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Virtual Receptionist Vs. Full-Time Receptionist: Which Is Best?

In your business’s early days, it’s easy to focus on just keeping up with the work while juggling multiple tasks. 

But as your business continues to grow and evolve, you realise that managing important business operations while also handling phone calls is becoming overwhelming. 

You do not want to let non-core business activities such as customer service affect your business’s growth and performance.  

So you decide to hire a receptionist to assist you and take some of the work off your shoulders. 

As you do your research, you find out that you have two options when hiring a receptionist.

You could opt for a full-time employee, and bear all the expenses associated with it, or you could consider utilising the services of a virtual receptionist. 

If you feel uncertain about which option to choose, this article might help. 

Read on as we compare both options to help you make the choice that will work best for you and your business. 

Table of contents:

  1. Virtual receptionist vs. full-time receptionist: 3 factors to consider 
  2. Deciding between an in-house and a virtual receptionist  

1. Virtual Receptionist vs. Full-Time Receptionist: 3 Factors to Consider

Virtual Receptionist Working

A professional receptionist can benefit any business, in any industry. 

It can ease the burden of picking up the phone and answering every incoming call, freeing you up to focus on more important activities that drive profits. 

Traditionally, these duties would be carried out by a full-time employee who would respond to phone calls and greet visitors.  

But with so many businesses now operating remotely, it’s no surprise that some have opted to replace their traditional receptionists with virtual ones. 

In fact, virtual receptionist and telephone answering services are on the rise, with more businesses than ever before embracing this option. 

If you’re faced with the decision of whether to hire an in-house receptionist or a virtual receptionist for your small business, here’s a quick rundown of the key differences to consider:

1. Costs

Full-time receptionist: In Australia, the average annual salary of a receptionist ranges from $43,000 to $70,000, not including bonuses, benefits, insurance, and other expenses that can add up quickly. What’s more, getting a full-time receptionist means you’ll need to pay for hiring, training, onboarding, office space, equipment, and supplies. 

Virtual receptionist: With a virtual receptionist, the only expense you’ll have to incur is your monthly plan rate with no hidden fees or additional costs for training or onboarding them. You don’t even need to pay taxes or health insurance. This can save you up to 90% of the cost of a full-time receptionist. For example, at B2B HQ, our virtual receptionist plans start from as low as $29 per month. Plus, you only pay for the time that they work.     

2. Availability

Full-time receptionist: Even the most skilled and hard-working receptionist can only be available 40 hours per week. However, most of your clients could be at work during the standard 9-to-5 business hours and need to wait until they get home to contact you. This means that any customer calling outside of regular business hours or during weekends won’t be able to talk to anyone. This could be a big problem, especially if they have an urgent issue to fix. 

Virtual receptionist: With a virtual receptionist, you are able to provide round-the-clock customer support. Virtual receptionists have the ability to manage your calls outside of regular business hours, including weekends and holidays, and guarantee prompt message delivery. They can also forward urgent calls to you for immediate attention if that’s what you’d prefer.

Small Business Virtual Receptionist

3. Absence and Rest Breaks  

Full-time receptionist: In Australia, full-time employees are entitled to 2 paid rest breaks lasting 10 minutes each and one unpaid meal break lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. With an in-house receptionist, these breaks can mean missed calls during that time. Additionally, you’ll need to provide sick leave, vacation time, and personal days, which can add up to significant hours of paid time off without answering calls. Additionally, finding coverage for these absences can be a challenge.

Virtual receptionist: As we mentioned before, virtual receptionist services are available 24/7/356, ensuring that your calls are always answered. They usually offer a larger team of receptionists, meaning that multiple agents are available for customer support at all times. This means you don’t have to worry about missed opportunities, and there’s no need to find coverage for absences or breaks.

2. Deciding Between an In-House and a Virtual Receptionist  

Team of Virtual Receptionists

As a small business owner, it is highly likely to be pulled in multiple directions and feel pressure on your shoulders. 

Wearing too many hats all at the same time can wear you down. 

As we mentioned before, a receptionist can take a lot of pressure off your shoulders and free up your schedule so you can better run your business. 

But should you opt for a full-time receptionist or a virtual receptionist?

If you’re already operating on a tight budget, a virtual receptionist will save your business a lot of money in the long run by reducing the costs associated with hiring an in-house employee. 

Additionally, a virtual receptionist might be the best option if you’re running your business without a traditional brick-and-mortar office.  

This will allow you to professionally manage your phone calls without hiring a full-time employee or paying for expensive office space. 

Don’t get us wrong – we are not saying that full-time receptionists and virtual receptionists are enemies. 

In many cases, they can work together in harmony.

For example, if you have the budget to afford a full-time receptionist, you can also benefit from hiring a virtual receptionist to assist with after-hours calls or cover for your in-house receptionist during breaks or absences. 

There’s no denying that in-house receptionists have their own advantages, such as performing physical tasks around the office (e.g., getting coffee, sorting mail, etc.).

But, as we mentioned before, a virtual receptionist may be the perfect alternative if you’re striving to grow your business on a tight budget.   

With cost savings, around-the-clock coverage, and a straightforward onboarding process, a virtual receptionist can quickly become a valuable and indispensable asset to your business.

The Bottom Line

Providing Virtual Receptionist Services

As your small business is growing, having a trusted receptionist is key to customer service success. 

However, hiring a full-time receptionist can be costly and time-consuming. Not to mention that traditional receptionists are only available 40 hours per week. 

At B2B HQ, we are committed to supporting your business growth and ensuring you deliver impeccable customer service without the high costs associated with hiring an in-house employee. 

We do not require any setup fees, so the whole onboarding process will be quick and easy while saving you lots of money. 

Are you interested in having someone who can professionally answer client calls 24/7/365 for a low monthly fee? Get started today with a virtual receptionist or contact us for more information. 

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