What Is A Virtual Receptionist, And Do I Need One?
If you are spending more time supporting your business than building it, then it is time to consider hiring a virtual receptionist. A virtual receptionist is a professionally trained receptionist just like an in-house receptionist would be. Unlike in-house receptionists, however, virtual receptionists work remotely, ideally at an answering service facility that has the technology to support high call volumes.
A virtual receptionist has the flexibility and capacity to fulfill a customer service role for companies of various sizes. They pick up the slack of staffing inconsistencies that occur when people take time off due to illness or during a longer leave of absence. But virtual receptionists don’t just keep your business running during unstaffed office hours, they can also provide the escape valve small business owners need to focus on other tasks during the regular workday. Overall, a virtual receptionist should provide more productivity and a positive customer experience.
Every hour of administrative work costs you an hour of work that you could be doing at your full billable rate, which means you’re not maximizing your efforts. So take a moment to audit how much of your time is spent fulfilling customer service and administrative tasks, and then consider how splitting your attention is affecting the customer experience.
Start with these questions:
- Do calls go unanswered?
- Am I missing calls after hours?
- Do I have to put people on hold?
- Are customers leaving voice messages?
- Can I keep up with order fulfillment?
- How long does it take me to answer customer emails?
- Have I hit my workload capacity?
- Have I already increased prices to meet demand?
If you have hit your workload capacity and would either need to turn away customers or hire staff to help, then hiring a virtual receptionist is a viable solution to consider.
What can one do for you?
A virtual receptionist should be skilled in many of the tasks that an in-office receptionist would handle, such as:
- Answering phones either during peak times, after hours, on an as-needed basis, or 24/7 around the clock.
- Acting as an extension of a business by providing customer service support and handling FAQs.
- Scheduling appointments.
- Taking reservations for seminars, workshops, or events.
- Entering orders.
- Data entry support such as updating customer records, creating reports, and CRM management.
- Screening job applicants.
Keep track of your daily tasks for a week and make lists of which categories a virtual receptionist could help you with. You may find that phone calls disrupt your day much too frequently, or that after-hours requests could easily be managed by a virtual receptionist rather than an on-call staff member. Having a clearly defined role with all the tasks assigned for your virtual receptionist to perform will help you get the most out of the partnership.
Why not hire in-house help?
Hiring a virtual receptionist is a more cost-effective solution for businesses than hiring more in-house staff members. You don’t have to pay benefits or for office expenses like internet, phone, and rent. You can also hire a virtual receptionist for a block of hours to fit your budget and monthly needs or for help with work overflow, and time-intensive projects that need specialized attention.
Customers get 24/7 support from trained professionals and calls don’t go unanswered, which means opportunities are less likely to be missed. You’ll get consistent help from a team without the worry of employee absence or turn-over.
Great businesses see providing better customer care as an opportunity, not as a cost. It’s an investment that not only retains current customers but also generates good reviews and brings in new customers seeking a better experience than they’ve had elsewhere.
Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. offers month-to-month service agreements to meet your unique needs, with no hidden fees. Our professional virtual receptionists, excellent reputation, and state-of-the-art technology will exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.