Picture this. You own or operate a small business. From hiring and training employees to coming up with budgets and sales forecasts, management, planning, and strategizing, there are a ton of things to do.
You probably have a few employees, but you can’t afford to hire more for now.
And then there are your customers. They keep calling for different issues, from shipping to billing and other inquiries. Answering these calls is taking up too much of the time that you need to spend on crucial business functions.
That’s when you realize you need a receptionist. Someone to answer and manage client calls, schedule appointments, arrange meetings, etc.
But you can’t afford to hire one on a full-time basis to sit at your front desk. What do you do?
You hire a virtual receptionist, of course.
Why virtual and not the good ol’ traditional one that sits at your front desk and smiles at your visitors? Let’s talk about that.
The Traditional Receptionist
A traditional receptionist sits at your reception desk and works a set number of hours daily. They are part of your staff and are paid a monthly salary plus allowances, pension, and other benefits.
This is the first person your visitors see as they enter the building. The first impression they offer visitors can have a huge impact on your business. Even though their skills are the main consideration, they can be the difference between a happy workplace and one that scares away your visitors.
Some of the duties of a traditional receptionist include;
- Answering phones, taking messages, and forwarding calls
- Greeting visitors and directing them to a specific department
- Scheduling appointments
- Maintaining records and documents
- Entering customer details into the company’s database
- Scanning, faxing, filing, and mailing documents
- Collecting, sorting, and distributing mail and deliveries
- Other administrative tasks such as transcription, proofreading, and typing
Depending on your business, most if not all of these tasks are integral to the efficient functioning of your business. That said, it is challenging to keep up with today’s workplace with a traditional receptionist.
Technology has continued to advance, and more people are now buying online, thus reducing the number of walk-ins. Additionally, with the growth of global trade, you may also need to cater to international clients.
In addition to this, the cost required to maintain a traditional receptionist in your office, has led many businesses to search for an alternative.
Enter a virtual receptionist.
The Virtual Receptionist: A Modern Alternative
A virtual receptionist is similar to a traditional receptionist, with the main difference being their location. Unlike their traditional counterparts, virtual receptionists work remotely. This gives your business flexibility and access to highly-trained customer service professionals when needed.
For your business to thrive and experience growth, you need to be available, flexible, and meet customer expectations while being cost-effective. A virtual receptionist allows you to do all this and more. Here are some benefits of a virtual receptionist.
Related: How a Live Receptionist Can Help You Have a More Relaxing Summer Vacation
Benefits of a Virtual Receptionist
So what are the benefits of a virtual receptionist? How can someone not physically present help you keep the administrative tasks if your business moving along efficiently and effectively? Here are a few ways:
A Virtual Receptionist Improves Customer Service
With so much business happening online these days, it’s important to have a receptionist that is versatile and can offer high quality customer service beyond the front door. According to research, 96% of your customers will stop buying from you due to poor customer service. And no, it’s not just about rude agents but also other issues such as:
- Inability to reach a live person for customer support
- Having to repeat or provide information multiple times
- A representative without the ability or knowledge to solve their issue
- Unanswered calls or calls going to voicemail
With a virtual receptionist, you get dedicated, trained, professional customer service agents ready to solve your customers’ issues and provide them with the support they need.
Choose a receptionist that’s well versed in your business, and you can rest assured your customers and prospects are getting professional services. You’ll improve customer service and increase sales. Ultimately, happy customers buy more.
A Virtual Receptionist Saves on Costs
Hiring an on-premise receptionist can be expensive for a small business or startup. Depending on your location, the average salary for a receptionist is $32,410.
In cities and industries where receptionists require specialized skills such as technical services, their salary can be six figures. You pay them that amount whether there is less workload or not.
However, for just a fraction of that expense, you can hire the services of a virtual receptionist. They will provide you with the same expertise and support—and sometimes better services—only when you need it. That includes weekends, holidays, and off-hours.
The average hourly rate for a virtual receptionist is between $11 and $17, and you only pay for the hours they work. If you need help with customer support, virtual receptionists can save you serious expense.
A Virtual Receptionist Allows You to Focus on Key Business Functions
When managing a small business, getting lost in recurring maintenance tasks such as invoicing and answering calls is easy but undesirable.
Customer support is essential in a business, of course, but as a business owner you have pressing business functions to focus on, like coming up with business strategies, operations, marketing, and other vital tasks that make your business work.
You need to outsource the maintenance tasks so you can focus on the more important ones. Hiring a live receptionist will free up your schedule, and your customers can still get quality service.
By outsourcing your calls and chats, you can reclaim precious time and work on growing your business.
A Virtual Receptionist Offers Customer Service 24/7
Serving international clients from different time zones? No need to worry about availability. Your virtual receptionist will be there to answer your calls.
An on-site receptionist can only provide support during their work hours. That means calls that come in when they’re not working will go unanswered and probably to voicemail. You risk losing valuable clients to your competitors if they can’t reach you.
Whether it’s during the holidays, weekends, at night, or off-hours, you can rest assured your customers are getting the support they need through your virtual receptionist.
A Virtual Receptionist Provides Consistent Experience Across Channels
You probably have several channels to connect with your customers and prospects, like a website, social media pages, and other modes of communication.
With the versatile customer experience that virtual receptionists can offer, you don’t have to limit it to one channel—calls. Virtual receptionist service providers usually offer both calls and chat support.
Customers who prefer to contact you through direct message on your pages will get the same quality professional support as those who call.
However your prospects and returning customers choose to reach you, they’ll get the same personalized service and a uniform solution.
And your reviews? They’ll most likely be full of praise. 89% of consumers read reviews before buying, and 79% trust those reviews as much as personal recommendations. A good virtual receptionist will provide versatile, effective, and reassuring customer service that will keep your customers coming back.
Related: How a Live Receptionist Service Pays for Itself
Bilingual Virtual Receptionists Help You Cater to International Clients
Global trade poses language challenges. To serve your international clients, you’ll need to speak the language they prefer and understand best.
Your in-house receptionist might be fluent in English, but what about other major languages? Bilingual virtual receptionists can help mitigate the challenge and connect with your customers.
Some can even offer live translation services. Don’t lose valuable customers just because you can’t speak their language. A virtual receptionist can help reach them.
Embrace Flexibility. Hire a Virtual Receptionist.
Your clients may not see your virtual receptionist, but they will feel the tailored professional service your remote agent will offer. Finding a virtual assistant who understands your business needs and your audience can be a daunting task. But you don’t have to do it alone.
How about a partner who’ll provide you with the precise virtual receptionist services you’ve been looking for? Phone.com has a highly-qualified team of agents selected for their professionalism and trained to deliver the highest level of customer service.
Whether you’re in real estate, legal, medical, or any other industry, we’ll take your calls when you can’t and add a personal, professional touch to your business. No setup fee, no contract, and you can cancel anytime. Just fill out a quick form or call us at 844.746.6312 to get started.