Is A Virtual Receptionist Right For My Small Business?
By John O'Haver
As your business gains momentum, administrative tasks increase, and you’ll find you need another pair of hands. A virtual receptionist can manage routine tasks, such as taking calls, handling appointments, basic customer support, and website maintenance.
Most importantly, a virtual receptionist is cost-effective for your growing business. At Go Answer, our professional answering and contact center services help you leverage yourself against big businesses. Read more to find out if a virtual receptionist is right for your small business.
What a Virtual Receptionist Can Do for You
Unlike the name suggests, a virtual receptionist is a real person who handles your calls, appointments, and various administrative tasks remotely. Usually, they work for an external agency that outsources those services and technologies to clients like you.
A successful virtual receptionist arrangement takes a bit of tech magic so that your customers get the sense they are speaking to a member of your team. The receptionist handles all routine business, leaving you free to manage other essential matters. Best of all, a virtual receptionist offers the same level of customer satisfaction as your in-house team.
A Virtual Receptionist Supports Your Business as It Grows
While virtual receptionists typically handle calls and appointments, they can do much more. With the proper training, they can manage a variety of administrative tasks, such as:
- Managing reservations for restaurants and businesses in similar industries
- Sending or receiving emails and text messages
- Handling online chat, website, social media, and order management
Fostering customer relationships is vital for growing businesses. A virtual receptionist could be your catalyst to faster growth and increased profitability.
Virtual Receptionist vs. In-House Receptionist
The traditional solution to an increasing workload is to hire more employees. However, this is not always the right option in today’s fast-moving environment. Some of the benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist instead of an in-house one are:
A full-time receptionist is expensive, and not just in terms of their wages. They require benefits such as health insurance, worker’s comp, sick pay, and vacation pay, as well as office supplies and equipment.
Even if you can afford all that, there may not be a consistent workload to justify hiring a full-time assistant. With a virtual receptionist, you only pay for the work that gets done. Some common payment options include per-minute, monthly subscriptions, and tiered price packages.
While rates will vary depending on the complexity of services offered, it is much less expensive to outsource your answering and support services.
One of the biggest advantages of virtual receptionists is their 24/7 availability. Even on weekends and holidays, you can have a professional manning your phone lines, email, chats, and social media pages. In contrast, an in-house receptionist typically only works the hours your business is open.
The flexibility of a virtual receptionist helps you serve international markets and different time zones and ensures that you never miss a business opportunity.
Skills and Experience
A virtual receptionist can be just as knowledgeable about your brand as anyone on your team. They are also highly trained, experienced, resourceful, and can think on their feet. In addition, they possess the unique skills that come from working in a fast-paced, dynamic, and demanding environment with evolving expectations.
Outsourcing your answering services supports smooth and affordable scaling as your business grows. With incremental billing models, you don’t have to worry about hiring more people as your workload increases.
Some additional benefits that virtual receptionists offer your business are:
- Years of experience and consistent professionalism
- Unique skill sets, such as knowledge of additional languages and database management.
- Flexibility and adaptability to match your business needs
A Virtual Receptionist Is Not Right for Every Business
Despite the flexibility of a virtual receptionist, this service may not be a good fit for some businesses because:
- They are not physically present to handle walk-in customers
- There may be communication barriers between teams
- You have no direct personal supervision of a virtual receptionist
- Personal and brand differences may cause friction for the customers
Five Signs You’re Ready for a Virtual Assistant
Before hiring a virtual receptionist, you should critically evaluate your business needs and weigh all your options.
Founded by a family of entrepreneurs, Go Answer has been in the industry for years and knows what goes into making a business run smoothly. Some factors you should consider before deciding to hire a virtual assistant are:
Your Business Is Growing Faster than Your Team Can Handle
The first signs that you need help are an increased number of unanswered calls, unattended emails, and missed appointments. Considering how busy they are, it’s not surprising that small business owners don’t answer 62% of phone calls.
If you’re not answering calls or emails, you could be missing out on potential business and damaging your reputation. Outsourcing this vital function will prevent your calls from going to voicemail and keep your customer service standards high.
You Are Losing Your Competitive Edge
Continuous improvement is the essence of the modern business world. However, if you are bogged down by mundane administrative tasks, you will quickly lose your creative and innovative edge.
Leave your in-house team free to develop your brand and improve your product offerings by outsourcing your answering, chat, and appointment-handling services to professionals.
You’re Always Working
When you first started your business, you probably gave customers your personal number and were always on the job. Now that your business is more established, it may be time to cut back on your hours. Even if you prefer to handle your clients yourself, an after-hours answering service can improve your work-life balance.
By outsourcing to a professional agency, you will have a dedicated business number and a platform to handle customer calls, emails, chats, and other channels. This sort of efficient task management is appealing to customers and allows you to better compete against the big brands.
Your Costs Are Getting Out of Hand
Reigning in expenses is a challenge for every entrepreneur. Some businesses rely on automated services to save money, but this could result in lost business, as many customers prefer a more personalized experience.
If you are finding it tough to balance operational costs such as wages, benefits, liabilities, and supplies, outsourcing could help you get your finances back on track.
Contact Us About Our Virtual Receptionist Services
Here at Go Answer, we believe in exceptional and seamless customer service. We offer you the tools you need as a small business to compete and grow in a highly competitive environment. Get started with your free 30-day trial today.
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