Your Business Deserves A 24/7 Virtual Receptionist
“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living” may have been words made iconic by Dolly Parton but once upon a time, believe it or not, they actually described the average person’s work week. Not only that, but they were also an indicator of the work environment at large and for a long time, a hard and fast rule about work commitments and availability. You started at 9 and finished at five, the hours before and after, entirely your own five days a week. And then 48 hours of freedom - a chance to pursue and enjoy a life outside of work over the weekend.
Go on, roll your eyes. Think fondly about how those were the good old days because times have definitely changed and many would argue, not for the better. These days, you’re expected to be available at all times, such is the power and presence of technology in our lives. Somewhere along the way we lost the model of neat firm boundaries everyone understood, and ended up here in 2020 where while it’s great in some ways that we’re more connected than ever, and have access to more information and entertainment than we know what to do with, this increased and easy connectivity also means the boundaries between work and leisure are becoming increasingly blurred.
You’re expected to be able to answer emails as soon as they come through, take a call at any minute and be ready to shed the other parts of your life, slipping back into work mode whenever the need arises, irrespective of whatever else may be going on. That expectation is neither healthy nor fair and completely decimates the idea of that elusive work-life balance we’re all striving for. You can’t have balance without boundaries. You can’t have balance without rich well-looked after parts of your life that have nothing to do with work. Work may bring a measure of success and fulfilment but without getting too philosophical and wise guy here, but you can’t take it with you at the end of the day and when it counts, I’d guess work suddenly won’t seem as all-consuming as it did while you were in the thick of it.
But don’t worry! I have a solution. It’s one that’s easy to implement, low-cost and has a high success rate. Any ideas? My answer to this work life balance problem is a virtual receptionist. I know it sounds too good to be true but I promise it isn’t. We have evidence that this has worked for and balanced out many companies across the world of every size and shape.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t stress, I’ll give you a quick refresher. A virtual receptionist is what we call someone who takes on the typical admin duties of a receptionist but works remotely, often from the comfort of their own home, something we’re all getting more used to these days, huh? Now if you’re sitting there, worrying about the idea of outsourcing your work in that way and the complications of having someone who’s not in the office handle one of the most crucial parts of your business, take a deep breath.
Here at Ivy Answering, we have it set up so that when a virtual receptionist becomes part of your team, there’ll be no way any of your customers can tell they’re not in the office. When you sign up for a virtual receptionist with us, one of the first things we do is go over a small script with you so that your virtual receptionist knows exactly what to say no matter what they’re asked. The idea is that they answer the phones exactly as you would.
And as for handing off something so critical? Unsurprisingly admin is also incredibly time consuming but chances are if you’re here, you already knew that. According to our research, 25% of the average manager’s time (insert equivalent role here) is taken up by responding to and dealing with admin so taking on a virtual receptionist will hopefully free up space for you and the rest of your team to really focus and hone in on other important parts of business as well as maybe even get some time for a little life balance, if you’re lucky. Just so you know, a virtual receptionist is trained to do much more than just answer the phone (we’ll get to that in a minute) which they can do at any time. If you need to never miss a call, this can go from being an individual role to a team situation with no extra stress.
Where we can, Ivy Answering tries to keep the receptionists at our disposal, local so that your customers get the added comfort and benefit of dealing with someone who understands the ins and outs of the environment your business is trying to thrive in, hopefully making their experience smoother. However, this can’t always be the case, particularly if you require 24/7 manning of your phones but rest assured that every member of our team has a high proficiency in English so there’ll be no communication barrier and they’re briefed on your company beforehand.
Aside from answering the phones (as well as transferring calls and obviously being able to collect caller information), a virtual receptionist can also reply to emails, use web-chat services if that’s something you have available and schedule appointments for you and your team. But most importantly, they can also answer questions and queries from both your existing customers and prospective clients. That particular skill is in my opinion, by far the most important as it means your customers are more likely to have a positive service experience which will work wonders for your business. You’d be amazed at how well people respond to not having to talk to robots! I probably don’t need to tell you that a good customer service experience is an integral part of your business’s success as it creates repeat customers and inspires positive word of mouth, which is a tool that’s strength can’t be underestimated.
Yet another great thing about virtual receptionists is the fact that they’re a cost-effective investment for your business. Hiring a virtual receptionist is far cheaper than the physical alternative, most obviously because they’re on a wage which has you paying out less than if they were a salaried employee. This might make it easier to balance your books.
There’s also none of the overhead costs associated with an in-house receptionist. There’s no maintenance of a computer or printer to worry about. No stationary to keep stocked. No desk or chair necessary. This also allows for a certain level of flexibility and practicality in that their position can easily move and flow well with plans for expansion, for example. Virtual receptionists are perhaps more easily able to absorb the impact and fluctuation of a business expansion from outside the office as they have systems in place which allow them to handle the increased workload easily. But on the flipside, their flexibility also allows for them to be less out of place if things slow down or hit a bump in the road and staff needs to be reduced.
Your journey with Ivy Answering begins with a 7 day free trial and we can have you set up to be receiving calls within minutes. After this trial, we’d obviously like you to stay with us but we understand if you can’t make that commitment so there’s no pressure. If you do decide to stick with us, from there, Ivy Answering also proudly provides affordable plans to businesses whereby you pay a monthly fee, say $55/month and with that fee, you’re given a number of free calls per month. Once you exceed that quota, you’re then charged a minute amount, $2 for example per extra call and that rate remains fixed no matter how many calls you take or how long they are.
There’s no lock in contract to these plans and they can easily be upgraded or downgraded as your business’s needs change. In addition to that, we are also willing to be flexible and work with you if during the plan selection process, you can’t find a model that suits you because we know at the end of the day that your bottom line and customer experience are the most important things to you so we want to try and be as supportive of that as we can.
If I haven’t managed to convince you by now that there’s an extremely high ream of benefits to hiring a virtual receptionist, I don’t know what else to say. They’re cost effective with proven benefits, take no training from you and make your work life infinitely easier. What’s not to like? If I haven’t convinced you that Ivy Answering is the way to go, once you decide you are on board with the idea, I don’t know what else you need. We have a proven high customer satisfaction rate, we’re flexible and we’re no affordable with no hidden costs or secret hoops for you to jump through.
If you’d like to know more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 866-333-3556.