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What is a Virtual Receptionist?

So, you’ve heard of virtual receptionists, but you’re not too sure what they are.

In this fast-paced digital age, maybe it’s occurred to you they may be some form of chatbot or AI-inspired tool to try to convince people their call has been answered.

Both of those descriptions are wrong by the way.

Virtual receptionists or virtual personal assistants are actually real people who can do an awful lot of good stuff for your business.

Now, we all love a bit of technology, and nobody doubts there is a place for AI and chatbots in modern business. But there are also times when we just want to talk to a real person.

In an increasingly competitive world, nothing beats customer experience when it comes to influencing customer loyalty.

And that’s where virtual receptionists come in. But what exactly do they do?

Let’s find out.

What Is A Virtual Receptionist?

We’ll start with the basics. A virtual receptionist is a highly-trained customer service expert who is there to answer your calls when you can’t. But rather than having to go through the cost and hassle of recruiting, training and employing a new full-time staff member to work alongside you, a virtual receptionist does it all remotely.

If you can’t afford to employ someone to take your calls full-time or don’t have sufficient work to justify another staff member, you probably find that answering calls and dealing with customer queries are added to your lengthy list of tasks.

Call answering services like this will also offer you a new business telephone number, which is an added benefit if you’re still relying on your personal phone number for business.

A virtual receptionist will provide a telephone answering service that will relieve you of that burden and let you do what you do best.

What Can Virtual Receptionists Do?

List the tasks you would expect from a receptionist and you’re pretty much describing what a virtual receptionist does:

Answering calls: They will answer calls using your company script. They’ll answer simple questions about opening times, business addresses etc so you can focus on delivering your product or service without fear of missing a call and losing out on business.

Answering FAQs: Every business has a list of its most commonly asked questions. And every business has clients or potential clients calling up to ask them. Your virtual team will be given the answers to those questions so they can satisfy your clients.

Collect leads: All relevant information from potential customers and pass the details on to you directly or enter it into your CRM or other database depending on your preference.

Scheduling appointments: Virtual receptionists can be granted access to any scheduling software so they can book appointments in the same way a regular customer service agent would. If and when required, they can schedule, reschedule or cancel appointments and make sure all relevant parties are made aware.

Processing orders: Another staple of their role is processing everything from incoming phone orders to outgoing maintenance requests, if an order needs processing, your new virtual team can do it.

Seven-day-a-week Customer support: If you want your virtual reception open 7 days a week, that’s just fine. If you’re worried about missing potential business at weekends, choosing a call answering service is the way to go.

Live Transfers: Live call transfers allow you to take important calls right away and leave non-urgent calls until a more suitable time. You can even arrange for calls to ring through to you, divert if you don’t answer, and then be transferred back to you if you decide you want to take the call.

Why Are Virtual Receptionists A Good Investment?

Now, you may be thinking that this sounds like a lot of effort just to get a few phone calls answered. But the truth is, you lose 100% of the business you never come into contact with.

Sure, the internet brings in plenty of leads – and nobody is saying that shouldn’t be part of what you do. But internet queries are ten to the dozen and are infinitely less likely to result in a sale.

A phone call shows far more intent and the likelihood of conversion is higher. That human connection is a crucial part of your first impression.

With competition so fierce, missing any attempt to connect with existing or potential customers is a lost opportunity. Fail to answer a call and the caller will almost certainly try another provider and never contact you again.
Can your business afford to miss out on data capture, leads and sales because of a simple missed phone call?

Virtual receptionists are affordable, available 7-days-a-week and they are consummate professionals. So, before you dismiss the idea, take a look at the cost and compare that to the loss of just one hot lead per month. Then give us a call and let’s get you set up with your very own virtual team.

Paul Sandquest

Head of Marketing

Paul is Head of Marketing at Virtually There and has over a decade of experience supporting businesses across the globe.

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