A virtual receptionist is just like a regular office-based receptionist, but without the office!
It is a real human being who will answer calls, take messages, arrange appointment bookings, and provide excellent customer service to anyone who contacts your business. They will then notify you of the calls you have received.
The only difference is that they do their work virtually – they can work anywhere and carry out their duties over the internet.
A virtual receptionist performs essential front-of-office tasks
You can decide on the best ways to make use of a virtual receptionist service.
You might have a small business and be struggling to keep on top of appointment bookings. You might be having a hard time trying to respond to phone inquiries at the same time as getting on with actually running your business. A virtual receptionist would be able to free up your time by taking calls on your behalf whenever you are unavailable, both after-hours or during your normal working day.
You could be a larger business that already has a receptionist, but want to cover those calls that come in after you’ve left the office or while your receptionist is already on a call. A virtual receptionist can be available 24/7 to help with any call overflow and ensure that you never miss out on leads.
You can decide when you want your virtual receptionist to take calls, what you want them to say, and which of your business services you would like them to perform (such as booking appointments). You can tailor the service to suit your needs.
A virtual receptionist helps your business run smoothly
Voicemails are arguably the easiest option for solving the issue of missed calls. But 75% of callers will hang up the phone if their call goes to voicemail. This means that if you are not there to pick up the phone, it is highly likely that you will miss out on a lead, and your competitors will gain that customer instead.
Meanwhile, the costs of hiring an in-house receptionist are high. You may even have to rent an office space to accommodate the extra staff. This is an expensive solution, and not an environmentally sound one either.
A virtual receptionist allows you to have the benefits of an in-house receptionist at a significantly lower cost. It allows you to project professionalism by having someone who knows your business always available to answer calls, giving you peace of mind that your callers are experiencing excellent customer service in your name.
How does a virtual receptionist service work?
If someone calls your business when you are unavailable, their call will route to a virtual receptionist. The receptionist will immediately see your company information, and will answer the phone in the name of your business using whatever greeting you have requested.
You are in control over how your callers experience the service, as you decide what your virtual receptionist will say and which actions they can perform. You could allow your customers to leave a message, book an appointment, or place an order, and have them experience a professional service while doing so. Immediately after the call, you will receive a notification with all the relevant details.
There will always be staff available to take any calls that come in, so you will never miss out on any business opportunities.
Tailor the service to suit your needs
You can decide how to forward your calls to a virtual receptionist – all calls, calls that come in if your main line is busy, calls you haven’t answered after a certain number of rings, or calls that come in after hours. You can also choose whether you would like the receptionist to make outbound calls on your behalf.
You could even set up call screening, where your virtual receptionist will only patch through the most important or urgent calls to you while they take care of everything else. You will set the rules for which calls you want to receive, and can quickly change your status through desktop or mobile apps to let your virtual receptionists know if you are in a meeting and don’t wish to be disturbed.
Set up your virtual receptionist account
Getting set up with a virtual receptionist service is quick and easy.
The main thing you will have to do is to set up a script. Your client service team will help you to build a script that covers exactly what you would like your virtual receptionist to say when they answer your calls.
This is also where you will specify which services you would like your virtual receptionist to provide – such as appointment bookings, order placements, or standard message-taking – and when you would like them to take your calls.
You can set up a basic message-taking script in as little as five minutes. More complex scripts will take a little longer, but most accounts will be up and running within one to three days. If you prefer, you could use a free demo to see how you find the service before settling on a particular call plan, but it is easy to adjust your call preferences at any time.
Start using a virtual receptionist
As soon as you complete the setup process, phone lines will be live and active. From this point, someone will always be there to answer calls for your business. You can still answer calls whenever you like, but if you are not available, they will be directed to a virtual receptionist.
The details of any call your virtual receptionist has received will be instantly available to you, and you can respond to inquiries or follow up on leads at your convenience.
What can a virtual receptionist do?
A virtual receptionist is a great option for a range of businesses, helping to make your life easier and win you new business in the process.
Regardless of your industry or business size, using a virtual receptionist can help you out in a number of ways, from ensuring you never miss out on leads, to freeing up your time. This guide will show you how different types of business can use this affordable and professional service to suit their needs.
Medical professions: deliver the best service to your patients
A virtual receptionist service makes it easy for your patients to get in touch with your surgery, medical practice, clinic, care home, or private hospital at any time, on any day of the year. This way, you can relax at the end of the day, knowing that your patients have round-the-clock receptionist support.
Patients will experience the service in the same way they would with an in-house receptionist. You can choose to forward calls to a virtual receptionist for all calls that come in, for after-hours calls, or for calls that arrive while your existing receptionist is busy. Your receptionist can schedule appointments, take patient messages, provide information about your practice, or transfer calls to your staff – you can select the services and call plan that suits you best. Your company is able to stand out by offering 24/7 support, while you still get some shuteye.
Once you have tailored the service to suit your needs, your patients will have the comfort of knowing they can reach a real person whenever they call your business. When a virtual receptionist schedules an appointment, it can sync with many existing appointment systems to ensure a seamless integration.
Virtual receptionists are an easy and efficient way to deliver excellent patient care anytime to your callers, while you still get to have some much-needed downtime.
Beauty and hairdressing: give your customers a first class experience and never miss a booking
If a potential customer’s first interaction with your business is them having to wait around on hold or worry about having to leave a message on your voicemail, they are likely to take their business elsewhere. Your business provides customers with a five-star experience, so why shouldn’t that start with their initial call?
The hair and beauty industry is highly competitive, which means customers have a number of options available to them when choosing where to book. A virtual receptionist allows you to deliver a friendly and professional service to your callers around the clock, so they never have to move onto the next business on their list.
Your virtual receptionist can have access to your availability when a call comes in, and can provide all the necessary information about pricing and the services you offer. They will help customers book their appointment while offering a friendly and personal call experience.
Legal services: project professionalism and win new cases
Legal services require a particular expertise and call handling style, and virtual receptionists are an excellent way to help deliver a high standard of customer service in every call.
When prospective customers are calling a law firm, they could be faced with an automated recording, or a friendly receptionist. Guess which one gets the new client or case?
Instead of being forwarded to voicemail when you are unavailable, a virtual receptionist allows clients to reach a responsive professional who can assist them, making you more likely to gain more clients and more cases. You will choose your call script, so your virtual receptionist can provide the selected information to your callers, and take messages or forward calls to your staff when necessary.
A virtual receptionist allows someone to be there for your clients and prospective clients 24/7, 365 days of the year. This ensures that callers know their interests are being looked after, while you have the security of knowing your business is being represented by a friendly, competent and discrete professional.
Trades services: free up your time and give your callers round-the-clock support
Trying to keep on top of calls can be overwhelming when you work in the trade industry. Missing valuable client calls can be expensive to new businesses and established companies alike.
If you are a plumber, electrician, or contractor, you will know how hard it can be to schedule appointment bookings, answer inquiries, deal with your suppliers, manage your equipment and respond to after-hours emergencies – all at the same time as actually getting to work.
Getting set up with a virtual receptionist frees up your time by having someone take your calls and be there for your customers when they need your support, both after-hours or during your normal working day. You can choose when to forward your calls to a virtual receptionist at short notice, so it’s easy to change your call preferences when something unexpected occurs or you’re attending an emergency call-out.
Whether it’s taking appointment bookings, managing your schedule, calling your suppliers, or capturing leads, a virtual receptionist service provides you with full admin support to ensure you never miss calls or lose business.
Why use a virtual receptionist?
A virtual receptionist is a great option if you want to ensure you never miss out on business calls. Once the service is set up, everything will be taken care of for you.
You can choose when to be away from the phone, comfortable in the knowledge that someone will be there to answer calls when you’re not. The service integrates seamlessly into your current processes, and you can follow-up on any leads or inquiries at a time that is convenient to you.
A virtual receptionist solves business problems
Getting set up with a virtual receptionist means no more missed calls. This, of course, means no more missed business opportunities. Anyone who calls your business will experience a friendly and professional service at all times.
If you plan to expand your business but feel like you wouldn’t be able to handle the increased demand, a virtual receptionist is a great solution. If a call comes in while you or your virtual receptionist is already on the line, that call will simply be forwarded to another virtual receptionist – something that would not be possible with an in-house receptionist.
A virtual receptionist allows you and your staff to get on with other tasks instead of wasting time trying to answer all calls by yourself – boosting your team’s productivity in the process.
A virtual receptionist is the most effective solution
Having a virtual receptionist avoids the pitfalls that come with using voicemail. Most callers who reach business voicemails will not leave a message, meaning they are likely to try one of your competitors instead.
Online alternatives such as apps or email also carry these downsides, as they offer a similarly impersonal service while only reaching a limited customer base. A virtual receptionist ensures callers can talk to your business immediately, so they won’t have to go elsewhere.
Hiring an in-house receptionist comes at a significant cost and offers limited flexibility. If you decide you would like to have your calls answered at different times, you cannot simply change your staff’s working hours at short notice to cover more calls.
Similarly, if you grow or downsize your business, your call-answering needs will change. Downsizing may mean you would prefer to cut the hours of your receptionist, while growing the business could mean increasing their hours, or even having to hire additional staff or rent an office space to cover the demand.
A virtual receptionist service allows you to change your call plan at any time, so you can adjust the service to suit your needs with ease.
Instant benefits and long-term return on investment
Once you have set up your virtual receptionist service, you will start to see the benefits instantly. You will have more free time outside of answering calls, with the comfort of knowing that your customers are experiencing a professional service in the name of your business.
In the longer term, a virtual receptionist will mean an increased ROI through having someone available to answer every call you receive. This will mean you can respond to every lead and eliminate missed calls and opportunities. The generally small expense will therefore pay for itself through the increased leads and new opportunities.