While they sound similar, and there is some overlap in what you can expect from a virtual receptionist and a virtual assistant, there are some key differences to know before you dive into an investment.
It’s a common confusion among businesses that have never used these services before, so in this guide, we aim to give some clear guidance to help you understand the difference between a virtual receptionist vs a virtual assistant.
What is a virtual receptionist?
A virtual receptionist is your business’ professional front of house – similar to an office-based receptionist behind a desk.
They’re often the first contact customers have when calling your business.
They provide a professional call answering service, including taking and passing on messages, forwarding calls to the right team member, or directly dealing with some basic enquiries.
Virtual receptionists can also be used to screen you from unwanted calls and have you removed from sales lists.
They can also be used to help with lead qualification. A virtual receptionist can also handle some admin tasks for your business, specifically diary management and booking meetings.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant acts just as a personal assistant would, providing administrative support to your business and yourself.
This could range from booking travel, scheduling appointments, organising emails or making calls.
However, as the name suggests, a virtual assistant works for you ‘virtually’ from anywhere (like a home office) and often works for several other businesses simultaneously.
How do virtual receptionists and virtual assistants work?
This is where some confusion between the two roles can happen because, from a practical standpoint, they work in very similar ways.
Primarily they carry out their roles remotely, working for your business from anywhere while also working for other companies.
Many virtual receptionists and assistants will have systems they like to work with, which can often be synced to your existing tech stack, or which you’ll get access to via a client portal.
While a virtual assistant typically works the same hours as you and your team, a virtual receptionist can extend your business’ opening hours beyond the usual 9-5, Monday to Friday, including adding weekend call answering without you needing to extend your own hours.
How are virtual receptionists and virtual assistants different?
The most significant difference to know about a virtual receptionist and assistant (and why you need to make sure you’re investing in the right one) is that a virtual receptionist acts in a customer-facing role, whereas a virtual assistant works in the background.
The primary role of a virtual receptionist is to act as a point of contact for your business’ incoming calls, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with every call yourself.
Having a virtual receptionist service dealing with your calls frees your time to focus on tasks that make money and grow your business, rather than constantly being pulled away from what you’re doing (particularly when it relates to unwanted sales calls).
But virtual receptionists can also carry out many of the tasks of an assistant.
For example, diary management and meeting booking is a primary service offered by virtual receptionists.
They can handle all appointment booking for you, providing detailed call notes so you know what to expect from your meetings.
How to choose between a virtual receptionist and a virtual assistant
Ultimately it comes down to whether you need a customer-facing service or someone to simply act in the background to deal with your business’ admin.
With a virtual receptionist, you can get an element of both roles. Not only will your virtual receptionist handle all your incoming calls for you, but they can deal with your diary management and meeting booking.
However, if you’re looking purely for administrative support in the background, a virtual assistant might be the better option.
Looking for a professional virtual receptionist service?
Hundreds of businesses are already benefiting from our professional virtual receptionist services, and it’s easy to get started.
With our team handling your business’ incoming calls and taking care of your diary management, you’ve got more time to focus on growing your business and providing excellent customer service.
If you want to see our services work up close, you can sign up for a no-obligation seven-day free trial.
Or you can get in touch, and we can give you more information about how your business can benefit from the services of a virtual receptionist.
11th November, 2023
Posted by Face For Business