What Is A Virtual Receptionist?

In today's corporate era, we are all aware of how businesses across all industries have to embrace the understanding of their motives, purpose, and performance to participate in this challenging marketplace. The first question every company has to face is, "How do we want our business to be perceived in a world where the first impression can either make or break your brand?"

The answer to this question is an integral aspect of the growth of a small business. It only then can establish a strong foothold to get ahead in the competition. You want to be recognized for your quality, approachability, and professionalism as a small business owner and leader in your business segment. In addition to the standards of your company's goods and services, the way you communicate with your consumers is what builds your brand image.

To attain development and success while executing cost-effective strategies in today's technologically advanced world, businesses should be agile, responsive, and capable of satisfying consumer demands. As a small business owner, you already carry the weight of countless responsibilities on your shoulders. You have a checklist of distinct tasks to perform. Running your business and managing customer relations at the same time without overburdening yourself? Everyone has the same 24 hours, and you simply cannot be present everywhere to do all the work. And this is why your next hire should be an innovative virtual receptionist.

Over the past few decades, administrative workers have undergone a continuous evolution. Their responsibilities have been changing to manage the duties assigned to them. The digital revolution, unquestionably, has thoroughly enhanced administrative positions and made many of them virtual.

A virtual receptionist is a highly qualified individual in phone etiquette practices and is a professional in customer service, except they aren't stationed in your facility. Virtual receptionists are available 24/7 and perform all their tasks as per the guidelines issued by the organization. Their responsibilities include:

  • Answer and Make Calls
  • Live Call Transfer
  • Provide Details and Information
  • Schedule Appointments
  • Records Management
  • Take Messages

Brief History of Office Receptionists

How The Role Started And How It Changed Over Time

It's a widely acknowledged fact that the jobs of data handling, records-management, and delivering customer support services have always been onerous since the beginning of time. The industrial revolution gave birth to new models and brought massive transformation for the business and economic world, increasing the demand for administrative workers in American companies. The first role began as a scribe, and in 1888, the invention of typewriters reformed the shape of the business world, as the mechanical device made correspondence quick and easy for clerks and secretaries. As society progressed, women in various clerical positions started to join the office workforce, and industrial growth forced corporations to face a paperwork crisis. The workers adapted to new responsibilities at the workplace while also seeking professional status and equal pay. These actions led to the formation of the 'National Secretaries Association' (now known as the 'International Association of Administrative Professionals'). Today, the job of an office receptionist has secured an eminent position in the business sector.

What The Role Has Become Today

Digitalization technologies have placed brand new expectations on all workers, and major changes have been observed across traditional administrative positions. The effects of today's technical advancement have enhanced the work environment of all employees. It has streamlined laborious tasks due to the emergence of new high-tech tools and software that have improved productivity and made it easy to operate from anywhere.

The role of a receptionist is no longer an individual sitting on the front-desk and sipping coffee all day, with documents laying all over the table as displayed on the TVs. Virtual receptionists have taken over; their professional phone services and management skills have proved to be ideal for many businesses. They have optimized the digital customer experience (CX) by continuously developing techniques to meet the rising customer demands and trends in business dynamics.

Virtual Receptionist VS. Traditional Office Receptionist

Do you want to make sure that all your business calls are answered? And that the first-line service is always available to all of your customers? Many businesses grapple with answering their phone calls after office hours or on the weekends, which results in losing potential clients and builds up a poor business reputation in the market. But not to worry! Your complications will vanish by hiring a versatile virtual receptionist.

Serves Multiple Companies VS. Serves A single Company

If you're an owner of a start-up business and ready to roll out or an already established company, then a reliable virtual receptionist offers you additional services, and they're well-informed about your brand, goals, and customer needs. Virtual receptionists are also well-equipped to work remotely for multiple companies at once, which provides firms with increased stability, adaptability, and customer-centricity by professionals whenever required, on-demand. In-house receptionists follow a rigid schedule and aren't as flexible as VRs, hence why they can serve only one company at a time.

All Incoming Calls are Answered

After virtual receptionists take over your phone lines, you never have to worry about missed calls, and your customer inquiries are always answered. No bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, vacation, or sick leave will trouble the flow of your business as phone lines will always be answered during the standard business hours. With a traditional office receptionist, you're never sure of the employee's regularity, and the calls are accepted only when the receptionist is present at the front desk.

Availability of Phone Coverage After Business Hours

A traditional in-house receptionist generally operates for a limited amount of hours per week. If you require them for more business hours, you'll have to pay them for overtime or let the phone ring while they're unavailable. Outsourcing to a virtual receptionist to handle after-hour calls and high volume calls is the perfect option. A virtual receptionist is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, depending on your day-to-day business needs.

Excellent Customer Service

Choosing the virtual receptionist approach will connect you to a network of committed and qualified customer service representatives that are fully prepared to assist your customers and prospects. Customer expectations have been increasing. The right virtual receptionist who knows your company inside and out will provide customers with a seamless experience, which further boosts your sales and helps you build your brand.

Benefits to Small Businesses

As an owner of a small business, the number one rule is to realize that every call matters. Unfortunately, there are fewer organizations that put customers at the center of the action. Stats reveal that 62% of phone calls to small businesses go answered. When small businesses are overloaded, the workers often struggle with interacting with customers and deliver poor services and products, which affects the firm's reputation. The great news is, a resourceful virtual receptionist can perform the former tasks for you and prove beneficial for your business growth in several ways.

Free Up Employee Time

Having a proficient virtual receptionist on your side to answer calls and handle communication with your customers; you can spend more of your time on what matters the most. Instead of answering phone calls, you can now focus on developing solid marketing strategies and concentrate on expanding your business.

Enhance Customer Relations

Customers want to know that you value their time, and you don't want to disappoint them by putting them on hold. Your virtual receptionist will ensure that all your customer calls are being answered diligently and all queries are resolved on time. 96% of customers state that customer support is a significant factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. A trained virtual receptionist delivers an outstanding customer experience, leaving you with a bunch of satisfied customers.

Cost-Effectiveness And Flexibility

An on-site receptionist for your small business can be very expensive, as most small businesses squeeze every penny. The annual median salary of a full-time in-house receptionist can range from about $25,000 to $40,000. Hiring a dedicated receptionist implies you're going to pay for training and the work equipment. With a virtual receptionist, there are no fixed salaries. VR provides you with high-quality and exceptional services while also bringing serious cost savings to your business.

Clients and Prospects Always Communicate With Real Person

In today's customer-centric business world, your customers prefer to interact with a real person instead of an IVR system or an answering machine. Such service technologies have proved to be futile and frustrating for customers. Connecting with a virtual receptionist gives your customers a personalized experience instead of a robotic chatbox.

Small businesses need to pick a professional that knows their business well enough to create a great brand image and provide your customers with the right answers on time. Instead of wasting your limited capital on costly full-time dedicated employees, hire a virtual receptionist at a fraction of the cost.

Author
Tripti Bhandari