy documents that are no longer in use
-Inform management immediately of any discrepancy which has been brought to your
attention.

ELEMENT4: Appropriate communication process is followed


Learning outcomes
As you go through this element, you need to ensure that you acquire the necessary skills,
knowledge and attitudes to follow the communication process appropriately. Your learning
facilitator is there to assist you through the various activities so, on completion of the element
you will be able to:

Use appropriate tone/manner in communication


Convey information accurately, observing rules of confidentiality
Communicate information clearly in an understandable manner

Use appropriate tone/manner in communication


You can face a breakdown in communication if you, whether being sender or receiver, fail to
communicate properly. One common barrier to effective communication that you would want to
rid yourself of is the use of improper tone. When you communicate, your voice should be
pleasant. You should not appear to be shouting or whispering. After all, the last thing you could

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want is to greet a visitor inappropriately and turn him/her away from your company or have him/
her form a negative impression of you. Remember this for your telephone customers and the
visitor whom you meet in person.
TIP! Good communication is the backbone of any successful business

Information is conveyed accurately observing rules of confidentiality


You will be effective in conveying information only if you do so accurately. You will be on the
right track if you follow these guidelines:
- Organize what you wish to convey before you actually say it.
- Always keep the point of the subject under discussion and disclose only necessary and
related information.
- Present information logically and clearly.
- Use a telephone message pad to record information to be passed on.
- Follow your companys policy on confidentiality in conveying information
Activity: