If you’ve just started up a new business or if you’re a freelancer who operates a one-person company, you may find yourself playing multiple roles, including being your own receptionist. While you may think this saves money and makes your clients feel important since they get to talk directly to you at any time, there are some downsides. You don’t have as much time to focus on other, more important, tasks, and it means that your business has no receptionist when you’re in a meeting or out of the office. That’s why virtual receptionists are becoming more and more popular. If you’re uncertain if one of these experts is right for you, here are a few of the benefits of working with a virtual receptionist company.
You Have 24/7 Coverage
If you hire a receptionist, that person is on duty only during his or her shift, which means that if you want coverage around the clock, you’ll have to hire three different receptionists. With a virtual receptionist, though, your partner company will always have someone ready to answer your phones regardless of the time or day. While some businesses may not need to take calls at three in the morning, it’s nice to know that you have that option.
All of these receptionists will be trained in how to answer your phones, what policies to follow, and how to treat your clients. You won’t have to worry about anyone misrepresenting your company or sounding unprofessional since you can provide any additional training information you want. Professional virtual receptionists can handle receptionist duties for any type of business, so it doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant or a welder — your calls will be answered quickly and professionally.
Any time the receptionist can’t answer a question, the call will be transferred to you or a message will be taken. You decide how you receive messages, too. You can have your virtual receptionist email or send you an SMS when you have a new message, or you can have everything held until you call in.
Even if you had a receptionist on staff, he or she is going to have more duties than simply answering the phone. There may be a time when your receptionist is in your office helping you with a project or is out of the building running a few errands. During that time, you have to answer the phone yourself, which means there could be a delay that results in a missed call. Even if the receptionist is there, he or she may not be able to get to the phone on time if he or she is away from the desk.
Having a virtual receptionist eliminates this problem completely. Calls are always answered within a few seconds because there’s always someone right there ready to do so. If your virtual receptionist needs to take a break, another professional can step in and take over your calls seamlessly so your clients never have to leave a voice message or get frustrated at being unable to speak to a live person.
Give the Illusion of an Office
If you work from home or are a single-person operation, you might find that some potential clients believe you won’t be able to handle their projects. Using a virtual receptionist gives the illusion that you have an office and a staff of professionals in place, which can convince clients that you will be able to successfully complete their projects. Having a company such as Message Direct cover your phones is the perfect way to present a professional appearance.
These call centres also make use of virtual phone numbers, which means that you don’t have to give out your home or personal mobile number to potential customers. This can help cut down the number of calls you receive at home, plus you’ll know that anyone who is calling you directly is someone you’ve given your personal number to.
There’s more to a virtual receptionist than just answering your phone calls, though. They can also help with your outbound calling information. You can provide them with customer information you’ve gathered from events such as trade shows, and one of their professionals will put it into a formatted database you can use for lead generation.
These professionals can also check your existing database for duplicates, missing information, or non-standardised data and format it correctly. If something is missing, you can even authorise your virtual receptionist to make a follow-up call to the customer. Following your own script, they will ask for missing information or confirm existing information as needed.
If you enjoy answering your own phones at times or do have a receptionist on staff, you may not always need a virtual receptionist to handle the phones. However, there may be times when you’re busy or when your office is slammed with work. For example, if you have an event coming up, you may be receiving many RSVP calls, leaving your receptionist unable to do anything but answer the phones. Even then, he or she may be missing calls while on the phone.
If you have a virtual receptionist on call, you can have your calls sent to the call centre so no one gets left on hold or is unable to get through due to the high volume of calls. This way, you don’t need to have anyone else do phone duty, you’re not caught up handling calls all day, and all of your callers receive personal attention with whatever they’re calling about. This is also a great option if you simply want to not be disturbed for the day.
Did your receptionist suddenly announce he or she is leaving the office? If you’ve lost your receptionist but haven’t had time to hire someone new, you can have a virtual receptionist step in to cover your phones while you conduct a job search. Your calls will be shifted seamlessly and smoothly, leaving your clients unaware that you are suddenly down an employee. You can even have virtual receptionists do this while your regular receptionist is taking a holiday or is out sick.