When you hire someone to help take your calls, it can be a huge relief. Instead of encountering a cold, emotionless menu of options, your customers hear the warm voice of a human being. Now you can focus on your work, knowing your inbound communication is always expertly handled.
Of course, there are lots of options for getting help with office communications – so many, in fact, that it can be confusing to know which to choose. Answering services and virtual receptionists, two increasingly popular options, are actually quite different from one another and have various benefits for your business. Let’s take a closer look.
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The Office Communication Revolution
Over the past few decades, tech devices like computers and mobile phones have reduced the need for in-office secretaries and administrative assistants. While fewer professionals are now pursuing these careers, the number of virtual assistants has been growing.
By some estimates, there are more than 100,000 people actively seeking work as freelance virtual assistants at any given time – on top of hundreds of thousands more employed by professional assistant companies.
What, exactly, do these professionals do? Perhaps it’s easiest to start by looking at the difference between a virtual receptionist and an answering service.
Most answering services primarily focus on a core set of essential back-and-forth messaging duties. They provide reliability and professionalism for busy people.
Basic answering services usually handle:
- Answering calls
- Taking and delivering messages
- Being available extended hours, beyond normal business hours
- Maintaining a professional image
An answering service can streamline your phone communications, especially if you have customers calling from various time zones and countries around the world. They’re experts at staying calm and unruffled, even under pressure.
Virtual Reception Services
Virtual reception goes a big step beyond an answering service, offering additional features that round out your communications. A virtual reception service provides a dedicated receptionist who is well-trained on your brand, desires, and customer needs.
This addresses one of the biggest drawbacks of traditional answering services: inflexibility and lack of training found in some companies. Typically, answering services are call centers of people who know practically nothing about your business. They simply answer the phone and follow a script.
By contrast, with virtual receptionists, you get a more robust set of services, like:
- A person or group of thoroughly-trained receptionists
- Dedication to your company and its customer service needs
- Seamless appointments, using a calendar you set
- Lead gathering and lead generation
- Intricate routing of calls, according to your staff hierarchy
- Customer call-backs and follow-ups
- Personalized service, where the receptionist calls your customers by name
Using a virtual reception service is much more like having an in-house employee – someone you can rely on to maintain a genuine connection with your customers. They provide a more customized and personalized experience, which your clients will notice from the first time they call.
New Leads, New Business
Perhaps the biggest benefit of virtual reception services is that they work as continual lead generators for your company. Instead of just reading a standard script, they interact with your customers on a more human level, determining their needs, looking for sales potential, and even converting people into new customers.
This might seem like a small difference, but it’s huge in terms of finding new revenue for your business. Every phone call is an opportunity – but much of that opportunity often goes wasted without personal follow-up. Virtual receptionists make your business shine and put a smile on customers’ faces.
Interested in learning more? Request a live tour or call Reliable Receptionist at 925-627-4200. You’ll soon wonder how your business ever got by without a virtual receptionist.