Some business owners find it beneficial to hire call answering service providers who account for incoming calls and provide information, book appointments, pass on messages, etc. These services can be particularly helpful over during the holidays or summer months, but are really useful any time of year when many small business owners need to take some time off. Hiring a virtual receptionist who handles incoming calls can give you and your staff a chance to take a break, while enabling you to still look after the needs of your clients.
A virtual receptionist isn’t a computerised voice answering your calls from a server half-way across the world. Virtual employees are real people. They just happen to have the freedom to work from anywhere they wish, while helping to service you and your customers 24/7.Virtual reception is a great option to consider when you want to set up a Virtual Headquarters in a physical location, but don’t have the need for an on-site receptionist, or require customized call answering such as off-hours or on-demand services to handle sudden surges in call volumes. Best of all, calls are never sent to voicemail, ensuring the long term survival of your business.
1. No call is left unanswered
Missed calls, sending clients to voicemail, and after-hours calls that go unanswered all spell lost customers for the business. A dedicated or part-time virtual reception can help prevent these and other issues related to missed calls. Even if they just step in when your office reception needs a coffee break, vacation time, or gets too busy to handle each incoming call.
2. Eliminate service issues
Consider what happens when your receptionist becomes sick or quits in search of greener pastures. If you guessed that your service will suffer, you guessed right! A quality receptionist takes time to find and train to handle the unique calls coming into your business. A virtual receptionist is free to take all, or occasional incoming calls whenever you’re short-handed or nobody’s available to answer the phone.
3. Increase branding and retention
This applies exclusively to entrepreneurs and small business teams. It’s a reality that the more calls coming into a business, the better that business is doing. On the other hand, one or a few people can only take so many calls before becoming overwhelmed. When a client or prospect calls and doesn’t get an answer, chaos ensues on your end and endless ringing and/or being shuffled to voicemail only serves to alienate callers from your business.
4. Improved time management for everyone
Expanding on the last point, it’s a given that a solopreneur or small team that’s spending every minute answering calls is under constant stress. Not only is this bad for health, eventually that discontent will work its way into interactions with callers. Having a virtual receptionist step in when stress levels get overwhelming, allows you and staff to breathe more deeply, and spend more time satisfying each phone call. In addition to completing other essential tasks on your to-do list for you.
5. Increased professional image
I would make a strong argument that customers will regard you with a much higher level of respect when a receptionist answers each phone call to your business. Even when they’re calling for someone specific, the fact that a dedicated receptionist answers their call validates that you take your business seriously, and are likely too busy making all your customers happy to answer every single call coming in.A virtual receptionist can make customers feel heard and appreciated, while offering a guarantee that you’ll be calling them back ASAP when you’re unavailable.
6. Decreased operating costs
A dedicated virtual receptionist is the perfect solution for a bootstrapped startup or small enterprise trying to skimp and save every dollar they can. Consider the cost of a full-time, in house receptionist: approximately $70,000/yr on the low end after all costs are added together. Then, you also need an office for them to park their seat in, adding further costs if you prefer to run your business in a virtual environment. A virtual receptionist is much cheaper to maintain, with the added advantage they can work part or full-time, or even on-demand, as needed.
7. They can do more than answer phones
Virtual receptionists can also make outgoing calls to follow up with clients, pitch additional products, along with making and confirming appointments with your clients. The flexibility a virtual receptionist can offer the business is invaluable in saving your business time, while maintaining an insurmountable level of professionalism to help clients to the best of their ability. Compare this with a traditional answering service that only answer calls, takes messages and/or forwards incoming calls to you.
8. Cross industry and demographic skills and abilities
The trouble with hiring talent in a non-virtual environment is that you’ll often find yourself limited by the talent available in your immediate area. This can create a big disconnect between reception and the types of customers calling you, if the receptionist isn’t familiar with the industry or demographic making the call.Consider an expansion opportunity into a different country and the language and cultural differences that can hinder operations. A virtual receptionist works on all corners of the planet and can help to ease any transition your company needs to make.