As the popularity of working from home continues to grow, the landscape of the business world is shifting. Gone are the days when every company had a receptionist planted outside the office to greet clients and answer the phones. In today's business world, many entrepreneurs are enjoying the benefits of working from home while relying on answering services to assist them with incoming calls. If you run your business from home, here's everything you need to know about using a virtual receptionist.

What Is a Virtual Receptionist?

A virtual receptionist answers your company's incoming calls. Like a traditional receptionist, a virtual receptionist can answer calls, take messages, transfer clients to other extensions, and set appointments. However, unlike the receptionists of the past, this person is not physically in your office but, rather, is answering calls from a remote location. Your company can work with the service provider to determine the type of service that's best for your company, including a personalized greeting for all incoming calls.

What Services Can Virtual Receptionists Offer?

Similar to traditional receptionists, virtual receptionists can offer a range of services. Since every business is different, you can choose from a range of options when determining the type and level of service you need. Options include:

  1. Answering your incoming business calls with a personalized message
  2. Making sure customers are greeted by a live person 24/7/365
  3. Taking detailed messages
  4. Making sure messages are routed to the correct person
  5. Providing callers with information about your business, such as product descriptions and directions to your office
  6. Transferring calls to the appropriate person
  7. Scheduling appointments

Additionally, this type of service provides you with the flexibility you need. As your business grows and your needs change, you can choose the options that best fit your current situation. 

Is a Virtual Receptionist Affordable?

If you think that your business could benefit from a virtual receptionist but wonder whether it's within your budget, you might be surprised to learn that this kind of service is extremely cost-effective. The median salary for a traditional in-house receptionist is over $37,000, and that figure doesn't even include the expenses of training and benefits. You pay a mere fraction of that amount to use the services of a virtual receptionist. You also save money by avoiding the costs associated with renting or buying additional office space and purchasing or leasing all of the necessary telecommunications equipment. 

How Can a Virtual Receptionist Help My Business?

A virtual receptionist can provide your business with several advantages. First, your company benefits from the consistency that a virtual receptionist provides. A business owner can't be available 24/7/365. You can't be answering the phones in the middle of the night or when you are on vacation, and even during business hours, there are times when you are in a meeting or on a call with another client. When this happens, your company risks missing incoming calls from potential clients, which can easily translate into lost sales.

Conversely, virtual receptionists are always available. That means that your incoming calls will be greeted by a live person at any time on any day. Your customers receive the service they expect and deserve, and you don't risk the loss of potential business.

A virtual receptionist can also help boost your level of productivity. If you are forced to answer incoming calls yourself, the constant interruptions can impact your focus and momentum. You have more important tasks that require your undivided attention. By delegating the job of answering phones to a skilled professional, your clients receive great service when they call, and you can direct your energy where it needs to go. 

Additionally, a virtual receptionist can give your company a more professional image. While you might be operating your business from the basement of your home, there's no reason that your clients need to know that. People are often more at ease doing business with a large, well-established company, and having a live receptionist answer their calls can give them the assurance they desire. Ultimately, you want your clients to receive professional service and be left with a positive image of you and your company.

In today's business world, smart entrepreneurs know that delegation is an important skill. By hiring a virtual receptionist, you can ensure that clients reach a live person when they call and receive the service they expect from a trained professional. Meanwhile, you can focus on the important job of running and growing your company.