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4 Reasons to Go Virtual Versus In-House for Receptionists and Assistants

One of the biggest challenges facing many small businesses today is the lack of time and resources. Both are finite and the lack of one or both can impede a company’s ability to grow and expand. Recognizing virtual receptionists can help them overcome these obstacles, as rapidly growing numbers of small businesses are embracing virtual receptionists. Some of the issues small businesses seek to solve include:

  • Cannot afford a full-time receptionist
  • Do not want to assume tax and benefit responsibilities for full-time staff
  • Unable to be available 24×7
  • Managing schedules is time-consuming and complex
  • Need for the flexibility to scale up and scale down resources

 

With the help of virtual receptionists (or assistants), small businesses can focus on building their businesses and delivering great solutions and services for their customers rather than spending valuable time on administrative tasks. In addition, the potential use cases for virtual receptionists are much broader in scope than for in-house receptionists.

A side-by-side comparison of Davinci Live Receptionists to in-house receptionists evinces some important differentiators. The takeaway: the aggregate is much greater than an individual contributor.

  1. Collective approach. One advantage is our team approach. Dedicated teams of Live Receptionist professionals are experts on the products and services of the customers for which they serve. Their collective experience and knowledge is a greater multiplier over in-house staff (team compared to one individual).
  2. Business agility. Because an entire team of professionals is trained on each of our customer’s products and services, Davinci customers have the ability to scale up and down to flexibly accommodate shifts in business requirements. With Davinci Live Receptionist Services, small businesses suddenly achieve the agility of a large business without assuming any of the same risks.
  3. Professional capabilities. The Davinci Live Receptionist team is trained in a wide range of business capabilities. For example, rarely—if ever—is an in-house assistant capable of handling outbound sales calls in addition to answering calls. But in the case of our professional team, managing outbound sales calls is a proven capability across a wide range of industries.
  4. Mentoring, quality control. We take employee development very seriously and created a skills-based and career-path staffing model that allows us to recruit, train, and retain champion professionals. Our Davinci Live Receptionist team graduates through a multi-tier development program. Throughout this entire process, our professionals are coached and mentored as well as evaluated on their performance in serving our customers’ prospects and customers. This highly structured approach simply cannot be replicated in a small business environment where the receptionist/assistant is one person who works in a silo.

 

Hundreds of small businesses across the United States experience the benefits of Davinci Live Receptionist Services every day, and their great reviews have made us the best provider for over a decade now. For more information on Davinci Live Receptionist Services and how our team of professionals can help your small business, visit www.davincivirtual.com/live-receptionists.

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Small Business Tips for the Healthcare Industry

For small businesses, managing finances, controlling costs, securing funding, and making budgets stretch is one of the biggest keys to successful business growth. Even the best ideas and business models will be limited by how well their owners do with the company’s financial matters. At Davinci our products are geared toward helping business owners save money without sacrificing quality in their customer service and responsiveness. We help businesses to be more flexible, more available, and more professional as they grow. But what about funding? At some point most businesses need help raising funds, and in some business sectors there can be very specific challenges.

One of the industries where we have many active clients is in the healthcare industry. Private practices use our live receptionists for their answering service to help them stay organized and in touch with their patients. Individual healthcare professionals have learned that virtual assistant services are a big help in their daily routines. But when it comes time to get funding, there are often a lot of obstacles. Some healthcare professionals turn to conventional business loans from a bank, but in recent years the rise of healthcare-focused lending programs has really helped the industry grow.

Many of these lenders that focus solely on healthcare lending, such as the Bankers Healthcare Group, or BHG, know exactly what challenges healthcare professionals face and will tailor their loans to fit the specific needs that the industry demands. These niche lenders are faster, provide a more personalized product, and are prepared to deal with the changing healthcare industry environment.

Other industries have their own niche lenders as well. If you’re a small business owner and are looking for funding, it’s worth investigating what sorts of options exist among lenders who target your specific business sector. So while you save money and time with our virtual office services, make sure you find equally beneficial options when it comes to lending.

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The Paradox of Productivity Pacing: When ‘Sun & Fun’ Gets In the Way

It’s summertime and the calling of the cool breezes at the beach, with a Pina Colada (or two) in hand, is roaring at you. You worked your tail off the first half of the year, and the all-important 4th quarter is just around the corner, when you need to buckle down and squeeze out all the productivity and profits that you can, which will have a big say in how successful a calendar year you achieved at work, or in your business.

If you don’t enjoy the best, relaxing weather of the summer now – and pace yourself to recharge and reinvigorate for the rest of the year – you might be missing the boat, and pay for it by dragging to the finish line come November and December,right? Well…maybe not.

The trick to staying refreshed and sufficiently focused year-round is to catch your breath periodically throughout the year, rather than bunch it up for a big splash in the summer. Binging on anything – including the work-intense periods, followed by picking a big chunk of summertime for binge-leisure, may not be the most productive and fulfilling way to pace one’s self at work throughout the year.

The great leaders, innovators and artists throughout time had an uncanny ability to find the right pacing and balance between productive-work and leisure year-round. Their level of energy, and the bank of intense and creative working ability always seemed ready for tapping when called upon.These leaders recognized that leisure recharging, and even enjoyment immersion, wasn’t something to be left for just the summer months, when it’s probably easiest to let things slide and drift a bit, and then conveniently blame it on the sunny, blissful weather.

Picking your spots to enjoy maximum leisure and re-energizing should be an ongoing objective throughout the year. Leaving it for the summer leaves the door open for Spring-drag….getting to the summertime finish line in May and June a tad unfocused – the way many of us used to during our school years, when we were aching for the summer break. It’s a real risk that leaves the door open for errors, oversights and cutting corners at work in anticipation of the big summer wind-down.

Finally, there’s actually a ‘productivity paradox’ in play when it comes to taking it easy for the summer, or any period throughout the year, for that matter. When does one accomplish more? When things are slow, or when they’re perking up, and all is moving at a more frenetic pace?

I know for many, it’s a slam-dunk answer: they thrive at being productive and jumping ahead when there’s little interruption – so they forge ahead with their workload during early-morning, evening or weekend hours when they have to deal with less interfacing with others and can concentrate on yielding more quality and productive work. Later, they can exercise more routine pacing and cruise controls during the course of the day and work-week, and are better equipped to deal with life’s (and work’s) inevitable curve balls.

Which gets us back to the premise – maybe we should use the slower, less frenetic summer time to make greater strides to jump ahead instead of giving into the temptation of de-focusing — as part of a master plan and philosophy to be optimally charged and focused year-round. Maybe it’s best to use the summer time when others are de-intensifying to get more mileage out of pushing ahead, and out-pacing the field of colleagues and competitors. That’s what many winners do. After all, what takes one hour of focus and productivity during off hours can sometimes take 3-4 hours, or longer to achieve during peak hours.

The real trick is ‘Moderation’ and not overdoing the focus-out during the summer; spreading the reinvigorating and recharging respites during the year; and wisely using the slower, uninterrupted times during the day week, month or year to leap ahead, so that the crunch times are more tolerable, and one’s better prepared to innovate and problem-solve again, all in more evenly-paced Moderation.

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions offers a wide variety of tools to improve productivity. To learn more visit us today! www.davincivirtual.com and www.davincimeetingrooms.com

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Interesting Things Are Happening [Infographic]

The internet is steam rolling a path for a new kind of company. Consumers are becoming accustomed to the instant gratification model. They are in control of when and where and what they want to purchase. Interesting things are happening.

To Share Infographic, use this image:

Interesting Things Are Happening Infographic

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Making First Impressions Count: 9 Factors for Consideration

In his best-selling book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell finds that first impressions—whether professional or personal—happen in a matter of seconds.[1] Individuals connect with other people and companies based on their initial perception. Further, getting beyond that experience is nearly impossible once the connection is made. Indeed, research shows that first impressions even overrule facts in the lasting perceptions a person has of another person or business.[2]

In a Matter of Seconds

Twenty-years ago, first impressions meant the first human-to-human interaction—either voice or face to face. But technology created a complete disruption. It started with the Age of the Internet and then expanded to include any number of engagement channels, including through different devices.

The amount of time it takes someone to form a digital first impression is just a fast—if not more so—than through voice and face to face. Indeed, studies show that a website’s first impression takes less than five seconds. And while conscious decisions may take a bit longer, subconscious decisions may even take place in less those five seconds.

All Business Sizes

When it comes to the size of a business, what applies to large or even medium-size companies also applies to small businesses. Further, outside of a handful of more expensive engagement channels such as television or radio ads, the breadth of factors a small business must consider is virtually the same.

Small businesses that understand how to leverage the full range of both traditional and digital engagement channels generate better outcomes than those that do not.

The reality is that prospects and customers want to interact with brands anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The proof is in the results: digitally engaged small businesses are more than twice as likely as those with low levels or no digital engagement to be growing.[3]

A Checklist of 9 Factors

Tackling these can be a daunting challenge for a small business that is already stretched in meeting existing customer needs. Understanding the basic checklist and turning to third-party providers for help in the right places can go a long way for a small business. The following are the most important factors a small business needs to ensure it has checked off.

  1. A company’s name, logo, tagline, and core messaging must resonate with prospects and customers. They must exude trust and confidence to engender a connection.
  1. Seventy-five percent of people—B2C and B2B—make judgments about a company’s credibility based on the design of the website.[4] Those that are perceived as great looking are also perceived as usable and trustworthy.
  1. Social Media. Social media is a must-have for businesses. Prospects and customers will inevitably engage with companies through their social channels. For example, 80 percent of consumers look at online reviews before making purchase decisions.

There are a few quick tips that will make social engagement effective for small businesses: a) connect social with CRM systems to track engagement with prospects and customers, b) integrate social into other channels such as the website, emails, and other marketing and customer service platforms, c) use social to generate leads by monitoring and responding to prospect buying signals, and d) leverage social to monitor and respond to potential customer service issues.

  1. A company is perceived as a thought leader when it provides prospects and customers with content that engages and educates. And because every prospect and customer does not have the same requirements and pain points, a one-size-fits-all content approach may not always work for a small business. Providing prospects and customers with a personalized content experience, whereby they are offered content based on their online behavior and known business requirements can make that first impression even more impressive.
  1. An overwhelming number of customers search the Web before making a purchasing decision. For B2B searches, prospects do not engage vendor until they are 70 percent through the decision-making process. It therefore is critical that companies are found. Websites must be search friendly and have SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities such as domain redirection, a site map, a unique title, a phone number and local address, among other elements.
  1. Thirteen percent of the world’s population will access the Internet from their smartphones only this year. That represents more than 1 billion people.[5] Whether it is mobile or tablet devices or even wearables, B2C and B2B customers assume they will have an omnichannel experience.

Here, small businesses need to ensure their websites have responsive design for desktop, tablet, and mobile engagement. They may even want to offer an app—which is different than a mobile website—in certain instances.

  1. Small businesses are not always available to take calls from customers. And hiring a dedicated employee or team of employees to field inbound calls may not be the most effective—in terms of results and cost—strategy.

Going with a third-party provider such as Davinci Live Receptionist Service allows small businesses to have the voice of a big company. Able to take both inbound sales and service calls, the Davinci Live Receptionist Service team provides not one dedicated individual but a dedicated team that can scale to meet new business requirements.

  1. Live Chat. The online window to win or lose a prospect or customer is less than 90 seconds—and technology disruption continues to shrink this window.[6] While offering them customized content and a voice option, this often is not enough. Millennials (or the “Digital-Only Generation) prefer to engage with each other and their vendors through digital channels. Here, more than 75 percent prefer live web chat instead over voice.

Like voice, this is another area where small businesses should consider a third-party provider. Davinci Live Web Chat enables a small business to leverage the same team of dedicated experts providing the Live Receptionist Service when a prospect or customer opts to chat. And if the need arises to transfer the engagement from live web chat to voice, it is a seamless experience.

  1. Analytics and Business Intelligence. The fact that prospects and customers engage with small businesses across a number of different channels and devices means the magnitude of data captured from those interactions increases significantly. But this data is only good if it is used. Understanding that information in both aggregate and segmented forms can provide valuable insights on the first impressions prospects and customers gain and how best to improve those.

Davinci’s approach is to look at data across each of the different engagement channels—from web, to voice, to live web chat—and to provide actionable insights to our customers. Our integrated Live Receptionist Service and Live Web Chat approach makes this a seamless experience. Davinci Live Receptionist Service and Live Web Chat First impressions count. This is why we created Davinci Live Receptionist Service and Live Web Chat. Check out how Live Receptionist Service and Live Web Chat might be a fit for your business.


Resources

[1] A study by Princeton psychologists claims that first impressions take even less than a few seconds (Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov, “First Impressions: Making Up Your Mind After a 100-Ms Exposure to a Face,” Psychology Science 17 [July, 2006], 592-98). Rather, it finds judgments are made in a matter of a tenth of a second.

[2] “First Impressions: When Appearances Matter,” Society for Personality and Social Psychology,” February 13, 2014.

[3]

Connected Small Businesses: How Australian Small Businesses Are Growing in the Digital Economy,” Deloitte Access Economics, 2013.

[4]

Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility,” Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, June 2012.

[5]

Global Mobile 2014 Survey,” IDG Global Solutions, January 24, 2015.

[6]

Connecting with Customers,” LivePerson, November 19, 2013.

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