The Biggest Problems Solved by a Virtual Receptionist
Solopreneurs and small businesses have overflowing plates. It is difficult for them to keep up with the demands they face. And if they are not careful, they can find themselves spending most of their time answering incoming calls and responding to texts and emails. Add the responsibilities of personal lives—getting kids to school, music lessons, and to before- and after-school activities, running errands, scheduling time to spend with your partner—and things can become very hectic and stressful for small business owners and solopreneurs.
These can quickly and easily cascade into a series of interconnected challenges—poor customer experiences, scheduling snafus, and unproductivity. Virtual receptionists such as Davinci Live Receptionist offer a great solution, however. Yet, too few businesses recognize their value and fail to utilize them. Understanding the use cases of virtual receptionists and the challenges they help solve is an important starting point.
1. Lower Cost
For businesses that have a full-time or part-time receptionist, the cost is substantial. The salary for an onsite, full-time equivalent (FTE) falls somewhere around $39,000 annually. And even if you hire a part-time receptionist, the cost is still going to exceed $25,000—and they are not available all the time. Virtual receptionists offer an immensely better cost option—typically 80 to 90 percent cheaper than an FTE receptionist. You only pay for them when their services are required, and—unlike an FTE—you don’t need to worry about benefits and unemployment insurance and all the paper work involved. Plus, assuming you choose the right provider, the virtual receptionists come fully trained and are managed by the provider.
It is important to note one more issue when looking for a virtual receptionist: look for a provider that includes automated telephone system that handles incoming calls and routes them to voicemail or the most appropriate person on the team. Specifically, when the automated receptionist is integrated with the virtual receptionist, additional cost efficiencies are gained.
2. Improved Professionalism
First impressions—or for that matter second, third, fourth, and so on—count. Solopreneurs and small business leaders are busy, and incoming phone calls, email, and text often do not arrive at the most opportune moments. Providing a professional communications interface enables businesses to deliver the experiences customers, prospects, and third-party vendors expect. Pushing urgent and business-critical inquiries into a holding queue or voice mail, routing a call to the wrong person on the team, and letting email and text accumulate cob webs make for terrible first impressions and can easily and quickly reverse positive impressions of existing customers and partners.
3. Better Customer Experiences and Service
Digitization of nearly every business process has dramatically changed customer expectations. Customers demand omnichannel sales and service experiences, and they expect rapid responses regardless of the channel—phone, email, live web chat, or text. Businesses—and this includes small businesses—that fail to provide them with the ability to communicate over the digital channel of their choosing and with their device they want place themselves at a competitive disadvantage and are very likely losing transactions and customers. Virtual receptionists enable businesses to lower the bar when it comes to digital engagement; they can offer the same experiences as large enterprises.
But not every virtual receptionist service covers multiple channels nor has the right technology tools in place to offer seamless experiences (e.g., the ability to move across form factors—from live web chat to phone). Thus, when looking for virtual receptionist provider, it is critical that businesses ensure the provider offers multichannel capabilities and has the right back-end technologies in place.
4. Answering Calls, Emails, Texts, and Live Web Chat
Any business that believes customers will wait until they are able to get back to them is mistaken. In addition to being able to engage over any channel and with any device whenever they want, customers expect responses in minutes or even seconds—everything from order processing, to questions about products or services, to customer support. For solopreneurs and small businesses, this is almost impossible in most instances. They are too busy running their business. But with a virtual receptionist, this isn’t an issue. Of course, not every virtual receptionist provider is equipped to handle multiple channels, and thus business leaders need to choose their provider carefully.
5. Scheduling Meetings and Calls
Scheduling meetings and calls and managing a packed calendar isn’t easy. But it can be with a virtual receptionist. Businesses leaders can offload these time-intensive tasks to a virtual receptionist so they can focus on running the business. Virtual receptionists can manage the logistics of the calendar, book rented meeting rooms, arrange for catering services, prepare agendas, and send pre- and post-meeting communications to attendees.
6. Administrative Support
The administrative tasks for a business can pile up quickly. Sorting through mountains of emails and paperwork and dealing with issues related to faxing, shipping, accounts payable, accounts receivable, tax and business filings, and insurance forms can sap the energy and time of even the best professional. Virtual receptionists can help shrink this pile of administrative tasks, saving business leaders countless hours of mind-numbing work while helping them to focus on things that matter.
7. Outbound Sales and Service Outreach
Just as inbound communications can consume a huge amount of time, so can outbound communications. Whether the work is ongoing or additional bandwidth is needed for a specified amount of time to address a spike in orders or customer support issues or to cover for someone on the team who is out of the office temporarily (personal time office, health, family emergencies or deaths), a virtual receptionist can be a great resource. When it comes to outbound sales and service communications—phone, text, or email—virtual receptionists can provide the scale a small business needs. And with most businesses experiencing peaks and valleys, an on-demand virtual receptionist is a much better cost option than a FTE receptionist.
8. Become More Productive
Interruptions can compile very quickly when all the phone calls, texts, emails, and live web chats are tallied up. But it is more than just the time required to answer the call, text, email, or live web chat. In a past blog post, I noted that it takes 20 minutes for a professional to get back on track after being interrupted. This is a huge time expenditure when you think about the number of times a solopreneur or small business stops to answer a call, email, text, or live web chat. Virtual receptionists are the buffer, answering many of them without involvement and routing those that are important to the right person on the team.
Explore in greater detail how virtual receptionists can reduce cost, improve customer service, and enhance productivity by downloading a copy of “Davinci Live Receptionists Solutions: Connecting with Your Prospects and Customers.”