Are you ready to hire a virtual receptionist?
Before you make that decision, you need to determine if you actually need one and what specific benefits you’re looking for. Like any business decision, you’ll need to weigh out whether the cost is worth the benefits you will get from an answering service.
A virtual receptionist service will perform similar duties to a virtual assistant, but its main duty is to answer the phone for clients. Thanks to telecommunications technology, your callers will never know that your virtual receptionist is at a remote location instead of physically in your office.
Benefits of a virtual receptionist
Virtual receptionists provide a live professional presence for your small business, allowing you to allocate more time and resources toward higher-priority tasks. In other words, you can stop paying for someone to pick up the phone and instead pay that employee to complete tasks that strictly require human interaction. This can lead to higher productivity, lower operational costs, and stronger customer service. After all, virtual receptionists don’t take lunch breaks, go to sleep, or go on vacation.
Let’s take a look at some recent statistics around small businesses and virtual receptionist technology:
- 22% of small businesses that are between two and five years old utilize answering services, while 63% of businesses over five years old use them.
- 55% of businesses with two to ten employees leverage virtual receptionists.
- When shopping for a telephone answering service, 31% of businesses note responsive customer service as a top priority. And 26% of companies report the need for a 24-hour receptionist.
As you can see, many organizations rely on a virtual answering service to run their business efficiently. Still, how do you know it’s time to hire a virtual receptionist for your business? Here are some signs that you need one:
1. You are too busy to take all of your own calls.
Once you get to the point where picking up the phone is taking too much time out of your day and you are not able to get your own work done, it may be time to start using a virtual receptionist. In the early days of operating your small business, you had to wear many hats and receptionist was one of them. At a certain point, you need to pull back. You need to let other people take care of the basics why you focus on what you do best.
2. You don’t give your customers a business phone number or you simply let all calls go to voicemail.
If you have gotten used to operating your business by e-mail and not speaking to your clients by phone because you don’t want to pick up the phone directly, you might need a virtual receptionist. Having a virtual receptionist answer your calls will give your business the degree of professionalism it needs, along with allowing you to respond to calls and receive messages in a timely manner.
3. When you want to keep pace with (or stand out from) your direct competitors.
Find out about the level of customer service your direct competitors are providing to their customers. If they are having their calls answered by a virtual receptionist, you may want to consider this type of answering service. In contrast, if your competitors are not offering a good level of customer service, there is an opportunity to step up your game and make sure that you are offering exceptional customer service every time with a virtual receptionist. Either way, a virtual receptionist can be a good idea.
If you’re a business on the grow, you likely need a virtual receptionist. Being too busy to take calls means you need to focus where you’re needed – not on picking up the phone. If these examples sound like your business, it may be time to find a professional answering service to free up your time.