Small businesses can get caught up in employee training and replacement nightmares. If you are a small business that likes to keep your staffing small or are in a start-up situation, sometimes hiring a full-time employee to handle receptionist type duties does not make economical sense. Training, benefits, and co-pay expenses tend to make them inefficient and sometimes expensive. An alternative is to hire a virtual receptionist. Virtual receptionists act in the same manner as an employed receptionist, yet are usually paid per minute, per call or per response activity. These professionals are able to handle many clients, charge reasonable rates, and a small business only has to pay for actual services rendered.
For business professionals that are constantly on the go and want multiple communication channel options, a virtual receptionist is the answer. Virtual receptionists are no longer a simple answering service but can provide many services to enhance productivity, generate leads and provide customer relationship management for small businesses.
It is estimated that over 75% of unanswered phone calls do not leave a message; having a live representative answer every phone call would increase revenue. Of course, traditional telephone answering services are included and generally include off-hours answering as well. Most great virtual receptionists will also work with the business owner to develop a knowledge-base, including custom telephone scripts and FAQ information sheets to provide seamless and correct information to clients. A virtual receptionist can act exactly like an in-house receptionist including appointment setting, message retrieval and delivery, and reporting on-call volumes and delivery to ensure quality interactions. Yet, in the world today online communication is just as important. Great virtual services also include answering communications from every channel of your business, including email, social media feeds, and even providing live chat services for your website. By ensuring your potential customers receive the information they need when they need it, your customer service reputation will be enhanced and revenue will be increased through better conversion rates.
Benefits of Going Virtual
One of the biggest reasons most small businesses hire a virtual receptionist is to save money. With salaries for receptionists averaging over $20,000 a year, not including sick pay, holiday pay, and benefits, the real total can be closer to $30,000 a year. A virtual receptionist which handles multiple companies has efficiencies in place to provide affordable pricing which can probably save your small business at least half of that salary. The second largest reason for hiring a virtual receptionist is to avoid lengthy training times or hiring mishaps. When you hire a service provider there is generally a quality guarantee ensuring your satisfaction. Even if you have to switch providers there is less lag time for training, as a virtual receptionist will be a professional in the duties required by your company’s products or services. Being able to respond to clients anytime of the day provides enhanced customer service. These virtual services can also be scheduled for certain times of the day, hours, or periods that you designate. Customer service quality is also enhanced as surveys show customers dislike dealing with menus or automated systems. There can also be office savings by having receptionist duties provided digitally without the equipment and office supply costs.
The next time you are overloaded in work and require an assistant that knows your needs, can meet your scheduling, and can achieve it affordably, consider hiring a virtual assistant.