Why Businesses Use Virtual Receptionist Services to Save Time And Manpower

Using virtual receptionist services offers several advantages to businesses, including improved efficiency and cost reduction.

With so many businesses aiming to be customer-centric, it’s essential to aim for and maintain the highest possible levels of customer service. However, there are times when the volume of calls to your office or contact center gets overwhelming and your human agents simply can’t cope. This leads to long call queues, missed calls, and, ultimately, disgruntled customers.

The obvious answer is to find a solution that can either complement or replace some element(s) of your current system. With so many options available on the market, what solution is best going to meet your needs when it comes to dealing with the problems you are experiencing?

This is where virtual receptionist services come in. Just what are virtual receptionist services though? What does a virtual receptionist actually do, and how can they help your business perform more efficiently? With virtual receptionists often working remotely from different countries, can you trust such a service and why are so many businesses hiring virtual receptionist services?

What are virtual receptionist services?

Virtual receptionist services involve a ‘receptionist’ who is not actually physically located in your office, or sometimes even in the country where your base of operations is. They may be employed by you directly or by an agency that specializes in providing virtual receptionist services to businesses around the world.

Many virtual receptionists will choose to work from home, something that is made easier with the tech and tools now available. Some agencies will operate from an office environment where multiple virtual receptionists will be providing services to companies around the world.

They will carry out all the phone-based duties that an actual in situ receptionist would, but they also come with a number of advantages. In most cases, they are highly-trained, although they still might need a little time to learn the specifics of how your organization operates. Businesses often turn to a virtual receptionist when they are experiencing issues due to large volumes of calls.

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What can virtual receptionist services do?

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The simple answer to this question is that a virtual receptionist can do anything that a receptionist based at your business can do, at least in relation to any phone-based business communication. They may not be able to physically welcome visitors to your office, but they can take a significant amount of pressure off your office-based staff so they can focus on other duties.

If you decide to engage a virtual receptionist’s services, there are a number of roles and duties you will be expecting them to fulfill. These can include:

  • Round the clock coverage. Your actual office may not operate 24/7/365, but your website caters to the global marketplace. Virtual receptionists mean that calls can be answered even when your main office is closed.
  • Better workflows and efficiency. Virtual receptionist services means that calls are answered quicker (thus improving customer satisfaction) and you’ll have better workflows when it comes to things like scheduling appointments.
  • More calls answered. With better coverage, you will see a higher percentage of calls dealt with quickly and fewer abandoned calls.
  • Improved marketing. You can scale your marketing efforts upwards as you know all inquiries will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. You might see and utilize improved AI and automation when it comes to areas such as content marketing.
  • Culture and languages. Depending where your strongest markets are, you can meet cultural and language challenges by having virtual receptionists who know those countries and who can speak local languages fluently.

Why virtual receptionist services could be essential to your company

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As is always the case when considering any new service or tool, you want to know how that service could benefit your organization. What are the features of hiring virtual receptionist services that make it an essential choice for your business?

  • Improve your customer satisfaction. Virtual receptionists should answer calls quickly, ideally within three to four rings. That means people do not need to wait too long in call queues. While call waiting/hold times can vary from industry to industry, ASA (average speed of answer) should be somewhere between 20 and 50 secs.

If calls are answered by a virtual receptionist, then it is a better alternative to being left on hold, even if there is then a further wait as the receptionist transfers the call to a suitable agent. This means you are providing a better customer experience and you can help encourage brand loyalty. Virtual receptionists should also play a part in the omnichannel customer journey and be able to take ‘calls’ via different channels.

  • Improve your efficiency. You likely already know the data on your call volumes. There may be certain times of the day, week, or even year when you see spikes in the number of calls you receive. Virtual receptionists can take a huge amount of pressure off during those times and means that you can improve or maintain efficiency.

With the right training, your virtual receptionist will be able to answer some simple queries, thus reducing how long a customer is on a call. They also have the ability – via integrated calendars – to book meetings or appointments. And when necessary, they can transfer a caller to the relevant department (if the department is open at that time).

  • Reduce your costs. Every business wants to reduce overheads where possible. In fact, hiring a virtual receptionist could save you as much as 78% of the costs of hiring an in-house member of staff to do the same job. This can make even more sense if you operate limited hours at your home office and can have virtual receptionists working 24/7.

If you are considering switching to virtual receptionist services, it may well be worth your while to do a comparative audit. How much are you (or would you be) paying for in-house receptionist services and how much would you pay for 24/7 virtual coverage?

  • Increase organizational flexibility. You’re already well aware that businesses can experience ebbs and flows. With virtual receptionist services, you may be paying by the hour or by the day, which gives you the flexibility to scale your use of a virtual receptionist up or down as needed.

If you have a ‘permanent’ virtual receptionist, you can also offer them extra training so that they can go beyond answering simple questions and deal with more complex queries. You can also choose to ensure that they can access essential systems such as CRM (customer relationship management) or data warehouses so they can see a customer’s history.

  • Reduce stress levels. When you use professional virtual receptionist services, you know that this side of your business is being dealt with efficiently and by someone who understands the needs of your business and your customers. This not only frees up your in-house staff to focus on other tasks, it also reduces your stress levels.

Knowing that important gatekeeping and other tasks are being dealt with proficiently, it allows you to concentrate on other areas of your business operations such as streamlining enterprise collaboration, increasing sales figures or even expanding your product range. Of course, this is dependent on you choosing virtual receptionist services that offer a highly professional service.

  • Beyond borders. While some businesses may operate on a local or regional basis, many others see the global marketplace as their target, and that can apply to many different sectors. Virtual receptionist services can be a great way of targeting different international markets where you think your organization could perform well.

One of the major advantages of virtual receptionists is that you could hire several to deal with these different markets. For example, you could have a virtual receptionist whose first language is Spanish based in a Spanish-speaking region, a French speaker covering France, and so on.

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The takeaway

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You will always be looking at ways to improve your business operations and streamline workflows. That can cover everything from forecasting in Excel to outsourcing certain jobs and activities. Your reasoning for any changes will include improvements to efficiency and customer service provision as well as more basic reasons as cost effectiveness and profit margins.

Virtual receptionist services can help you meet several of your goals. They can mean that you provide a better customer experience which in turn will lead to improved customer satisfaction levels. But it can also improve efficiency, especially when you are operating internationally and across different time zones while at the same time leading to reduced costs for your business.

Spending on your organization’s needs and resources, you can choose to go with a specialist agency that will have a pool of experienced virtual receptionists or you can source your own individual freelancers. This latter choice may be preferable when you want several virtual receptionists based in different countries. It’s a simple process given the level of integration available that allows them access to different tools and systems.

 

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