The idea of a virtual receptionist might seem strange until the first time you try it. One thing immediately becomes clear: Having a virtual receptionist, also known as a remote or off-site receptionist, is very much like having an in-office receptionist, except they’re physically located somewhere else.
But virtual receptionists also come with some big benefits a traditional receptionist can’t offer. Let’s look at some of the most common questions surrounding the basics of virtual office reception, so you can see if it’s the right fit for your business.
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Assisting the Modern Business
A few decades ago, when most business was still done in person at nearby locations, it made more sense to have an in-house receptionist. Customers used to expect to see your staff in person, and almost always came to your location for purchases, meetings, and day-to-day business needs.
Today, the business landscape has shifted. Customers expect a very high level of fast, reliable service, every time. Contracts are often handled by phone or email. People increasingly make purchases online. Why can’t your receptionist be virtual too?
Here’s how it works: A virtual receptionist provides office services without being at your physical location. Depending on your level of assistance required, the virtual receptionist might be dedicated solely to your company or shared among several other companies.
They answer the phone, screen your callers, announce them to you if desired, and seamlessly connect calls among various phone numbers as requested. They can even track your schedule, alert customers to important information, and schedule call-backs.
It’s not just an answering service; A virtual receptionist is an all-in-one assistant. Rather than just routing calls, they capture leads, convert customers, and boost the productivity of your business.
What’s the Customer Experience?
Right away, you’re probably wondering what level of service your customers would receive with a virtual receptionist. The answer is excellent service.
When you contract with a virtual reception company, their entire business model is based on meeting the demands of your company and your clients. Everything they say and do is branded with your company name, logo, motto, and so forth.
Your customers likely won’t even realize your receptionist is virtual unless you tell them. The experience is intended to keep the focus on your customers and their needs, with a well-trained receptionist who stays professional at all times.
The Advantage of Virtual
Unlike an individual receptionist that you’d employ, a virtual reception company can provide immediate backup when the call volume gets heavy, and handle demanding or difficult customers smoothly, every time.
A virtual reception service also doesn’t take days off and can help you get through the holidays. This is a huge relief for many businesses, which find employee vacations to be one of the most challenging staffing issues they address.
In fact, you may finally be able to take a vacation yourself, due to the extra help from a virtual receptionist. They can notify your clients of your absence, or simply keep things rolling without your customers ever knowing you took a break.
Another valuable aspect of virtual reception is that it uses technology to improve the overall experience for both you and your customers. Here are a few examples:
- Voicemail with instant audio emails
- Unlimited talk and voicemail time
- Web portal for tracking customer contact
- Real-time call logs
These digital options allow you a much deeper, richer look into your customer history than having a receptionist in your office. You’ll easily be able to see when your heaviest call times are happening, which customers are calling the most, and other helpful metrics that support business success.