What is a virtual receptionist? What does a virtual receptionist do? How does a virtual receptionist be different from an answering service or call center? What really makes them “virtual”? And what are the benefits of a virtual receptionist services for your company?
You’ve got questions – we’ve got answers. I can run through each question and give you a dry explanation, but if I tell you what a virtual receptionist does, it’s probably faster (and more fun to read).
A Call with the Virtual Receptionist
Imagine this: You have just called a business. Let’s say it’s your local printer – you need a printed flyer for a last-minute event. As the phone rings, your heart rate increases slightly with anticipation:
How long will this take?
What kind of customer service are you experiencing?
Will the other end be able to help you? Are they going to answer?
Are you talking to someone, or are you going to face something else entirely — one of those automated systems that seem to offer every help option you need?
But then someone answers – a human being.
Over the phone, a virtual receptionist can do a lot of what a traditional receptionist does …
- Answering calls
- Representing your business to callers
- Call transfer
- Scheduling appointments
- Taking messages
- Gathering and relaying information on your behalf
- Outbound calling
- Resolving Basic Customer / Customer Issues
How virtual receptionists differ from other answering services.
Not a virtual receptionist
Call centers are building for size and speed. They are used by businesses that need to handle high volumes of low-complexity calls as quickly as possible at once. Unlike virtual receptionists, who provide personalized customer service experiences, call center agents typically work more or less exclusively than pre-written scripts. Call center teams are much larger than virtual receptionist teams (200 people think vs. 20) and undergo less intensive training.
An interactive voice response system (IVR) or other programmed solution. Again, don’t confuse the word “virtual” – virtual receptionists are alive, breathing humans. They can make more sense than button presses and programmed strings, and they can do more than move a collar or provide rudimentary self-help support. Virtual receptionists adapt their approach to every client and caller, meaning they can handle instant requests on the fly and work around unexpected interruptions.
Benefits of a Virtual Receptionist
Along with giving premium customers space over a personal connection, as well as excellent customer service is a key differentiation, practically any business can benefit from having a virtual receptionist to answer the call. In fact, recent customer service trends suggest that phone calls are more important than ever.
That said, virtual receptionist services are especially beneficial for small and growing businesses. Consider some reasons:
Virtual receptionists can answer calls when you are busy. Your time is valuable. Do not let incoming calls get in the way of productivity of you and your team. A virtual receptionist can engage with prospects, handle customer issues and inquiries, and gather critical information when you’re otherwise busy.
Virtual receptionists can answer calls when you are off. Not every call comes during normal working hours. Take advantage of flexible virtual receptionist services, while trying to make you available to go to voicemail or relinquish your personal time (and piety) rather than allowing for potential sales opportunities.
Virtual receptionists can help your business save money. You do not need to hire a full-time, on-site receptionist to ensure excellent customer service. Virtual receptionists can accomplish the same role at a part of the cost of hiring and training an employee.
Virtual receptionists can increase your customer satisfaction rates. Human connections increase customer loyalty. Report after report takes note of this. For example, Invoke found that 80% of consumers are likely or likely to become repeat customers after a positive phone experience.