Virtual ReceptionistGive your online visitors an excellent service with a Virtual Receptionist.
What is a Virtual Receptionist?
Almost everyone is familiar with the idea of a front desk receptionist. A virtual receptionist, also known as a live receptionist, handles much the same kind of work, except instead of working from a physical office, they work from a remote location, like a call center, virtual office, or in their own homes.
Live virtual receptionists can answer your calls and help provide valuable customer support, and they can do this even outside your business hours. They are a type of virtual assistant that can add significant value to small businesses, as they can give your potential customers a more positive, professional first impression.
Why Do Business Owners Need a Virtual Receptionist?
Hiring a virtual receptionist service can be an excellent boost to the growth of a business. Virtual live receptionists can either replace or supplement a physical receptionist in a very cost-effective manner.
Virtual receptionists can take incoming calls, whether they are customer calls or calls from business partners. When your business gets inbound calls, your virtual receptionist can either handle basic inquiries or take care of scheduling appointments with you or with another appropriate member of the team. They can also take care of passing on the caller to the appropriate department if any of them are available.
Hiring virtual receptionists to work during your off-peak business hours can give callers the feel of having a 24-hour service available to them, even without burning your budget on more expensive customer service specialists.
You can also hire a virtual receptionist to supplement your existing physical receptionist. This way, even if you have an enormous call volume, each call can be answered within a reasonable amount of time. With a virtual receptionist, call handling can become much more manageable.
All in all, hiring a virtual receptionist for a small business can give you the edge you need in making your customers and partners feel cared for and at a reasonable cost.
What Tasks Can a Virtual Receptionist Do?
- Live answering service
Virtual receptionists are real people who can answer your inbound calls. This means that your callers will have someone they can talk to live, so the response will be faster than an automated answering service. They are also more versatile than automated answering services. They can change tones or greetings depending on the type of caller and do many more tasks that cannot be done by automated answering services or interactive voice response services.
- Message taking
Virtual receptionists can take down any important messages for you or your team and forward it to you once you are available. While this may not resolve a caller’s need instantly, having a real person to talk to and take down their concerns can go a long way to making a customer or business partner feel cared for and heard.
- Call patching or transfer
When your virtual receptionist is on duty during business hours, they can directly patch inbound calls to the appropriate people. This can decrease customer frustrations about having to take down different phone numbers and “resetting” their call. This helps make them feel like you have a good, seamless customer service experience.
- Scheduling appointments
A virtual receptionist can help keep your schedule organized. As part of answering phones and dealing with inquiries, they can filter what appointments should go on whose calendar. Due to this simple but concrete action, customers or business partners feel immediately taken care of after each call.
- Answering simple inquiries
Whenever customers, partners, or clients call, virtual receptionists can refer to a particular set of FAQs or common knowledge and answer quick questions about your business or product. This can improve relationships due to fast turnaround time while at the same time decreasing the load on other departments.
- Track and improve response time
Virtual receptionists can help you track call response time to help you make sure your callers never wait too long on the phone. With your virtual receptionist’s help, you can continue to improve your call response time from month to month until you have one you’re happy with.
What Skills and Characteristics Does a Virtual Receptionist Need?
- Friendly and approachable
Your virtual receptionist might be the first person your caller will talk to in your company. They have to retain your callers’ attention and positive feelings so that you can continue to have a good relationship with these callers.
- Good communication skills
Your virtual receptionist represents you. Their attitude, coherence, and general ability to communicate effectively reflect your company’s ability in your callers’ eyes. Hiring a virtual receptionist with good communication skills is a must to keep up an excellent reputation.
- Organized and meticulous
Since your virtual receptionist will have access to your calendar, they need to be careful not to overlap appointments and make sure they set meetings with the right people. Virtual receptionists need to be able to keep a lot of small details in their heads, in order to do their jobs effectively.
- Familiarity with VoIP
Since virtual receptionists work remotely, they need to use VoIP programs to answer phone calls. Therefore, it is extremely important that they are comfortable with such programs, so they don’t fumble and present a disorganized front.
- Willingness to learn
Virtual receptionists have to know the fundamentals of your company, so they can answer simple inquiries and present a competent front to all your callers. This is why they should not just be alright with learning about the company, they should want to learn more.
- Relatively fast typing speed
Virtual receptionists take down notes, messages, and appointments all the time. It would be in bad form to ask callers to repeat themselves too much, so it’s important that the virtual receptionist you hire can keep up with their typing.
How Do I Hire a Virtual Receptionist?
Hiring a virtual receptionist allows you to select from a very wide pool of talent, but sometimes diving into this pool can be overwhelming and time consuming. If you find yourself at a loss on how to hire a good virtual receptionist, it’s a good idea to engage the services of a virtual assistant company like 20four7VA to help you. Companies like this, with good reviews online and a long history of operation, can be a great help.
They can not only look for and vet qualified applicants, they can also help train and monitor the virtual receptionist you choose. All you have to to is set a free no-obligation consultation meeting with 20four7VA to determine your needs and wants, wait for them to send you qualified applicants, and then interview pre-vetted candidates to pick the best one for you.