Virtual Receptionist vs Answering Service: The Key Differences

Help can come in a variety of forms, including hiring a full-time, in-house receptionist, signing up for a virtual answering service, or enlisting the aid of a live virtual receptionist. While your first thought may be to hire someone, this is an expensive route to go when you factor in the time and money it takes for interviewing, hiring, and training. Then, you must pay a salary with benefits. This alone can easily cost you over $40,000 per year and is simply out of reach (and unnecessary) for many small businesses. 

Affordable Alternatives to Traditional In-House Receptionists

The other two options for getting the help you need are more affordable and suitable for many businesses where the call volume isn’t high enough to warrant a full-time receptionist. 

Answering Service

An outsourced telephone answering service will route your business phone calls to a random agent who will take calls and messages to help you manage your daily customer interactions. 

Virtual Receptionist

A live, virtual receptionist is an external agent who will answer and forward calls on your behalf (and may even do other administrative tasks) just like an in-house receptionist. However, a virtual receptionist is located off-site and you only pay for a set number of “live answer minutes” rather than for a full-time salary and added benefits.

When comparing these two practical options, it’s helpful to focus on the details. For that reason, we’ve listed the similarities and differences between the two so you can finally get off the phone and back to work doing what you do best. 

Similarities Between Answering Services and Virtual Receptionists

Without a doubt, there are some similarities between an answering service and a virtual receptionist. With both options:

• Your business will take on a more professional front when you are not answering your own calls. Your clients and customers will take you more seriously as a legitimate, successful company. 

• Your customers won’t be sent directly to voicemail every time you are unavailable to answer their calls. You will have the choice of which call flow you prefer and when it will apply.

• You will enjoy higher productivity when you are allowed to focus on the important tasks of running your business, the tasks that only you can do and that other people rely on and pay you to do. 

• Your business will save money because you pay for a set amount of call minutes rather than paying for full-time receptionist’s salary. 

The DifferencesBetween Virtual Receptionists and Answering Services

Now that you know the similarities, it’s time to delve into the differences between an answering service and a virtual receptionist. 

The Amount of Interaction With (And Dedication To) Your Callers

Rather than your calls being randomly assigned to many different agents (as is done with a virtual answering service), you will be assigned a specific virtual receptionist who will handle every one of your calls. This allows your virtual receptionist to get to know your specific needs as well as the unique needs of your customers. On top of this, a virtual receptionist is dedicated to only a set amount of accounts, which allows for a higher level of service than a call center.

The Extent of Personalization

Having a virtual receptionist gives you the opportunity to customize your greetings, your call flow, and the services you offer your clients over the phone (such as taking orders and setting appointments). Your virtual receptionist will know you, your brand, and your company culture. This allows them to properly handle even difficult calls for a frictionless client interaction every time.

Virtual receptionists are also explicitly trained on how to deal with instances of robocalls and spoofing. These phony calls disrupt legitimate business communication, waste time that would otherwise be used productively, and can confuse customers. However, your virtual receptionist will screen these calls and take proper action to handle them effectively. 

The Availability of Industry-Specific Expertise

If you need an industry-specific solution to your customer service needs, an industry-specific virtual receptionist can meet those needs. Available specialties include:

• Legal

• Healthcare

• Professional Consultants 

• Advertising and Media

• Finance and Real Estate

• Service (construction, repair, etc.)

By having a trained and skilled virtual receptionist on the other end of your clients’ phone calls, you can feel good knowing the correct information is being given, privacy is maintained, and the law is being upheld.

The Option of Additional Virtual Receptionist Services

Keeping on top of all the administrative tasks that come with running a business adds a significant amount of time to your day, time that you simply don’t have. 

When that happens, having a virtual receptionist on your side can save the day, time and time again. Whether you need to schedule appointments or deliveries, make calls, handle live web chats, or gather payment or billing information, having the option available can be just the thing you need to keep your business on track.

Professional Virtual Receptionists with Davinci

In truth, there isn’t much comparison between an outsourced telephone answering service and Davinci’s highly qualified and professional virtual receptionists. In instances when your small business simply needs more help managing call flow, you will want someone who will represent your company seamlessly every time. You and your customers both deserve it.

Contact Davinci today to get started!


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