Do you want to know what is required to become a hotel PBX operator? If YES, here is a detailed job description of a hotel PBX operator. PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, which is simply private telephone network used within a company or organization.

The users of the PBX phone system can communicate internally (within their establishment) and externally (with the outside world), using different communication channels like Voice over IP, ISDN or analogue.

A PBX also allows you to have more phones than physical phone lines (PTSN) and allows free calls between users. In the United States, large businesses more or less have a reception area where guests arrive and telephone calls are received. A PBX operator might work at a front desk and have a variety of duties connected with reception.

Why are PBX Operators Hired in Hotels?

In hotels and in the hospitality industry, PBX operators are hired and trained for guest services as well as phone operation. Hotels tend to need front-desk workers to attend to outside calls as well as calls from the rooms, including guest complaints or requests for services and/or repairs.

PBX operators in these environments are expected to have a complete knowledge of automated phone systems: how to send and receive calls, how to route calls, how to set up and handle voicemail, how to set up conference calls, how to enable monitoring of calls, and how to enable multi-party telephone conversations.

Most hotel PBX operator jobs require only a high school diploma or GED. Some also require experience in customer service, call centres and/or the use of a computerized phone system. Also note that hiring is most times followed by a period of thorough training in the use of the system, which in some operations is controlled from a computer monitor using a headset/microphone setup as well as a telephone.

These trainees are also expected to learn standard phone greetings, safety procedures, and hotel policies on customer service and, most times, handle transactions, appointments and reservations. The job demands long hours of sitting and enough manual dexterity to work with computer keyboards, multi-line telephones and other equipment as needed. The job description of a hotel PBX operator includes;

Job Description & Duties of a Hotel PBX Operator

  1. Answering telephone calls and providing a well-mannered reply to all telephone callers in a professional manner.
  2. Tasked with handling all incoming and outgoing calls at front desk of the hotel.
  3. Expected to remain polite, cautious, decent while talking over telephone and maintain smile all through as this reflect through the voice.
  4. Provide through and accurate information about different services, amenities or features that the hotel provides.
  5. Take wakeup call service request from guests.
  6. Provide timely wakeup call service to in-house guests.
  7. Make record of wakeup call services provided to guests.
  8. Take notes, messages through telephone and properly deliver to appropriate guests.
  9. Receive telephone call within 3 rings.
  10. Expected to listen to all guest complaints. Properly and professionally handle all complaints and if required seek help from seniors.
  11. Make proper record of all guest complaints and ensure they get assistance from the front desk manager.
  12. Must refer big administrative or operational problems to the supervisor or department head.
  13. Stay familiar with different hotel terminologies and glossaries.
  14. Carefully handle all telephone equipment and maintain proper telephone handling procedure set by hotel authority.
  15. Properly use all front desk equipment.
  16. If there is no automatic system in the hotel, so, in case of manual system, update the guest information rack so that guest room’s updated status can be obtained at any time.
  17. Carefully handle all emergency situations like call to doctor when guests feel sick or call the fire stations when there is fire in the hotel and fire alarm is rung. Also call the proper authority to handle terrorist threat or bomb threats etc.
  18. Assist guest in various occasions like making long distance call, arrange seat booking in local train etc.
  19. Properly handle all telephone charges by guests and employees.
  20. Properly switch call to proper department.
  21. Expected to provide proper information about functions of different amenities, department or staffs.
  22. Properly perform all daily functions instructed by supervisor and written on hotel’s SOP.
  23. To know and keep record of all departments extension numbers, department head’s telephone numbers and if possible their private numbers so that in times of emergency they can be reached swiftly.
  24. Keep working area clean and make sure all equipment is functioning properly.
  25. Expected to maintain good professional relationship with other departments like housekeeping, Laundry, Room Service, Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Security etc.
  26. On guests’ request, arrange conference calls.
  27. Handle paging system of the hotel.
  28. Properly handle all incoming faxes.
  29. Bill outgoing faxes.

How to Become a Hotel PBX Operator in 4 Steps

According to reports, the median annual salary of PBX operators in the United States is $30,000. Most operators in the 10th percentile rake in around $20,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $46,000 a year. Also note that bonuses for the higher end of this pay bracket can reach up to $9,000.

Some companies also offer health benefits as part of their salary package, with almost 75 percent of people in this role receiving medical coverage. Here are steps to consider when looking to venture into this career path;

1. Obtain Education

The minimum requirement to become a PBX operator is a high school diploma. Some companies also prefer candidates with post-secondary training. Reports also have it that over 22 percent of all U.S. PBX operators have attended college without earning a degree, and about 7 percent have earned a bachelor’s degree. Nonetheless, 60 percent have not continued their education beyond high school.

2. Become Computer Literate

Almost all PBX systems more or less interface with computers, such as playing a message when calls are not answered or enabling call forwarding. Even though operators may not need program writing expertise, they need to be sufficiently computer literate to enter codes into the system interface.

Also note that some employers want PBX operators to perform basic clerical duties, such as typing lists of employee extensions or preparing interoffice memos.  Note that basic word-processing skills are helpful for those desiring a career as a PBX operator. There are many high schools, community colleges and business schools that offer these courses that are sufficient for operators in the United States.

3. Hone your Communication Skills

Just like it was stated as one of the primary duties of PBX operators, they are expected to speak clearly and distinctly, and should use proper grammar when speaking. Anyone looking to become a Hotel PBX Operator in the United States should practice speaking in front of a mirror or ask friends or family members to help them. Operators are also expected to have basic written communication skills, such as spelling and vocabulary, equivalent to at least a high-school level.

4. Practice Customer Service

Have it in mind that employers expect operators to use a pleasant tone of voice when answering calls. Also note that these operators may be receiving a number of calls at once, all of which need to be answered politely and as soon as possible. It is bad for the job to let emotions and stress of the situation to show in your voice.

However, in most hotels, PBX operators may double as receptionists, so they need to be pleasant when dealing with visitors. Remember that this job makes use of basic interpersonal skills learned in school, and the tone of voice can be learned while practicing communication skills.

Conclusion

A Hotel PBX Operator performs various tasks such as typing, checking, and recording information. It is more or less the responsibility of a hotel PBX Operator to compile information and prepare reports. However, due to the proliferation of automated systems, the occupation is in decline, but their importance in the hospitality industry can never be underrated.

Joy Nwokoro