How to Manage a Busy Reception Area Like a Pro

As a receptionist, you’re responsible for attending to customers while managing other duties simultaneously. Constantly multi-tasking while dealing with foot traffic and unpredictable call volume can make it difficult to get anything done. 

Every great receptionist looks for ways to increase effectiveness with limited resources. Here are some common roadblocks to efficiently operating a reception area and how to take control.  

Challenges of Managing a Reception Area

  • Interruptions: A busy receptionist’s workday is typically ravaged by constant interruptions. Keeping your cool in the face of continual distractions is one of the hallmarks of a professional receptionist.
  • Missed calls and business: When managing a hectic reception area, missing phone calls often becomes the norm. In fact, 62% of calls to businesses go unanswered. But missed calls can be costly. 85% of these callers won’t call back, resulting in potential lost business. 

    Additionally, long wait or hold times create a poor customer experience and can drive your customers straight to a competitor.
  • Understaffing: Businesses must maintain a professional presence and strike the right balance of receptionist resources. Your pivotal role is often overlooked and underestimated by management — until there’s a problem. 

    Customer experience suffers when the reception area is understaffed or you’re always busy putting out fires. This is especially problematic for customer-facing businesses like salons, car dealerships, restaurants, medical offices and other local retailers.

So how do you juggle these challenges while keeping everything under control?

9 Tips for Managing a Busy Reception Area

1. Develop a System for Prioritizing Customers

Do clients schedule appointments with your business? If so, assist clients in order of appointment time. Develop a system so you know who the highest priorities are. 

2. Automate the Check-In Process 

Instead of using physical forms, allow customers to check-in digitally to eliminate wait lines. Not only does electronic check-in save on printing costs, but it can also store visitor information in a database. A variety of visitor management software is available to suit your business size and needs.

3. Use a Virtual Receptionist

You can’t always predict when reception will pick up. During peak hours, virtual receptionist software can step in to answer calls and give customers speedy assistance. 

Virtual receptionists relieve the burden of day-to-day phone management by fielding incoming calls and resolving basic customer requests. These services also allow you to help customers before and after hours to prevent lost business and improve the customer service experience. 

4. Enable Business Text Messaging 

Everyone texts their family and friends, but 78% of consumers wish they could text a business. Texts are easy to respond to and allow you to help more customers faster. Using tools like Numa, you can text-enable your existing business landline and immediately give customers another way to engage with your business.

5. Automate Responses to FAQs  

Most people hate recorded decision trees. They will often hang up rather than wade through multiple layers of voice prompts to ask simple questions like:

  • Are you still open?
  • What are your hours?
  • What is your address?

Repetitive questions waste your time and take attention away from the important work in front of you. Why answer basic questions when AI-enhanced answering services like Numa can automate these responses for you?

Over time, Numa learns about your business and recommends new answers to commonly asked questions, allowing you to focus on higher-priority customers and tasks.

6. Enable Digital Appointment Scheduling

Scheduling and managing appointments over the phone waste time and don’t always require a human to intervene. Allowing clients to schedule appointments digitally is a huge time saver and will cut down on phone time, freeing you to help the customers right in front of you. 

7. Set Up Voicemail Transcription 

Listening to voicemails is time-intensive, especially when most calls turn out to be sales or spam calls. Answering spam calls wastes nearly 20 million hours a year for small businesses in the US, which translates to about $475 million annually. Voicemail transcription tools allow you to scan through voicemails and prioritize callbacks easily.

8. Use Phone Scripts

Having a script for answering calls prevents you from overthinking every time you pick up the phone. Using phone scripts ensures that you give needed information to each caller while keeping greetings short and to the point.  

9. Stay Positive

When your reception area gets busy, don’t let your frustration get the best of you. Remember, you are often the first face a customer sees — or the first voice a customer hears — when doing business with your company. Projecting an image of professionalism and poise should be top of mind. 

Manage Your Reception Area With Numa

When overseeing reception, you can’t get to every phone call. Numa is the most affordable option for alleviating your workload and providing exceptional customer service functions. 

Numa rescues missed calls and voicemails by responding with an instant text message, making it faster and easier for everyday businesses to connect with customers. Numa provides the convenience, flexibility and simplicity you need to manage customer contacts in a helpful and efficient way.

Here's How Numa Works:


  1. When customers call your business, Numa gives them the option to receive a text message when you don't answer the phone. 
  2. Once the caller engages, Numa texts the customer and can answer questions about your business or assist with completing orders.
  3. Over time, Numa learns about your business and recommends new answers to commonly asked questions. 

You can set up Numa in 15 minutes or less. And with Numa's flat monthly fee, you'll pay a fraction of what traditional answering services charge. 

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