When you think of a receptionist, pop culture images like Peggy Olson from Mad Men or Pam Beesley from The Office may come to mind. But in the digital age—and the age of alternative office space—a new breed of receptionists are rising to take the load off without all the drama. 

Virtual receptionists are nothing new—they’ve been around for many years now. You can’t find the term in the dictionary but virtual receptionists are gaining momentum in small businesses and large corporations alike because of the many “pros” these professionals offer. 

You may never know it, but when you call your doctor’s office, your accountant, or a customer support line for your favorite online store, you could be speaking with a virtual receptionist. So why are these unseen virtual secretaries gaining so much momentum in the marketplace? Here are five pros:

1. Virtual receptionists keep your distractions to a minimum:

Every business owner wants their phone to ring. But let’s face it—constantly ringing phones can be a distraction from providing the products about which customers are calling. A virtual receptionist can keep the queries moving along and the orders coming in without you lifting a finger.

2. Virtual receptionists handle more than customer service:

While not all virtual receptionists are created equal, strategic digital secretaries become an actual extension of your core group. You can train them to understand how to do more than pass along orders. You can teach them to handling executive scheduling, deal with cancellations or anything else that can be handled on the phone remotely.

3. Virtual receptionists can give you useful data about your company:

Because of the technology platform they use, virtual receptionists can serve up data that helps you understand business performance. Available reports include income call history details, promotional effort metrics and lead capture numbers.

4. Virtual receptionists help cut staffing costs:

Whether your business is seasonal or you are just starting up, virtual receptionists offer a smart option to get the help you need and keep staffing costs low. Rather than hiring a full-time employee, you can use a virtual receptionist for fewer hours and without the overhead of hiring staff.

5. Virtual receptionists can help you attain work-life balance:

Need a break? You can hire virtual receptionists on a temporary basis to take a week or two off to unwind without worrying about a backlog of customer requests when you return to the office.