Unit two: Principles of providing administrative services Section 1 – Understand how to make and receive telephone calls 1. Complete the table below with descriptions of at least two different features of a telephone system and how / when they would be used. FeatureHow / when used 1. Computer telephone integration This option links two systems together, the computer and the telephone systems. When someone calls up, the telephone rings and a dialog box will appear on the computer screen with options for answering it. 2. VoIP This option allows the business to enjoy free calls and voicemails sent by the internet.
Therefore it needs a fast and reliable internet connection. 2. Prepare a brief report advising people on: •How to follow organisational procedures when making and receiving telephone calls •The purpose of giving a positive image of yourself and your organisation when making and receiving telephone calls. If possible, use specific information from procedures in your own organisation (or one that you are familiar with). First thing to keep in mind at work is that I am always representing my company or business every time I answer the phone or making a call on the business’s behalf. Example
There is usually a scripted text to be followed – this text is used on each call, as a standard greeting for all incoming and outgoing calls made within the business environment. For instance, I might say: “Field Training, this is Rita, how can I help? ” The purpose of giving a positive image of myself and of the business when making and receiving telephone calls is to promote the business in its best light and provide a professional service right from the start to every costumer or potential costumer. Offering the best possible service should be paramount from the very first moment of answering and making business calls.
Section 2 – Understand how to handle mail 1. Explain the purpose of correctly receiving, checking and sorting mail and packages (both incoming and outgoing). The purpose of correctly receiving, checking and sorting mail is to allow the smooth run of a business and keep up with the speed of operations needed within the business. An inefficient business is much harder to run and creates a stressful atmosphere to work in. Also poor mail handing brings much confusion to all involved, loss of costumers and loss of business, therefore loss of revenue.
Poor mail handling can actually have very serious long term consequences on a business as it undermines its reputation and generates loss of trust from costumers and suppliers. A carefully thought-through system needs to be in place at all times so the correct person gets the correct mail or package and this process should occur as quickly as possible. 2. Complete the table below with the following information: •At least two examples of internal mail services that are available to organisations •At least two examples of external mail services that are available to organisations
Internal mail servicesExternal mail services 1. Invoice from suppliers to the business 1. Invoice to costumers of services provided by the business 2. Requests for information about products and services 2. Products sent to costumers by post Internally, mail or post is distributed in different ways depending on the size of the business; post could be distributed on different trays at the entrance with employer’s names labelled on them; it can be distributed in large organisations by people moving around the different departments/ floors with mail trolleys; using internal envelopes addressed to the recipient.
Very modern businesses might have an intranet system that scans post and this is indexed to the relevant administration team. Externally, post is distributed by major mail company providers such as Royal Mail, DHL and Citylink. 3. Describe two methods that you can use to calculate postage charges for mail and / or packages. The best way to accomplish this is to compare prices from two or more different mail couriers. For instance websites such as www. courier- comparison. co. uk will offer us different options of shipping an item. We ust enter the dimensions and weight of the item plus how soon this item needs to be delivered. Royal Mail is the major postal service provider in the UK and it is always a good idea to check price on their website first before going for others as their prices are usually more competitive. Section 3 – Understand how to use different types of office equipment 1. Describe the main types of equipment found in offices and how they are used. Include examples of at least three different types of office equipment. Main types of equipment used in an office are: Telephones for voice communication, phone calls and phone messages (voicemail); •Fax machines for paper communication in real time with other businesses that still use fax machines as well; •Computers for all IT business needs (central to any business); •Copy machines to make photocopies (black and white and/ or colour); •Scanners to scan documents digitally, which once scanned can be stored in a computer, emailed or printed; •Printers to print on paper anything that the business might need, from envelopes to formal letters to posters etc.
I would add that computers are absolutely essential to the management of any business, regardless of its size and level of innovation. 2. Explain the purpose of following manufacturer’s instructions when using equipment. The purpose of following manufacturer’s instructions is to avoid accidents, for Health and Safety reasons, to keep Manufactures Guarantees valid, for proper and efficient equipment Maintenance, for increased Efficiency and to avoid any materials getting wasted. The storage of these manuals should be consistent in one designated place so they can be found easily by anyone working on any given day. . Explain the purpose of keeping equipment clean, hygienic and ready for the next user. The purpose of keeping equipment clean and ready for the next person to use is to keep a high level of efficiency and speed of operations within the business. Also it is expected to be considerate to the next person that will come to use the same equipment after us in the work place. However health reasons can be the biggest reason to keep equipment clean and tidy, especially for those businesses using chemicals. Section 4 – Understand how to keep waste to a minimum in a business environment . Explain why waste should be kept to a minimum in a business environment. Waste should be kept to a minimum because too much money is usually wasted on waste. Sometimes some leftover materials can be dangerous to people and the environment so that should be dealt with straight away. When waste is kept to a minimum business do not need to raise prices to compensate for higher costs of waste. 2. Identify at least two main causes of waste in a business environment. People and Equipment are the two main causes of waste in a business environment.
For instance, a culture of waste among the employees of the business; or unwanted materials left over from production of a product. 3. How can you keep waste to a minimum in a business environment? Describe at least two ways of doing this. Waste can be kept to a minimum by careful observation from managers of where waste is more predominant. Keep asking “why this is happening” (known as the root cause analysis). Doing some active prevention such as training staff on this issue, identifying where waste is and finding ways to reduce this occurrence. Example 1:
A neglected fax machine system at my last job was set up in a way that would enable spam faxing – it used to receive about 20 spam faxes a day, printing dozens of pages of unsolicited services, wasting resources (paper and ink cartridges). Example 2: At that same job showers would be by leaking and sometimes and it would take more than a day for the maintenance team to come and fix them. By that time gallons of water have been wasted. Some big chain supermarkets have also been critised for wasting large amounts of food in the end of a business day when they haven’t sold those products by their end by date.
Section 5 – Know how to make arrangements for meetings 1. Complete the table below listing at least two different types of meetings and describing the main features of each type of meeting. Type of meetingMain features Face- to- face meeting Two people involved in this meeting Annual general meeting with directors and shareholders Once a year meeting with a group of people, including directors and shareholders Regular meeting Held at regular intervals ie once a week to address on – going concerns 2. When arranging a meeting: •What sources and types of information are typically needed? How should meetings be arranged? A ‘brief’ should be laid out in advance to specify to everybody involved what the purpose and focus of the meeting will be. The brief should inform who needs to attend the meeting, when and where is the meeting taking place, the main resources required and what is going to be discussed in the meeting. The so called ‘Logistical’ information needed is: the date, start time and finishing time, agenda and an attendance list. The ‘Content’ part of the meeting could be: minutes of previous meetings, report for any consideration and the desired outcomes for the meeting.
Section 6 – Understand procedures for organising travel and accommodation arrangements 1. Explain the purpose of confirming instructions and requirements for business travel and accommodation. The main purpose of confirming instructions and requirements for business travel and accommodation id to avoid mistakes being made, resulting in waste of money and time. 2. Complete the table below with an outline of the main types of business travel and accommodation arrangements that may need to be made and the procedures that should be followed when doing this.
Travel and accommodation arrangementsProcedures Example International flight arrangements Example Gather all the relevant facts of the trip before starting to look for services. (ie check beforehand the needs and preferences of the customer and the budget) Example National rail travel Example Have an eye for detail, double check numbers and dates to avoid mistakes Example Local travel (within one city) Example Keep records of all transactions Example International hotel accommodation arrangements Example Stick to budget and use approved suppliers . Explain the purpose of keeping records of travel / accommodation arrangements in a business environment. Every business should keep records of all its travel and accommodation expenses. The purpose of keeping travelling and accommodation records are: 1. To keep the business running smoothly by being more organised therefore less mistakes will be made when managing future travel budgets. 2. To save essential information that could be lost by the actual person doing the travelling. 3. To avoid wasting time and money and stress to everybody involved. . To improve contracts with different suppliers of travel and accommodation in future trips and to be able to compare prices for future budgets. Section 7 – Understand diary management procedures 1. Briefly explain the purpose of using a diary system to plan activities at work. Give at least two reasons. A dairy system bring a structure to the business on a daily basis – that way everybody understands what is expected of them and when and the different degrees of urgency. For instance, prioritising tasks will help a successful day’s achievements.
Having a dairy system in place also provides resources needed throughout the day, to who and when, as well as avoiding potential mistakes and problems such as meetings that can be be forgotten about or rooms that could be double-booked. One more reason to keep a work dairy in place is, for instance, if I get sick on one given day, a colleague of mine can step in in my place by reading what tasks need to be achieved on that day according to the dairy. 2. Identify the information needed to maintain a diary system in the workplace.
Five questions need to be asked when it comes to information needed to maintain a dairy system. These are known as the “five whys – who, what, when, where and why”. In other words, the information should be: Who: Who is the meeting with? What: What is the meeting about? When: When is the meeting? Where: Where is the meeting? Why: Why are you having the meeting? Section 8 – Understand the purpose of delivering effective customer service and how to do so 1. What are the differences between internal and external customers in a business environment?
Internal costumers are individuals and staff teams within the business who receive the outputs of my work. External customers are individuals outside the business who receive the product or service that the business produces. Example: A couple got professionally taken pictures of their baby at a Photography studio. The photographer is the business owner. The printing shop where the photographer gets the large format prints done at are his internal customers. The couple with the baby is his external costumer. 2. Explain why customer service should meet or exceed customer expectations.
Include at least three reasons in your answer. The bottom line is that poor customer service can result in fewer external customers, fewer sales, inefficiency and wasted resources. Costumer service should always meet or exceed costumer expectations because otherwise it will bring disappointment to the costumer, high levels of customer dissatisfaction, high levels of complaints, less number of orders, more resources needed to deal with the complaints, higher costs and finally it could bring bad reputation to the business. . Explain the importance of building positive relationships with customers. Outline two ways in which this can be achieved. When a business builds a positive relationship with the customer there is an increase in the sense of trust from the customer, which leads to more customer loyalty and even customer recommendations. There is also more job satisfaction for the business owner and potentially more business growth. They say that it is more expensive to win new customers than to keep existing ones!
By having a commitment to building and maintaining positive relationships a business is better placed to satisfy customers going forward. . 4. How do customers demonstrate their own needs and expectations? Costumers demonstrate their needs and expectations with their feedback. Feedback can be obtained by informal feedback (chatting to the costumer and asking questions to them directly), analysing customer complaints, focus groups, feedback forms for customers to fill out and customer surveys.
In case of big companies customer research is also used frequently. Section 9 – Understand the purpose of reception services and how to follow reception procedures 1. What is the purpose of the receptionist role as the first point of contact in a business environment? The purpose of the receptionist role is to represent the business as its first point of contact. She/ He will symbolise what that business is about. The Receptionist should be seen an agent for the business.
She/ he is the very first impression of the business. Receptionist are expected to give appropriate greeting in welcoming visitors, handling inquiries over the phone and in the person, keeping visitor’s records (sometimes issuing visitor’s passes) and monitor access into and out of the building, among other duties. 2. Describe how a receptionist can present a positive image of themselves and the organisation and explain why this is important.
A receptionist can present a positive image of herself/ himself and of the business by having a clean appearance, keeping a tidy reception area, using verbal clues ie making eye contact, smiling, having good communication skills such as listening carefully, being attentive and demonstrate a professional behaviour at all times. 3. In relation to your own organisation (or one that you are familiar with), explain what must be done when carrying out entry, departure, security and confidentiality procedures in a reception area.
Example In my past job receptionists needed to monitor entry of visitors, and ensure they didn’t go anywhere without another member of staff escorting them, in case they didn’t have their own membership card to swipe at the turnstiles. Security can be compromised in some businesses so some of them will issue a visitor’s pass for the day. It I usually needed to fully train staff on all types of procedures each business has in place in terms of security and access to the premises.