Receptionists play an essential role in every business.
A good receptionist delivers excellent customer service.
Customer service is a vital element of your business operations as it can impact your bottom line and the way your customers interact (and perceive) your business.
Providing excellent customer service means increasing revenue, building a positive reputation and brand awareness, retaining clients, strengthening company culture, and more.
In this post, you will learn more about virtual receptionists and the tasks they perform.
I will also give you expert tips on identifying the unmistakable signs that you need a good virtual receptionist service for your growing business.
Table of contents:
- Virtual receptionist: Definition & role within a business
- 10 signs your business needs a virtual receptionist
1. Virtual Receptionist: Definition & Role Within A Business
Before going into details, I want to debunk a myth.
A virtual receptionist is not a robot saying pre-recorded messages or an automated answering service (also known as Interactive Voice Response or IVR).
Most customers want to interact with humans and not with robots.
Do you know that pre-recorded, automated voice that presents you multiple options when you contact a business and must patiently listen through (and most of the time makes you lose your temper and abandon the call)?. That’s an IVR.
A virtual receptionist is not an automated voice or piece of software. A more suitable term might be “remote receptionist”.
A virtual receptionist is a real agent that handles phone calls on behalf of a company. They are customer service experts that perform the same tasks as a traditional in-house receptionist.
The only difference is that they work remotely for an outsourcing provider.
A virtual receptionist is an efficient call answering service that can bring several benefits to a small business.
Before taking a closer look at the benefits that a virtual receptionist can bring to your company, let’s see what are their responsibilities within a business:
- Answering phone calls: Virtual receptionists are trained to pick up the phone, greet your clients, and answer questions concerning your business.
- Scheduling appointments: You can also use your virtual receptionist to schedule, reschedule, or cancel appointments.
- Taking messages: If you’re not available for a customer, your receptionist can take down the caller’s information and forward it to you.
- Forwarding calls: Your receptionist can forward a caller to you if you are available to take the call. Alternatively, you can redirect a call to your receptionist.
- Performing basic administrative tasks: Please note that a virtual receptionist is not the same as a virtual assistant (you can read more about the role of a virtual assistant here). However, your receptionist can perform simple administrative tasks, such as processing orders for e-commerce businesses, managing your mailbox, or collecting lead information.
Now, let’s see the top benefits of a virtual receptionist:
- Save your business money: A traditional in-house receptionist is expensive as you need to cover recruiting and training costs, payroll taxes, etc. When you get a virtual receptionist, the call answering service provider covers these expenses.
- More availability: While a traditional receptionist is available during business hours, a team of virtual receptionists can provide your company with 24/7 coverage.
- Save your time: Virtual receptionists help you and your team free up time and focus on more significant business operations.
- Enhance your business reputation: Excellent customer service makes your business appear more professional and polished.
- It’s stress-free: Unlike a traditional in-house receptionist, you don’t need to find or train a virtual receptionist. Furthermore, the outsourcing company that provides them can find a replacement if they take time off work.
- Improving customer satisfaction rates: Virtual receptionists deliver a personalised customer service experience to keep your customers happy (and retain them).
- Improve your bottom line: Cutting costs (by not having to pay for recruiting and training a traditional receptionist or overhead costs associated with a person in a physical office space) will improve your bottom line.
To sum up, when you run a small company, and your phone is constantly ringing with business inquiries, a virtual receptionist can help you efficiently manage calls.
You may say: “That’s great, but how can I know when it’s time to get a virtual receptionist and stop handling phone calls myself?”
That’s a smart question.
You do not need a virtual receptionist from the get-go. If you just started running your start-up and your phone rings twice a day, getting a receptionist would serve no purpose.
For this reason, I have created a list of clear signs that show it’s time to take your business to the next level and hire a virtual receptionist.
2. 10 Signs Your Business Needs A Virtual Receptionist
- Your business is growing
As your business grows and you start having more customers, delivering a personalised customer service experience and 24/7 coverage is an absolute must. When your phone rings dozens of times a day, it means you are getting new customers and increasing sales. If you start feeling stretched and stressed due to the increased number of phone calls, it’s time to get professional help.
- Business phone calls are holding your hostage
If you can never find the time to focus on more relevant business operations because you need to be available to answer phone calls, it’s time to call in reinforcements. It’s hard to make your business grow when you’re always busy with menial day-to-day tasks that drain your energy, such as answering calls and scheduling appointments.
- You have a limited budget
As a small business owner, you may need to operate on a limited budget to reduce costs and increase the efficiency and productivity of your business. An outsourcing company providing virtual receptionists allows you to control your costs and release capital for investment in other business functions. Otherwise, you may need to pay the expenses associated with an in-house employee, such as recruiting and training costs, salary, payroll taxes, incentives, benefits, paid leave, etc.
- You’re struggling to find talent
Finding the right person for the right job at the right time can be a painful task. Hiring a traditional receptionist means finding a highly skilled person able to deliver excellent customer service support. This person also needs to live within commuting distance from your office. When you’re struggling to find a suitable candidate to interact with your customers, a call answering service provider can take this task off your plate.
- You are running your company online
Many small business owners are running their companies remotely without paying high overhead costs. Most of them use a cost-effective virtual office to run their online companies while building a professional and reliable business image. When you’re working from your home office, calls can easily fall by the wayside, especially when you’re trying to do everything yourself. With a virtual receptionist, you won’t miss any business opportunity.
- People are reaching out for FAQs
Depending on your industry and business type, you may need to answer many basic calls. You can receive dozens of calls a day from people asking what your business working hours are and where they can find you. Repeating over and over again the same answer is nagging and stressful. A virtual receptionist is the best choice when you have a high volume of short phone calls regarding FAQs.
- You get regular after-hour calls and appointment requests
If you or your in-house team are handling phone calls, you won’t be able to pick up the phone outside of business hours (unless you’re okay with being bombarded by phone calls on Saturday evenings). If you can’t remember when the last time you had a good night sleep (or you’re missing sales due to your business working hours), it would help to leave this task to a professional virtual receptionist team that can provide a 24/7/365 service.
- Your business is coming off as unprofessional
If you’re constantly missing business calls or answering them while driving, stuck in traffic, or working from home, your business may appear small and unprofessional. Your clients should not hear background sounds and voices (e.g., children, pets, doorbells, car horns, sirens, etc.). Virtual receptionists are working with cutting edge technologies designed to reduce background noise during a call. To learn more about your business reputation and how to protect it, you can also read this post.
- Leads are not converting into sales
Let’s assume that you and your in-house team manage to handle phone calls (even though sometimes you feel overwhelmed). However, you may not convert leads into sales as much as you should. Turning marketing leads into paying customers is a tricky process. It would be best if you had enough time to apply lead nurturing tactics and focus on customer communication and follow up. With a dedicated receptionist, you are more likely to close sales.
- You have multilingual customers
Finding a suitable bilingual or multilingual receptionist is a time-consuming and challenging task if you have multilingual customers. Most call answering service providers offer bilingual or multilingual receptionists to help you overcome the customer language barriers and avoid losing business opportunities.
If you don’t get a virtual receptionist when it’s time to move your company forward, many missed opportunities can pile up.
There is a wide range of reasons you might want to hire a virtual receptionist for your business.
Using professional phone answering services can help you save money and improve the customer service experience you deliver while freeing up you and your staff for more pressing tasks.
If you think that a virtual receptionist can take your business to the next level, do not hesitate to contact B2B HQ’s team. We would be happy to help you improve the success of your small business.
B2B HQ can either provide you with a professional receptionist as a separate service or include it in a premium virtual office package to ensure the smooth run of your business. We would be more than glad to have you in our community!