Why virtual receptionists are a perfect fit for remote businesses
Remote working comes with a number of challenges for any business, but one of the biggest is creating a professional phone answering service, without having a physical reception.
Most phone numbers registered to businesses are for a central office with either an exclusive receptionist for one business, or a shared service in an office space.
With many businesses increasing the use of remote working in the last year, and planning to continue with it in the future, physical reception spaces are going to become less common.
But the need for a professional phone answering service will remain.
This is where a virtual receptionist comes in.
Virtual receptionists carry out the exact same function as an onsite receptionist – answering phone calls, taking messages and helping manage diaries – except they work remotely and work for multiple companies at once.
This helps save on costs while providing the same level of professional service.
As more businesses look to make more roles remote, a virtual receptionist can be a great fit into the modern business model.
Here’s a few more reasons why a virtua; receptionist can be great for your business:
1. Never miss a call
When you’re working remotely, especially if you’re working onsite or are regularly travelling, it’s not always possible to answer your phone.
This is whether you’re a single tradesman, or an employee of a bigger company.
Missing calls is one of the biggest reasons UK businesses lose sales.
Customers have so much choice that the chances they’ll try a company more than once are slight. If you don’t answer they’ll just move on and try another business until someone does answer.
Similarly, sending paying clients to voicemail doesn’t give the best impression.
A virtual receptionist puts a professional face to your front of house, ensuring you never have to worry about missing an important call.
2. Free you up to work
Anyone who has ever worked in an office without a receptionist will understand how much time answering the phone takes from your day.
This answering calls, taking messages, forwarding calls, it all takes time away that you could spend doing your job.
This is especially important if you’re a sole trader or small business.
You can’t spend all your day answering the phone, but you also can’t afford to miss a call.
You should consider a virtual receptionist instead.
3. Give your customers a better experience
Despite all the advancements in the way customers can get in touch with a business, picking up the phone and calling remains the most popular.
Especially when it comes to asking for quotes or for customer service enquiries.
This means it’s critical that you can provide a great customer experience over the phone, and a virtual receptionist can help.
They’ll work with you to understand the types of calls you deal with, and how you want them to be answered, including working with you on scripts for answering calls.
You can work with your virtual receptionist to ensure critical calls are forwarded on to you so you can deal with them in person, and for other calls you’ll have a reliable message service.
This all goes towards providing a better customer experience and ensuring your customers feel like they’re being treated like people, and not like a number.
4. Create a professional front of house
How you deal with customer calls says a lot about your business.
From the speed you answer the call, to the way you answer it, to the way you deal with the call, it all goes towards the impression you leave.
When you’re hurried you might not be able to answer a call quickly, if at all.
And, if after letting the call go for 9 rings you answer with a stressed “hello”, you’re not giving the best impression of your business.
A virtual receptionist can take this away by ensuring all questions are answered quickly and professionally.
5. Save money and get a good ROI
While a virtual receptionist might seem like an expense, it’s a lot cheaper than employing a full-time receptionist.
And the ROI they can earn you by ensuring you never miss sales calls means they can pay for themselves many times over, and quickly.
With a virtual receptionist you’ll only pay for the time or calls you use them for, and you can scale your level of service up and down depending on your busier times.
Plus, as well as ensuring you don’t miss any sales calls, your virtual receptionist gives you time to complete jobs to the highest standards, which can earn you more customers through referrals.
They can also protect your reputation and make sure that customers know when they call you, they’ll get a response.
6. Manage your time better
As well as taking time out of the day to answer calls, you might find yourself losing time in the day trying to manage your diary and organise meetings for later in the week.
Again, this is all time taken away from completing work.
A virtual receptionist can also help you effectively manage your diary and arrange meetings.
You’ll share a real-time diary with them via a dashboard, so you both know when you have free time, and meetings or bookings are updated instantly so you don’t accidentally double book yourself while the system updates.Use a virtual receptionist to help you grow your business
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A virtual receptionist adds a professional front of house element to your company so customers know you as a reliable service that deals with your enquiries promptly.
Plus, by taking away the stress of managing your calls you can spend more time on your business and work so you can earn more money.
What is clear, is that as more businesses make use of remote working, virtual receptionists are going to become a more common addition to companies looking for a professional phone answering service, without the expense of a full-time position.
By the end of the year it is predicted that 25% of digital workers will use a virtual assistant on a daily basis to help run their business.
Compare that to 2019, when less than 2% of workers used a virtual assistant or receptionist, and you can see the rapid rise in the popularity of using a remote receptionist to deal with calls and add some professionalism to your phone answering service.
It’s not just one man bands or small businesses that are taking advantage of hiring a remote virtual assistant, plenty of medium and large businesses are starting to see the benefits.
In part it’s because they’ve given up their physical office and see no need to hire a full time receptionist, which can easily cost £30,000 a year depending where you’re based.
But even without the physical office, they want to retain a professional aspect to phone answering, and maintain a central phone number even with employees working more remote.
So is the rise in digital or virtual receptionists purely down to the rise in remote work? Or has the last year simply accelerated an already existing trend?
Remote working leads to rise in virtual receptionists
There is no question that the rise of remote working has had a direct impact on the rise in the use of virtual receptionists.
In part this is because some businesses have given up their physical office but retained their phone answering service.
And they’ve chosen to do this using a virtual receptionist who easily fits into the remote working model, without the expense of hiring a full-time receptionist.
Cost savings as businesses cut costs
Hiring a full-time receptionist can be a costly expense for a business.
While the average full-time salary of a receptionist in the UK is around £19,000 a year, you could easily end up spending £30,000 a year depending where your business is located.
If you’re a small business in particular, £30,000 for a single salary is a lot of money.
And as more businesses look to cut costs and get back on track after a difficult 2020, replacing a full-time receptionist with a virtual one and only paying for the time you use is an attractive option.
Small businesses see the benefits of a virtual receptionist
As businesses turn to smaller contractors to carry out work and established contractors become busier, many are trying to find new ways of managing their phone calls so they lose out on new business, or risk annoying existing customers by sending to voicemail.
Hiring a virtual receptionist is a good fit for this model, because you only pay for the time or calls you use them for, while retaining a professional phone answering service.
Understanding the benefits of a virtual receptionist
Hiring a virtual receptionist is a cost effective way to have a professional phone answering service, without the expense of hiring someone full time.
Because they work remote and across multiple clients, you only pay for the time you use or the number of calls they deal with.
A virtual receptionist can help manage your phone calls when you’re at work, ensuring you don’t miss a call.
You’ll never have to worry about losing a sale because you couldn’t answer the phone. And you won’t have to worry about sending paying customers to voicemail.
Instead, your calls will be handled by a professional who can represent your company’s front of house and ensure you’re always getting the relevant information in your messages.
With the right virtual receptionist service you can also have complete control over how calls are dealt with (including call scripts) and get access to recordings of calls so you can ensure calls are being dealt with how you’d expect.
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