Signs Your Business Needs a Virtual Receptionist
In the traditional model of an office-based business, receptionists play an important role. They handle the delicate task of fielding phone calls, setting appointments, curating first impressions, and generally helping everyone perform their jobs in a better and more efficient manner. It’s a necessary position for most companies, and without it (or with the wrong person in place) a lot of missed opportunities and connections can pile up faster than you know it.
Many people have heard of answering services and virtual receptionists but may not have considered the details and applications that make virtual receptionist services such a boon. What makes a virtual receptionist preferable to a traditional receptionist? How do you know if your company could benefit from a business answering service? What can such a service provide to your company in terms of quality and professionalism?
Here we’ll examine several signs which indicate that your organization might be in need of a virtual receptionist to help take you to new levels of growth, profit, and esteem.
Your Small Business Is Growing
Small business ownership and operation is a proving ground for innovative ideas and strategies. Teamwork is absolutely crucial, particularly in the beginning stages of a new company; with each new triumph inevitably comes an increased workload for everyone, and it’s not uncommon for people to have to pick up slack and perform jobs outside of their job description in order to meet demands, nail deadlines, and establish strong business relationships.
One of the most important ways this is accomplished is creating seamless, professional first impressions and, a lot of the time, this occurs over the phone. Unfortunately, a full-time front desk receptionist is fiscally beyond the reach of many young companies; a single full-time receptionist not only demands a salary but, also, benefits, sick leave, and the occasional unexpected day off. For all that, they’re only available during standard business hours, which can lead to delays and miscommunications in relaying important information and client details.
A virtual receptionist service allows for 24/7 answering capability, guaranteeing that no late night or weekend business will go unhandled. It also frees up your staff and management to focus on the jobs they were hired to do, rather than the menial day-to-day tasks of answering phones, forwarding calls, and maintaining the office calendar. If your small business team is feeling stretched and stressed due to the growth of the company, an after hours answering service just might be the cure you’ve been looking for.
You’re Struggling to Find Talent
Anyone who’s ever worked in HR or hiring can tell you that finding the right person for the right job at the right time can truly be a needle-in-a-haystack nightmare. You need someone with the appropriate qualifications and experience, whose salary requirements are feasible and within reach for your company. They also need to be within reasonable commuting distance from your offices and, obviously, need to be looking for a job at the same time that you’re looking for an employee. Even with all these factors in place, sometimes people simply don’t gel with the rest of the staff; personalities and preferences clash, creating more problems than you originally had before you hired someone in the first place. It’s a headache and a half, and hiring receptionists is no different than any other position where experience is necessary.
If you’re at the point where your company needs a receptionist but hasn’t been able to find or keep a suitable candidate, then a business answering service is probably your best bet moving forward. Not only does a virtual receptionist work remotely, negating the muck and mire of office politics and personality kerfuffle, they’re generally recruited from top talent and trained to provide excellent service and a carefully tailored customer experience for anyone contacting your company. Hiring a virtual receptionist service allows you to tap into the best talent pool available while doing away with all the annoying constraints posed by geography.
In addition to the quality and easy professionalism that answering services afford businesses, they also stand to save you a lot of money; even the most inclusive high-end after hours answering service plans will still only represent a fraction of the cost that hiring, training, and paying a full-time employee requires. You’re also off the hook for the cost and stress of equipment upgrades and ongoing training; this is all handled by the answering company, allowing you to focus more of your time and energy on growing your business.
Your Company Is Mostly Online
In the world of modern business, maintaining a solid working presence online is not only beneficial, it’s crucial. In fact, a significant portion of new businesses start online before acquiring any type of bricks and mortar offices or storefronts. It’s a simple truth that if you want to be competitive, potential clients need to be able to find and communicate with you online; modern consumers simply don’t trust a business with a poorly maintained or unintuitive web presence.
While keeping your business totally online for as long as possible is a good move for many burgeoning companies and organizations, it can present a bit of an issue when it comes to phone traffic. When you’re working from your home or an otherwise limited workspace, calls and emails easily fall by the wayside without a dedicated employee to field, track, and maintain avenues of communication.
That’s where answering services come into play; by enlisting a virtual receptionist, anyone who calls your company will be greeted with a branded, professional script designed to put your business’s best face forward and create the illusion of a much larger, more established entity. This, in turn, creates a sense of trust and willingness to proceed among potential clients and allows you to keep costs lower while still growing your business. It’s the best of all worlds, and the surprising affordability of such services, when compared to a traditional receptionist, only sweetens the deal.
Your Calls Are Mostly Straightforward
If you run the sort of business that fields a lot of very basic calls, then you know the unique pain of answering the same question over and over again. Regardless of who’s on the phones, having to relay the same information about business hours, product costs, location specifics, or ordering procedures is taxing and will eventually wear anyone down. In addition, paying a dedicated employee to do so might not be cost-effective, particularly if your business is up-and-coming or just getting started.
When a high volume of short phone calls regarding simple, easily answerable questions is tying up your lines and keeping employees from doing more important tasks, a business answering service can help pick up the slack.
Virtual receptionists can field and follow through on the simple things while connecting you to important calls that require your urgent attention. This allows you to free yourself from the constant ringing of a front desk phone and lets you rest assured that the basic information potential customers request throughout the day is being relayed in an efficient, professional manner.
Even the simplest calls can be important for your business; don’t let them go unanswered and miss out on potential business. Call services can deal with those incoming questions and keep customer satisfaction high while avoiding voicemail backlog and cutting down on missed opportunities.
In addition, a virtual receptionist service operates as a kind of frontline defense against junk calls, auto-dialers, and unwanted solicitation calls, which most businesses find themselves inundated with at one point or another. Filter out the chaff from the wheat and make sure the time that you spend on the phone isn’t taking away from other, more productive uses of your time at work.
You Have Multilingual Clientele
Nobody should lose out on business opportunities simply because of a language barrier. Unfortunately, finding bilingual receptionists to answer the phones for your company can be a staggeringly difficult task, particularly in areas without a large local talent pool.
When choosing an answering service provider, make sure you pick one that employs bilingual virtual receptionists, which can give you a huge step up above the competition when it comes to gaining and maintaining happy customers who speak a language other than English. Everyone likes to feel understood, and having a receptionist who can interface with clients in their preferred language goes a long way toward building positive, fruitful relationships where language is no barrier at all.