1 Simple Trick to Reduce Business Costs by $35,000

For most small businesses, a full-time equivalent (FTE), in-house receptionist is cost prohibitive. The salary for one falls somewhere around $39,000 annually. And even if you opt to hire a part-time receptionist, the cost is going to be around $25,000—and the receptionist will not be available during certain work hours.

Mapping the Business Case for a Receptionist

Putting the cost aside for a moment, the reality is that few small businesses have the time to answer all of their incoming calls, emails, and other forms communications. They either give the inquiring party short shrift because they are in the midst of working on urgent projects or the let the call go through to voice mail or allow the email, instant message, or live web chat to sit unanswered until they have time to respond. In these instances, prospects and customers have little patience, with existing customers quickly becoming detractors and prospects turning to competitors.

However, there is good news for businesses that want to hire a receptionist but cannot afford to do so. Virtual receptionists provide an effective, cost-efficient alternative. Available on demand, virtual receptionists only incur cost when they are engaged. And these virtual receptionists are more than a call service; they are experts on your business—the same as in the case of a FTE receptionist but with scale and at a vastly lower cost. 

In the case of Davinci Live Receptionists, each customer is assigned to specified team of receptionists that serve a definitive number of customers. Through a rigorous onboarding process, each team is educated on the business and essentially become a virtual extension of the customer’s team. Plus, with each live receptionist team consisting of four or five team members, Davinci Live Receptionist—unlike an FTE receptionist—can scale with the ebbs and flows of the business. Plus, businesses only pay for virtual receptionists, who are available on demand, when they are engaged.

Realizing 1 Simple Trick to Reducing Cost: FTE vs. Virtual Receptionists

So, back to the original question around cost: what type of cost savings can be achieved with a virtual receptionist over an on-site FTE receptionist? The answer is 80% to 90% in many instances. 

Pricing plans for virtual receptionists like Davinci Live Receptionists are modular. Entry-level pricing starts at $99 for 50 live answer minutes per month for call answering, forwarding, and screening, voice mail management, auto receptionist, faxing, and advanced call routing and conferencing. The most expensive plan, which is billed at $319 per month, comes with all of the above plus appointment scheduling, outbound calling, order processing, and customer care. Assuming the most expensive plan, this comes to a little less than $4,000 annually—$35,000 less than a FTE receptionist or at a rate 7.75x lower.  

When compared to virtual receptionists, FTE receptionists make little sense for most small businesses. The digital economy is highly competitive, and even a few thousand dollars in savings—which can be reallocated to product development and marketing activities—can make a competitive difference. 

Understanding Why a Receptionist Is Needed

Some small businesses may balk at using a receptionist at all—FTE or virtual—believing it to be a business “perk” they don’t need. Yet, when the use cases are weighed, the benefits of a receptionist can be substantial, while the negative outcomes of not using a receptionist can be just as significant. Businesses without receptionists must be prepared to experience instances where their brand will be impacted. First impressions account—and for that matter second, third, and fourth impressions do as well. Specifically, customers who get voice mail rather than a live human, must wait on hold for a few minutes, must wait hours for a response to an email or instant message, and stuck in a lengthy live web chat queue are going to form a negative brand image. And once that impression has been made, it is extremely difficult to reverse it. 

Customer experience is just one area where virtual receptionists can benefit a business. They can also provide scale and improve productivity—handling everything from scheduling meetings, to providing administrative support, to making outbound calls. 

Another upside with virtual receptionists is that the entry point for deployment is very low: it is very easy for a business to configure and launch a virtual receptionist service. And while your competitors are busy trying to answer incoming calls, schedule meetings, file paper work, and reach out to prospects to book meetings, you can be busy cultivating relationships with customer and prospects, evolving your business to capture new revenue streams, and streamlining processes to deliver optimal service experiences for customers.


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