As a business owner, your time is precious.
And trying to balance it between completing work properly, and on time, while still taking calls from potential new customers or existing clients can be tricky.
When you’re doing a job, or are in a meeting you might not be able to answer calls.
But not answering the phone to a new customer could lose you a sale. And sending a paying client to voicemail doesn’t give the best impression.
There’s plenty of answers to this problem, but an effective way to manage these calls is to use a virtual receptionist.
What’s a virtual receptionist?
A virtual receptionist works just like a normal receptionist would and acts as your business’ front desk, taking calls and messages and even helping you manage your diary.
The only difference is they’re not a direct employee of yours and they work remotely.
They’re professionally trained and can give your business a more professional feel by providing quality customer service to existing customers or new leads, ensuring you never miss a call or lose a sale because you couldn’t answer the phone.
A virtual assistant can also be useful for answering simple questions that are frequently asked and easy to answer, but that take up time in the day that you could spend on more important things.
So, that’s what a virtual receptionist is.
But why invest in one?
In this blog we’ll give you some of the main benefits you’ll get for your business by investing in a virtual receptionist.
If you want a more in-depth guide on virtual receptionists you can read our complete guide to hiring a virtual receptionist here.
Benefits of a virtual receptionist
- Professional customer service for your business
You won’t always be able to answer your phone when someone calls you, and sending a potential new customer to voicemail doesn’t guarantee they’ll leave a message. There’s so much choice available to them that they’ll be more likely to hang up and call someone else.
A virtual receptionist means your business calls are answered professionally and promptly, and leaves a better impression on customers.
When you first sign up to using a virtual assistant they’ll work with you to find out how you want certain calls to be dealt with. You’ll always get the right information passed on so you can deal with enquiries properly.
- Putting people behind your business
Chatbots on websites have become a craze in the last few years, but the truth is many customers still prefer to call a business and speak to an actual person. They want to feel like they’re being treated like a human being, not another number being sent down an automated “customer service journey”.
A virtual receptionist provides that human-to-human connection between your business and your customers and leads.
Instead of getting pre-set responses, your customers will get personalised service from a real person.
With so many businesses now trying to “sound human and authentic”, what could be more authentic than a real person on the end of the phone?
- Create consistency and reliability
Virtual receptionists are great for one-person businesses who can’t always answer the phone.
But they’re also highly effective in office environments when you want to make sure all calls are dealt with consistently.
Anyone who’s worked in an office knows how frustrating it can be when employees don’t answer the phone quickly, or don’t answer it in the way you expect.
Or, worse, when they don’t collect all the relevant information in a message.
A virtual receptionist removes all these problems by creating a consistent answering service across your business.
You can set the script and identify the information you need to be collected for each type of call.
Your virtual receptionist will take care of the rest.
Plus, it creates a barrier between incoming calls and your employees so they can get on with work and only be passed the calls they need to deal with, rather than constantly answering the phone.
Hiring a good receptionist full-time will cost your business a lot of money.
The average receptionist salary in the UK is £19,000 a year according to totaljobs.com but the upper end of the scale can easily reach £30,000.
Do you have that kind of money to invest?
Especially if you’re still early in your business and aren’t taking as many calls.
If you decided to hire a full-time receptionist you’d be paying them a salary no matter the volume of calls they’d be taking. Plus you’d have to train them.
With a virtual receptionist, you only pay for the time you use them, and that capacity can be easily scaled up or down depending on the number of calls coming in.
This can be particularly useful for dealing with seasonal peaks.
- Get extra admin and diary support
A virtual receptionist isn’t just good for dealing with your customer calls.
They can also help you manage your day, arrange and book meetings, and make sure you don’t accidentally double book your time when you’re out and about with no access to your calendar.
Plus, a virtual receptionist can take the hassle out of trying to organise multiple diaries, so you can simply provide the times you’re free and get an alert when the meeting has been set.
If someone is trying to book an appointment with you, they can simply go through your virtual receptionist, who you can provide updates to on your movements whenever you want to so they only book times you’re available.
This gives you more time to focus on completing work.
Your virtual receptionist can be given access to your’s and your team’s diaries and you’ll simply get an alert when a new appointment is booked in.
Plus, your synced diary will update in real-time, so you and your virtual receptionist have access to the latest version of your calendar.
- Concentrate on your business
The biggest benefit of a virtual receptionist, by far, is that it frees you up to spend more time on the things that make money, and less time trying to manage calls.
With a virtual receptionist, you can go about your business day safe in the knowledge that incoming calls are being dealt with professionally, and customers and prospects are getting through to a real person and not an answering machine or automated message.
If you’re going through a quiet period, you can save money by scaling back your resources and then pick them up again once you start to get busier.
Either way, you’ll only invest the money when it’s needed and use the time you’ll save to make more.
Get a professional, virtual assistant with Face For Business
We know that you need to make a good first impression on customers and prospects, and that starts from the moment they call you.