In this vocabulary article, we explore ten of the most common work tasks you're likely to see in a range of different office jobs.
Where would our company be without a friendly face waiting and ready to give every visitor a warm welcome? The receptionist position is essential for every business and involves a wide range of work tasks.
The receptionist is the first person you see when you enter an office building and represents the face of the company. So it's important they are polite, friendly and helpful in order to make a good impression. No matter whether you're a visitor or staff member, the receptionist is there to welcome you, help you with any questions you have or show you where to go.
Receptionists may receive questions from visitors, clients or members of staff and it's important they are able to answer these enquiries quickly and clearly. They'll need good communication skills in order to do this, whether the enquiry comes in person, over the phone or by email.
Phone calls are just one of a number of work tasks a receptionist needs to do, so receptionists need to have good organisational skills and be able to prioritise their responsibilities. The phone's ringing. Should I pick it up now or deal with this visitor first?
The phone number that a company displays on its website is often going to go straight to the receptionist's desk. This means that a receptionist is going to need to handle calls from all kinds of visitors, clients and staff. The receptionist needs to ensure these calls are directed to the right department or person.
When an employee is unavailable to take a call, the receptionist may need to ask the caller whether they want to leave a message. In these situations, they'll need good written skills in order to clearly communicate who called, their reason for calling and their contact details. They'll also need to pass on this message to the member of staff.
Many businesses offering services need a receptionist to be able to schedule appointments with their staff. They need to ensure bookings (appointments) are recorded accurately whether the booking comes in person, over the phone or by email. They may be required to book (schedule) a specific time, contact visitors to check (confirm) whether they are still going to attend, or make changes the booking (re-schedule).
All kinds of paperwork and digital documents can be found lying around at a company. Receptionists may be required to organise these files into physical filing cabinets or digital folders on the company's computer system.
Are letters dead now after the invention of email? Well, it seems not. While a lot of our daily correspondence has shifted over to email, many companies and industries still use physical letters to serve as documents, often due to legal or contractual reasons. Someone needs to collect these letters and deliver them to staff, and often this responsibility lies with the receptionist. For employees wanting to send letters, there is often an 'outgoing' tray on the receptionist's desk where they can leave them.
Receptionists are often responsible for making sure there is enough stationery (paperclips, pens, notepads) and possibly organising repairs or replacements for equipment (keyboards, photocopier/printer ink, projectors).
Everyone reports to someone. Receptionists need to be flexible enough to respond to the needs of the office manager, which may include anything from calling for security in an emergency to helping create a wall display for a seasonal campaign.
There's no avoiding it - companies need to make money in order to keep running. A sales team is an essential part of this process and helps create profit by selling the companies' products and services. The busy, results-driven lifestyle of a salesperson can be very rewarding, but is not for everyone.
A key responsibility for any salesperson is to find new 'leads' (people or companies who are interested in your products or services, but who haven't bought anything yet). Salespeople may look in many different places to find new leads - from telephone and internet directories to industry conferences,
Whether in person or over the phone, salespeople need to contact customers in order to tell them about their products and services. 'Outside sales representatives' will also need to plan their route around a city efficiently in order to visit their customers in the least amount of time.
Again, whether in person or over the phone, salepeople need to give some form of sales presentation (or 'sales pitch') in order to tell customers about their products or services. A good salesperson is able to help customers understand the benefits of their products and ease any concerns they may have.
Customers may like a product or service, but not be willing to pay the full price. In these situations, salespeople are able to negotiate and try to come to an agreement that is acceptable for everyone.
Nowadays, many companies have a CRM (Customer Resource Management) system where sales teams can record all information they have about their customers. Sales representatives need to update their CRM activity every time they speak to a customer or make a sale.
Making a sale isn't just about finding new leads. If actual customers are happy, they'll continue to buy more products or services in the future.
Salespeople often have a good understanding of their products and services, which puts them in a good position to help customers with their questions or make suitable suggestions. Some sales teams also offer an 'after-sales service' that helps organise things like the installation or maintenance of products or ongoing service support for the customer.
In many cases, sales aren't made from a single interaction with a customer. Instead, the company needs to create and maintain a relationship with the customer and a sale is only made after a period of time. Because of this, salespeople need the ability to build strong relationships with their customers. Good after-sales support can also encourage customers to buy more products and services in the future.
Customers have influence. A happy customer may 'spread the word' and encourage other people to try the product or service. However, an unhappy customer will tell other people about their experience and lead to a reduction in sales. A sales team that takes manages customer complaints quickly and effectively has the power to create happier customers who are more likely to speak positively about the company and continue to buy from them in future.
Top salespeople make sure they stay on top of their industry by making a habit of researching. By becoming experts on their own products and services, salespeople are better positioned to sell and offer advice.
Most jobs have targets, but these are usually unavoidable in a sales position. While sales representatives often earn 'commission' (a small percentage of the total sale) from every sale they make, there are often bigger bonuses available for hitting monthly or quarterly targets. And equally big punishments may also exist for failing to hit those targets.
How many of these work tasks do you do in your day-to-day work? Anything missing? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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