What is a Virtual Receptionist

If you run a small customer-facing business will understand how difficult it can be at times to keep on top of your workload and to deal with all of the different customer queries that come your way. We live in an age where customer service expectations are quite rightly high. With a great deal of competition out there, if you are not able to provide an adequate response within a reasonable timeframe, then someone else will.

Nobody wants to spend their precious spare time trying to get through to a business where the lines are always engaged, or nobody is free to pick up the call. This is how opportunities are missed, and smaller business fail to grow to meet their potential.

What Is A Virtual Receptionist?

Using a virtual receptionist service is a great way of saving time and money while maintaining a great track record with all of your businesses clients or customers. A virtual receptionist is much like having your own in-house receptionist, only they are not based in your office and you only pay them for the calls that they handle.

By outsourcing your call handling, you will have less of a strain on your own resources. It saves the need for you to hire an employee whose primary job it would be to answer the phone. Instead, by utilizing an external call handling service, your customers and clients will be able to get through to someone whenever they call, and you won’t have to drop what you are doing, or need to pay the wages of someone waiting to take that call.

A virtual receptionist may be able to provide basic information to commonly asked questions, or they can take customers details so that you can get back in touch with them.

As virtual receptionists are outsourced, they will be professional call handlers who will also take calls for many other businesses. That means, when they are not speaking with your customers, they are delivering great service elsewhere.

Your virtual receptionist will have received full customer support training and will have ongoing assessments and reviews of the way that they handle calls meaning your customers will be in the safest of hands.

Improving The Image Of Your Business

One of the major areas that can let many businesses down is their customer service image. How a business interacts with its customers and clients is of the utmost importance. A bad review of the quality of service received can easily blow up in the face of a smaller business. And, with social media being a major influencing factor when it comes to customers choosing a company to use, keeping clients and customers satisfied has never been so important. With the prospect of a bad service experiencing blackening the name of your business, it is vital that you invest in managing this crucial area of your business.

Virtual receptionists are a way of improving the image of your business. Having a calm and friendly call handler available whenever your customers and clients call, will help to alleviate stress, ensuring that calm interactions are the norm.

Many small businesses these days rely on automated technological solutions such as chatbots and IVR systems to deal with customers these are usually ineffective and can be a frustrating experience for customers. A live receptionist dealing with a call is a much better option all round. By using a virtual receptionist the customer gets a real human being to interact with and the business gets a superior option to automation at a much more affordable cost than hiring an employee.

When small businesses are first starting out building a brand can take time and money but by using virtual office services you get a headstart in appearing like an established company. As a phone call is likely to be the first interaction a customer has with your company having a trained virtual receptionist answer the call is going to convey that you are a professional business.

Developing Your Business By Using A Virtual Receptionist

Using the services of a virtual receptionist can help you to grow and develop your business in several ways. Firstly, by keeping you off the phone as much, it will free up your time and that of all of your employees.

Secondly, a virtual receptionist is cheaper than hiring an in-house call handler. Thirdly, generating customer goodwill by ensuring that your business is able to provide excellent customer service will help to bring people back to use your services more.

When you run a small business, time is definitely a valuable commodity. Whatever line of business you are in, time can seem to slip through your fingers like grains of sand. Obviously customers and clients represent success in your business, and the more of them you have, the better. But if your life is spent on the phone to them, you may not be able to be as productive as you would like.

Studies show that on average it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on a task after being distracted, every time the phone rings your attention is being diverted.

The busier you are, the less time you will have for creating and innovating. When your business is new, this period of development is crucial to your future growth, and by using the services of a virtual receptionist you will be giving yourself space and time to breathe and move forward with all of your plans.

The cost-saving benefits are significant too. Retaining the money that you might have spent on an additional employee to handle all of your phonecalls will mean that you might potentially have capital that could be invested elsewhere in your business. This might allow you to grow and develop and as such increase your revenue stream.

Bringing customers back to your business is going to be vital, repeat custom is something that should be nurtured. Using a virtual receptionist will allow you to do just that. With well-trained receptionists available to take all of the calls of your customers and clients, you can rely on the fact that great service will be provided.

Word spreads, and if your customers have something nice to say about your business, then it is likely to blossom due to recommendations. Your virtual receptionist will look after your customers and clients as they understand how important they are to you and your business.

Virtual Receptionists Are Cost-Effective

The cost-effectiveness of a virtual receptionist cannot be overstated. With several different packages available to suit a range of different business sizes, prices are low. And when you compare the cost of using a virtual receptionist to the cost of hiring even just a part-time employee to take your calls for you, then there is still a vast saving. However, a virtual receptionist is effectively available full-time.

A big benefit of making use of virtual receptionist services is that there will always be someone there to answer your phone calls. A real problem when you have hired staff is that they will go on vacation so you’ll need to find another member of staff to cover for them while away which can cause short term disruption. They also might take time off sick which is even more sudden and stressful for the business. When you hire a live virtual receptionist to provide your phone answering services this is one less thing to worry as if they get sick or go on vacation, it is down to the answering service company to provide a replacement.

Another advantage is that if you call volume suddenly increases and you need to hire, you can just upgrade your plan rather than go looking for a new receptionist.

On the subject of hiring, this is another area that is time and money intensive. Reading resumes and interviewing potential receptionists all takes up valuable time and then they need to be trained up. Using a phone answering service is simpler, they’ll have a professionally trained virtual receptionist all ready for you to start straight away. With an office receptionist if they leave you’ll have to go through the same process of hiring all over again, hoping you get someone who is up to the task. With a virtual receptionist, you’ll never have to find a replacement.

Of course, having a virtual reception takes up a lot less office space and saves you on equipment costs. You can’t overlook the fact that you are not just paying someone to answer your phone calls but you’ll need to pay out for a chair, desk, computer, and other office equipment that they’ll need. This could mean a few thousand dollars of extra expense that could be used elsewhere.

With the additional ability for out-of-hours messages to be taken too, your customers will be able to get in contact with your business when it is most convenient for them, rather than when you are free to answer their call.

Final Thoughts

If you are running a small business you have limited options regarding the answering of incoming calls. You can field them yourself eating up time that you could strategically use to grow your business. Then again you could let them go to voice mail and deal with them when you have time which is not the best of solutions. Hiring a full-time office receptionist is going to free up your time and make your business look more professional but at an expense. Or you could invest in a virtual receptionist which could be one of the best decisions you make for your business.