When you are operating a successful – and growing – business, no call should be left unanswered. For small-to-medium-sized businesses, this can be a difficult objective to achieve with limited staffing. A virtual receptionist is a phone answering service that can field all incoming calls on your company’s behalf.
With more companies accommodating a remote workforce, virtual reception is a cost-effective work-from-home solution to ensure prospective and returning customers are never left hanging when they try to communicate with your brand. Sometimes called auto attendants, virtual receptionists serve as answering services for small businesses.
Benefits of using a virtual receptionist
Companies of all sizes can benefit from using an automated answering service, but they are most impactful in smaller organisations that must be mindful of budgeting for personnel. A business answering service is a wise investment. The benefits of using a call answering service for small business are plentiful. Here are just a few of the top reasons your organisation should consider using virtual reception.
- Address basic customer service issues. Virtual receptionist services are the perfect solution to some customer service issues. Using an automated answering service to direct customer calls and determine urgency frees up time for in-house staff members to attend to other tasks.
- Reduce customer wait times. A virtual answering service helps customers immediately connect with the person or department best suited for handling their requests. Businesses can avoid putting customers through the dreaded “on hold” or “straight to voicemail” process that can occur when using a live receptionist.
- Extended availability. A virtual receptionist can be programmed to answer your phones 24/7 if you wish. Businesses can customise the days and hours the automated answering service picks up calls, as well as the options available to customers once they connect with the service.
How does a virtual answering service work?
A virtual answering service performs the same duties that an in-house receptionist would in an office setting. Tasks include answering phone calls, transferring callers to the appropriate contact or department, and providing information a caller is requesting like business hours and location.
Virtual receptionist services do not use live agents. Instead, they rely on software programmed to identify either a voice response from the caller or a prompt to select an option using a touchtone keypad. Some of the most common services provided by a virtual answering service include:
- Interactive voice response. This is one of the most cost-effective virtual answering service options available. It works by responding to a caller’s voice to activate a series of options.
- Call forwarding. An automated answering service collects information from the caller and redirects them to the appropriate person or department.
- Scheduling. Some virtual receptionists can access a company’s calendar tool and help customers schedule appointments during available business hours.
- Overflow calls. Even if you have an in-house receptionist, answering services for small businesses can serve as an overflow option if you are having a busy call-in day. Use them during peak hours to help eliminate consumer frustration.
- FAQs. Some phone answering services are sophisticated enough to have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) prompt. Callers can identify their question, and the automated system scrolls through the pre-programmed answers to find an appropriate response.
How to access your virtual answering service
Most virtual receptionist services include a client portal either via a web browser or mobile application. The portal provides insights into how your virtual answering service is used, including a breakdown of calls and recordings for quality assurance purposes. Billing information and full plan details are also available in the client portal.
How much does a virtual answering service cost?
Answering services for small businesses are cost-effective. How much it costs depends on the level of services selected. Per-minute rates and monthly subscriptions are options. Chat with our remote work solution team to learn more.