Working at the reception desk
One effect of globalization is the increasing number of foreign companies and business partners in Hungary. Dealing with foreign tourists has been a daily task for hotel receptionist for decades but nowadays English skills are a must at many company reception desks as well. As the receptionist is the first person a customer meets or hears on the phone, a good first impression is essential. A professional receptionist knows that their attitude and skills shape what customers think about the whole company. Therefore, it is worth investing time into improving one’s workplace English, which will result in more efficient communication and a better impression.
How to prepare for dealing with native and non-native English speakers in person and on the phone? Even if your general English conversation skills are not the best, as a receptionist you always need to communicate politely. For example, “Can I have your name, please?” sounds far better than “What’s your name?” in a professional environment. Make a list of polite expressions to learn.
Giving directions within the building and knowing the English equivalent of the departments and different positions in your company also saves you from the unpleasant task of clearing up misunderstandings later. If you are not sure, the best idea is to ask the relevant people about it.
If your company often has visitors from abroad it is handy to have free city plans and brochures from the tourist info. You can also make a good impression by having a couple of good restaurants to recommend. If you need to talk to a foreigner for a few minutes while they are waiting at the reception desk, have some standard questions ready: “How was your trip?” “How do you like the town/city?” “Have you been to Hungary before?”
Many people find it more difficult to understand foreigners over the phone. This is not surprising, so it is best to be prepared to ask for clarification and it is a good idea to find out in advance who to turn to if you realise the situation is beyond your English skills. Native speakers often use the Aviation Alphabet for spelling names, so have a print-out on your desk to avoid confusion.
USEFUL EXPRESSIONS – FROM BASIC TO PROFESSIONAL
|What’s your name?||Can I have your name please? Can I ask who’s calling?|
|What’s your phone number?||Can I have a contact number please?|
|Do you want to leave a message?||Can I take a message for you?|
|He is not here today./ He is in a meeting.||I’m afraid Mr Kovács is out for the day/in a meeting.|
|Call back later.||Could you call back later?|
|I don’t understand. I’ll call someone else.||I’m calling a colleague with better English to deal with your request/ problem.|
|Sit down here, he’s coming.||He will be with you in a moment. Would you like to take a seat?|
Useful sentences – On the phone
Good morning. Thank you for calling. My name is Anna. How may I direct your call?
Jó reggelt kívánok! Köszönjük hívását. A nevem Anna. Kinek továbbíthatom a hívását?
Sorry to keep you waiting. I’m putting you through.
Elnézést, hogy megvárakoztattam. Kapcsolom.
Do you want to hold or would you like to call back later?
Szeretné tartani a vonalat vagy inkább visszatelefonál később?
I’m afraid the line/extension is engaged/busy. I’ll transfer you to Ms Megyeri.
Sajnálom a vonal/mellék foglalt. Átkapcsolom Megyeri asszonyhoz.
I’m returning your call on behalf of Mr Kiss to let you know …
Kiss úr megbízásából hívom vissza, hogy tudassam Önnel …
I’m calling to confirm that …
Azért hívom, hogy megerősítsem, hogy …
Which company are you calling from?
Melyik cégtől keresi?
I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. Could you spell it please?
Elnézést, nem értettem a nevét. Tudná betűzni?
Can you please repeat the date/location/time/phone number/e-mail address?
Meg tudná ismételni a dátumot/helyszínt/időpontot/telefonszámot/e-mail címet?
Is there anything else I can do for you?
Tehetek még Önért valamit?
to take a message – üzenetet leírni
contact number – telefonos elérhetőség
request – kérés
to put somebody through – kapcsolni valakit
to hold the line – tartani a vonalat
extension – mellék
engaged/busy – foglalt
to transfer a call – hívást átkapcsolni
to return a call – visszahívni
on behalf of – valaki nevében
to confirm – megerősíteni, visszaigazolni
to not catch someone’s name – nem érteni valaki nevét
location – helyszín
SZERETNÉD GYAKOROLNI AZ IRODAI ANGOLT? NÉZD MEG EZT A KÖNYVET!