What Is a Virtual Receptionist, and Why Do You Need One?

When customers contact your business, are you providing the service they expect? According to TCN, nearly 70% of consumers prefer to speak with a live representative when they call your organization. Most prefer to talk to a live person on the phone over email or live chat. You could lose opportunities if you miss callers during business hours and send all calls to voicemail or an automated service after hours.

A virtual receptionist service allows businesses to give every caller the live representative they expect at an affordable price. It is the modern solution for answering phone calls, allowing you to easily integrate the service and deliver an excellent customer service experience.

Read on to explore virtual receptionist services, how they change how your clients see your business, their benefits, and their advantages over other solutions. You will also learn to find the right live representative service for your business.

What Is a Virtual Receptionist?

A virtual receptionist is a service that helps your business answer every call without using valuable internal resources. Typically, your company will have access to an entire call center of live representatives to answer calls from potential clients and business partners. Virtual receptionists are well-trained and experienced to ensure your callers get the treatment they expect and relay messages to the correct party.

Setting up a virtual receptionist with a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service is simple. Calls are automatically routed to the virtual receptionist service and can be transferred to a phone within your business without any costly on-site infrastructure. Often, your live receptionist will be ready within 48 hours of your intake interview.

From the intake interview, your virtual receptionist will have the greeting of your choice to answer the phone and instructions to ensure your callers receive a tailored and personal response. They can answer frequently asked questions and respond with different prompts to ensure a consistently exceptional calling experience.

Can a Live Representative Change the Way Clients See Your Business?

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you know that customer service is essential to forming and maintaining client relationships. Often, providing excellent customer service means answering every phone call, but critical employees can only spend a certain amount of time on the phone without sacrificing productivity. You and your employees have more profitable aspects of the business to focus on.

A virtual receptionist is ideal for businesses offering exceptional customer service without sacrificing critical internal resources. Your business will stand out when callers reach a live human rather than a recording. According to a study in Forbes, 5 in 10 callers will hire the first company that responds to their request, so if your callers are reaching a voicemail inbox or automated response, they are less likely to do business with you.

Related: Auto Attendant Phone System vs. a Virtual Receptionist

A live representative ensures callers get their expected attention and provides an excellent first impression. Your virtual receptionist can answer frequently asked questions like your store or business hours and even schedule appointments. The service also operates well beyond the standard 9 to 5-weekday workweek, providing service well into the evening and on Saturdays. This availability ensures customers receive a warm welcome when they call after hours.

What Can a Virtual Receptionist Do for Your Business?

A live receptionist service can change how callers perceive your business with a professional and friendly greeting. What else can they provide your business? Virtual receptionist services offer the following:

  • Personalized answering. One of the most supportive things a live representative can do for your business is answering the phone with a personal response that gives callers confidence in your company and makes them feel appreciated. While automated systems are quickly becoming more useable, nothing can beat hearing a live person when you call a business.
  • Message taking. Virtual receptionists can take messages when you or another employee cannot respond to the caller right away. A live representative makes callers more sure that their message will reach the right person and can ensure that the details you need to respond to the caller are present.
  • Appointment setting. Virtual receptionists can set appointments for you when a caller requests your service and can make adjustments if a caller needs to cancel or postpone their meeting. You’ll receive notice of the appointment in your Google or Outlook calendar.
  • Frequently asked questions. During your intake survey, you can provide guidelines for the virtual receptionists to follow. They can answer frequently asked questions for your customers, such as operating hours and branch locations.
  • Call transferring. When virtual receptionists receive a call that needs an immediate response, they can transfer the call to your business phone or the correct employee.

What Are the Benefits of a Live Receptionist?

Now that you understand how a virtual receptionist can help your business, we will explore some benefits to you and your callers when you work with a reputable live receptionist service. You’ll get the following advantages:

  • Reduce cost and time spent answering the phone. You can free up your time and resources spent answering the phone with an affordable virtual receptionist service.
  • Improve customer experience and impression. Callers will be answered by a professional receptionist, giving them a better first impression of your business and more confidence that their call will receive the appropriate attention.
  • Focus on profitable aspects of the business. With your callers being taken care of, you and your team can focus on the business without worrying about your callers getting the service they expect.

Why Choose a Virtual Receptionist Over the Alternatives?

Virtual receptionists can provide many advantages to your business, but you have several choices when answering the phone. How do live receptionist services compare to alternatives like in-house representatives and interactive voice response (IVR) systems?

Hiring an On-site Receptionist

Finding the right employee can be challenging for a small business owner or entrepreneur. The initial investment in hiring a receptionist can be significant, and they may not be the right fit for the position. Your receptionist will also require training and equipment to accomplish their daily tasks. While an on-site receptionist will provide the tailored and human service callers expect, the cost can be exponentially higher than a virtual receptionist service.

An on-site receptionist will only be able to answer your phone during business hours and will require breaks, paid time off, and other benefits that can be costly and take their attention away from callers. Virtual receptionists provide greater availability at a lower cost.

Implementing an Automated System

There are various ways to automate your answering services, from voicemail to more sophisticated auto-attendant and IVR systems. While they can be reasonably priced and offer 24/7 availability, they can frustrate callers and make them feel ignored. A virtual receptionist provides a live human response that callers appreciate at an affordable price.

How Can You Make Sure Your Live Receptionist Partner Is Right for Your Needs?

When callers reach your virtual receptionist service, it could be their first impression of your business. You can ensure your live receptionist service will meet your needs and delight your customers with excellent service by considering if your partner offers the following.

Flexible Pricing

Virtual receptionist services offer various pricing plans to suit businesses of every size and type. When selecting a live receptionist partner, consider if their pricing plan provides the flexibility, scalability, and affordability your organization needs. Providers typically offer flat-rate or tiered plans. With a tiered service plan, you pay for the minutes you expect to use, offering the most flexibility and affordability for small businesses and entrepreneurs that may not require unlimited service. Choosing a flat-rate unlimited plan can often provide a less favorable return.

Related: 3 Things to Consider When Picking a Virtual Phone Answering Service

When you partner with the right virtual representative services, you can trust a single provider for your live receptionist and VoIP service. It can reduce your billing to a single, affordable package.

Professional Business Phone Operations

Since your virtual representative may be the first person your callers talk to, it is crucial to determine if your partner offers the professionalism you expect. A reputable live representative provider with operations in the United States will ensure your calls are answered with quality-controlled, professional service. You will have an entire call center to scale your representative services on demand. Your callers won’t be sent to voicemail because your receptionist was out to lunch or called in sick.

The ideal virtual receptionist service will answer during your regular office hours, after hours, and on Saturdays to ensure every caller can talk to a live person when they reach out to your business. A professional operation will also ensure that callers hear your greeting when they reach a live representative. Your receptionist will follow a script to ensure each caller receives a consistent experience and is provided with the correct information.

Business Enhancing Features

Your virtual receptionist can enhance the services your business offers to callers. They can transcribe messages and forward them to the right employee via text or email or send you a voice message when you are out of the office. 

The ideal live receptionist service can set appointments in your calendar application, such as Google or Outlook Calendar, and provides assistance in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for organizations that handle health information.

Provide an Outstanding Customer Experience With a Live Receptionist

Answering every call consistently and professionally is essential to excellent customer support and building a good reputation for your business. Live representative service is an affordable, flexible, and simple solution to ensure every caller has an excellent experience, and you have an opportunity to earn their business.

Live receptionist service from Phone.com ensures every caller receives the attention they deserve. You can choose from one of our flexible and scalable pricing options to implement virtual receptionist service into your existing or new VoIP service and begin delivering better customer service within 48 hours of your intake survey. 

Phone.com also offers business calling technology to craft a personalized experience for your callers and your organization, with HIPAA-compliant service for protected health information and numerous ways to ensure a fast customer response. Sign up today to offer your callers outstanding customer service and grow your business.


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