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What skills does a virtual receptionist need?

What skills does a virtual receptionist need?

Being a receptionist is a difficult job. You’ve got lots of responsibilities to juggle, lots of people needing your time, and the pressure of knowing you’re essentially the face and voice of your business to its customers.

Which means staying calm, professional and friendly at all times, regardless of the attitude of the person you’re dealing with.

Now imagine doing all this for multiple companies. That’s the life of a virtual receptionist.

Virtual receptionists work much the same as regular receptionists, except they work remotely from the business, and often work for multiple businesses at once – which takes an extra level of organisation and skill.

We’ve trained up many virtual receptionists at Face For Business and we take the recruitment and development of our team seriously.

In this blog we’ll give you what we think are the key skills and attributes you’ll need to be an effective virtual receptionist.


As a virtual receptionist you’re the front of house for multiple businesses, which means you have to be able to multitask and jump between one client and the other seamlessly.

Clients rely on you to not only answer their phone calls, but to do so in a way that gives the impression the customer is dealing with their business, not a virtual receptionist.

This means remembering:

  • How they want the phone answered
  • What they want you to do with the call – attempt to transfer through to them or send a message
  • What they want in terms of info from the call
  • Who are their VIP callers and how do they want them treated differently
  • What calls don’t they want e.g. scam callers and sales calls
  • Where they are based etc
  • What they do

That’s a lot to remember and it takes skill to be able to do it well.

Some of the systems your virtual receptionist uses will help with this. For example at Face For Business our receptionist always know how to answer the phone in the right way, and who to transfer which calls to. But you still have to be on your toes.

Attention to detail

One of the key functions of a virtual receptionist is being able to take accurate notes from calls so you can forward messages to the right people, so they can easily return calls and deal with issues based on the information you give them.

Wrong information and missing details can cause problems for the company you work with, so you need to be careful and have great attention to details.

We always train our virtual receptionists to repeat and spell back names to ensure accuracy, as well as check phone numbers, spell out email addresses and recap messages with the caller to ensure all the information is accurate.

Good at listening

As a virtual receptionist you’ll be spending 99% of your time dealing with phone calls and handling enquiries from all kinds of people.

This could include customers or third party providers. You must be a good listener to be able to take accurate notes and recap messages.

It can be easy when answering calls and listening to the caller for your mind to drift, but this can lead to you missing something important and giving a bad impression of the business you represent. 

Ability to control calls

You might think that as a virtual receptionist your job is simply to answer the phone and take messages. You’d be wrong.

You not only need to be able to do this, but you need to be able to take control of calls and direct the caller down the path you need them to go so you can get the information you need.

If you’re not able to be direct and get control of the call, you could end up spending too much time taking down irrelevant information.

This isn’t just a waste of your time, it doesn’t help the company because whoever gets the message is going to have to wade through all the useless notes to make sure they haven’t missed anything. 

Clear communication

This one goes without saying. As a virtual receptionist you’ll spend the majority of your time on the phone, so you have to be an excellent communicator.

This includes having the right tone of voice and attitude when you answer calls so you remain positive and give a good, friendly impression of the company you’re representing. Remember coming across as negative or grumpy is going to damage the company’s reputation.

You also have to be able to communicate well with your client to ensure they’re getting all the information they need.

IT skills

As a virtual receptionist you’ll be working remotely away from your clients, which means you’ll need to be able to get to grips with multiple tech platforms and systems so you can do your job.

This could be anything from phone answering systems, to emails to word or other document management systems.

Depending on the services you’re providing you could also need to become proficient in some diary management systems too.

At Face For Business we provide comprehensive and ongoing training in all the systems and platforms our virtual receptionists use regularly, so you’ll never have to worry about figuring this out on your own.

Time keeping and organisation

Being a virtual receptionist can be a busy job and you have to be available for the shift times required.

Basic time keeping skills to ensure you’re available to answer calls when they come in, as well as being flexible with your time and understanding you might have to work on weekends is also essential.

You also need to be flexible enough to understand that if a call comes in close to your lunch time or end of day, you’ll still have to answer it to ensure the client gets the message and information they need.

Finally, you’re not working alone as a virtual receptionist, you’re often working on the same client with other receptionists, so you have to be able to work as a team and organise yourself within a team structure.

Again, at Face For Business you’ll be trained on how to do this.

Ready for a career as a virtual receptionist?

Being a virtual receptionist can be a busy, sometimes stressful job, but it’s also highly rewarding and can give you a varied career that fits perfectly around your lifestyle.

If you are thinking about becoming a virtual receptionist (or are doing the job and looking for a more rewarding career) then check back regularly with us.

We’re always on the lookout for talented people who can provide value to our clients, while benefiting from what we have to offer as an employer.

We’ll ensure you get all the training and support you need to be an effective member of a team and get the most out of your career.

Interested? Get in touch.

13th November, 2023

Posted by Face For Business

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