Running a business in today’s consumer-driven economy takes extra time, attention and dedication in many ways. Customers expect quick answers and excellent customer service around the clock and at every interaction with a business, including on phone calls. For this reason, more businesses are turning to virtual receptionists to handle their calls and other routine tasks.
Virtual receptionists have grown increasingly popular because they can answer calls around the clock while costing substantially less than hiring an in-house receptionist to do the same job. Businesses don’t have to provide office equipment, paid training, benefits, or deal with sick days or time off for vacation.
However, the catch is knowing how and where to hire a top-notch remote receptionist. The definition of virtual receptionist can be broadly defined, ranging from an overseas operator, to an assistant working from home, to receptionists working at established call centers or answering services.
Here’s what you need to know to narrow down the options so that you can hire the right virtual receptionist for your business.
Understand What They Do
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, on an as-needed basis, after hours, or 24/7 around the clock.
- Providing customer service support by handling FAQs and acting as an extension of your business.
- Scheduling appointments.
- Taking reservations for seminars, workshops, or events.
- Taking and 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.
Find Out Where & How They Work
Knowing where a virtual receptionist will be working from and how that will affect their productivity is key. Most anyone who’s worked with virtual receptionists has a horror story to tell. What will your customers hear when the virtual receptionist answers the call? If a virtual receptionist works from home they may hear dogs barking or people talking in the background.
Also, if they work from home they likely don’t have the technology to answer multiple calls or backup systems in case of a power outage. If the receptionist is overseas, different time zones and languages can often become barriers to productive communications.
What Systems Do They Have In Place?
Your virtual receptionist often creates the first impression for your business, and so must convey the most professional image to your customers. This includes having the technology to answer and record multiple calls, securely and with backup data. They must be able to securely convey messages, and be trained for any requirements relating to your business. For example, virtual receptionists must be trained to be HIPAA-compliant if your business is in the healthcare industry, with securely encrypted technology to protect patient health information.
You also need to know what their backup plan is if they aren’t able to answer the phone. Do callers go to voicemail, or are they put on hold for long periods of time? This is the advantage of working with virtual receptionists at live answering services. With a team of virtual receptionists on your side, calls will not be missed just because one receptionist is on another call or away from the desk.
Virtual receptionists at a live answering service are also trained to provide prompt, professional customer care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s like having your own round-the-clock team, at a fraction of the cost of hiring one full-time receptionist.
The virtual receptionists at Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. have earned an 82% referral rate, thanks to our customized communication solutions, secure messaging, and appointment scheduling services that save our clients time and money while increasing customer loyalty.
Voice Link offers month-to-month service agreements to meet your unique needs, with no hidden fees. Our excellent reputation, expert staff, and state-of-the-art technology will exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.