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Davinci Virtual Blog



11 Top Qualities Live Virtual Receptionists Must Have-and How You Can Benefit

Small businesses and solopreneurs can gain measurable benefits using live virtual receptionists. Admit it. You’re professional and personal lives are stretched—sometimes to a breaking point. A recent study by Gallup of small business owners found that 39 percent report working over 60 hours every week. Thirty-six percent work six days a week, with 21 percent indicating they work seven days a week.

It makes sense that small business owners should look to live virtual receptionists. Often available on-demand, live virtual receptionists enable small business owners to focus on their business while outsourcing administrative functions such as answering—and where appropriate routing—incoming calls, texts, emails, and live web chat. 

Not only does this increase productivity, but it ensures that your prospects and customers receive virtual real-time engagement—getting their questions answered and their problems resolved. In the case of the latter, too many phone calls simply aren’t answered—62 percent according to one study. In addition to frustrating customers and driving down satisfaction and loyalty, unanswered calls can directly impact sales. 

Beyond impacting inbound communications, live virtual receptionists also can help small businesses become more proactive in their outreach to customers and prospects. In this case, live virtual receptionists can be used for targeted sales and marketing call campaigns and outreach to facilitate customer service interactions or advocacy activities. 

The good news is that accessing and engaging with live virtual receptionists has never been easier. Live receptionist services like Davinci Live Receptionists provide small business owners with a low entry point as well as the ability to scale to accommodate business growth and fluctuations in incoming calls, email, text, and live web chat. 

So, now that you’re convinced that you need a live virtual receptionist services, what are some of the things that you should seek in a provider? Following are 11 traits of a good live receptionist against which you can evaluate your options:

1. Reliable and Available

It is critical that they reliable and available. Many customers and prospects simply will not call back if their call goes unanswered or if they are put into a long queue. Studies show you have less than 75 seconds to engage before callers hang up and go elsewhere. Additionally, even in instances where the call is answered, one in five callers will abandon the call. Make sure your live virtual receptionists answer calls in near real time and make the seconds count. 

2. Knowledge of Your Business

Fielding an incoming call or initiating a live web chat are meaningless activities unless your live virtual receptionist understands your business. Customers and prospects will become frustrated very quickly if your live virtual receptionists cannot answer their questions, route them to the right person, enable them to self-serve by finding the right information, or resolve their issue. 

3. Resourcefulness

Memorable interactions translate into positive customer experiences. Live virtual receptionists must understand your business and keep their pulse on the issues confronting your customers. Rather than simply taking messages and forwarding calls, live virtual receptionists take a vested interest in your customers and roll up their sleeves to help them answer their questions and solve their problems. 

4. Versatile and Agile

Live virtual receptionists often serve numerous customers representing varying industries. In these instances, they must be able to quickly and seamlessly transition between customers with widely diverging questions and issues. They absorb best practices and lessons learned, applying them across each of the accounts they serve.

5. Communications Skills

Verbal and written communications skills are a requisite for a live virtual receptionist. Whether speaking with a customer to resolve a service issue over the phone, chatting with a prospect about your products or services over live web chat, or following up with a customer who called the day before about the status of an order, live virtual receptionists must possess excellent communications skills to be successful.

6. Brand Advocates

Live virtual receptionists are often the entry point to your business and those initial interactions have lasting brand impressions. Serving as ambassadors for your brand, live virtual receptionists need to be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about your business and industry.

7. Organized

Live virtual assistants must juggle between a lot of different customers, service and sales scenarios, and tasks that necessitate someone who is organized and able to make quick sense of all of these nuances. Live virtual assistants who lack organizational skills simply cannot keep up with the pace and will falter and fall behind—often dropping the ball or delivering subpar engagement experiences. 

8. Multitask

The concept of doing one thing at a time, doing it well, and then moving on simply doesn’t exist in the digital world. Rather, live virtual receptionists must be able to multitask—serving one customer on the phone while chatting with two others in live web chat sessions.

9. Business Savvy

Not every customer or prospect interaction goes well, and here live virtual receptionists need to know when a call needs to be escalated to higher tier support. Understanding when to escalate a customer interaction from one engagement channel to another is also important (e.g., transition from live web chat to phone).

10. Resilient

It isn’t easy to serve on the front lines when it comes to customer service or sales support. Some calls, live web chats, and email exchanges simply don’t go well. Customers are impatient and don’t want to listen and prospects window shop and lack serious interest. This can be disheartening to some and impact their work. Thus, it is important to look for virtual live receptionists who are resilient and able to quickly pivot from a negative engagement and deliver a great engagement experience for the next customer on the phone or in a live web chat session.

11. Motivated

Some live virtual receptionists work from their home offices, while others work from physical office locations with other live virtual receptionists. In either case, you need professionals who are self-motivated and willing to go the extra mile to find an answer or discover the solution to a problem. 

One key takeaway from the above list is that soft skills—those that aren’t learned—are as critical or more critical than hard skills when it comes to live virtual receptionists. Understanding how your live virtual receptionist provider selects candidates for their team and how they evaluate them on an ongoing basis is important. Those that place a higher primacy on soft skills are likely to be the ones that deliver the best results.



10 Tips for Managing Your Remote Team While Running Your Consulting Business

Technological advances and digital platforms have led to an increase in remote teams. Across industries and countries, companies have realized that the best talent isn’t necessarily located in the same place as they are, and instead of having to convince professionals to move from one place to another, companies are now hiring individuals regardless of where they are. 

The same goes for smaller companies. And although working remotely allows you to work with the best available professionals, it does pose some unique challenges to companies, as managing a remote team is very different than managing an in-office one. 

If you are an entrepreneur or a manager in a consulting business, dealing with a remote team can seem daunting, but if done correctly, managing a remote team can strengthen you as a company. 

10 Tips To Manage Your Remote Team

1. Engage in Small Talk

Though it might seem counterproductive, it’s important that you engage in small talk with your remote employees. When working remotely, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just talking about what needs to get done and by when. However, a key part to a strong company is a strong company-culture, and in order to build yours from a distance you need to build rapport with your team members. One way to do this and get to know people is through small talk.

2. Embrace Video

Humans communicate both verbally and non-verbally, which is why video is important during meetings as it makes it easier for you to gauge and see how people feel and respond to tasks, responsibilities, and criticism. Additionally, using video is a great way to ensure that people pay attention and don’t multitask while in a meeting. 

3. Have one on one meetings

You need to get to know your remote team members, and it’s easier to truly get to know someone during a one on one conversation, as people are more likely to open up this way than in a shared environment or conversation. Additionally, one on one meetings give you the opportunity to cover a wide array of topics, and it can help you to guide your team members and teach them a thing or two. 

4. Set Clear Rules and Responsibilities

There is no place for micromanaging in remote teams, which means you need to clearly establish what each person’s responsibilities are and who they respond to. You also need to set clear rules regarding how communication will be handled and the appropriate channels of communication are. 

5. Connectivity

Use existing platforms to connect the entire team and keep everyone in the loop on what is going on, what each person is working on, and how they are moving along. It’s important that team members feel part of a team and being able to track each other’s progress can greatly help your team members bond and connect with one another.

6. Use Emojis

This might sound crazy, but with remote teams most of the communication is done via messaging or email, and it’s hard to read a person’s tone in writing, especially if you don’t interact with them a lot in person. Some people are dry, some are sarcastic, and some like writing a whole lot, one way  to ensure people read your message in the tone intended is by using emojis. 

7. Be Flexible

You have to understand that remote workers can be spread out across the world, so make sure you are flexible in terms of scheduling and working hours. This is one of the reasons why it’s crucial that  you have a clear set of ground rules and responsibilities, that way each person can hold themselves accountable, regardless of what time zone they are in. 

8. Hire Leaders

Like we said, there is no room for micromanaging in remote teams. It’s impossible for you to be in two places at the same time, so you need to make sure you hire the right people. Successful remote workers are leaders, people that work well by themselves, and are proactive about things. You need someone that is self-driven and motivated, otherwise, much of your time and energy will be spent in asking how things are moving along and if they’ve had time to do X, Y, or Z. 

9. Company Swag

It’s a small thing, but giving your remote team members something with your company name on can greatly increase their sense of belonging. Whether it’s a coffee mug, a notebook, pens, or even stickers, send them company swag every now and then. It will create a bond between them and the company and they will feel proud of the work they do. 

10. Get Together In Person

This is something all remote teams need to do at least once a year. Video and constant messaging still don’t make up for face to face interactions and the conversations and bonding that happen when you are physically sharing a space with another person. Moreover, it’s during these meetings that company culture is strength and loyalty is built. It doesn’t have to be a huge or fancy event, and it doesn’t have to last a week. It’s just about spending time together and formally placing a face to a name.


How Live Web Chat Can Benefit Your Law Firm

Running a law firm in the digital age isn’t easy. Not only do you need to serve your existing clients, but you must be on the constant lookout for new clients. How these clients—prospective and existing—want to engage with you varies. For prospective clients, some may prefer to make a call and engage directly with you or a member of your staff. Others may conduct online research and reconnoiter details on your firm from your website and what clients say about you on review sites like Yelp. 

When it comes your existing clients, they also want multiple engagement options—phone, email, online self-service, live web chat, and text. Rarely does one engagement channel suffice, but rather they want to engage with you at any time, on any device through their channel of choice.

In most cases, your website serves as the entry point. You need to ensure that it offers visitors engagement options—an online knowledgebase for those wanting to self-serve, contact links for email, phone, and text, and a static live web chat button. Live web chat has quickly become a preferred engagement option of many, and this includes those seeking legal services. 

Why Law Firms Should Use Live Web Chat

So, why should a law firm use live web chat? Following are some of the reasons a law firm should add live web chat to their website—or even their emails and Facebook page:

1. First impressions count.

Research shows that professional and personal impressions happen in seconds. A study of U.S. consumers finds that nearly 60% will never buy from a vendor if the first call to a company’s customer service live wasn’t handled correctly. And once a bad impression happens, it is virtually impossible to change it—regardless of what you do. 

Prior to the digital age, the initial customer contact was quite predictable. That is no longer true. They want multiple engagement options, and live web chat is frequently cited at or near the very top of the list. When clients want to engage with law firms when investigating potential legal options or seeking legal advice, there is no difference; they want multiple engagement choices, and live web chat is often preferred by many.

2. Better, more efficient client support.

Existing clients don’t always require a live call to get their questions answered—from billing questions to requests for emails and documentation. In these instances, live web chat enables them to gain quick answers and responses via a much cheaper engagement channel for the law firm. And with live web chat not available on many law firm sites, providing clients with that option can serve as a competitive differentiator.

3. Lead engagement and conversion.

Often, prospective clients visiting your website cannot locate what they need. Growing numbers are averse to picking up their phone and simply depart—and never come back. With proactive live web chat, law firms can engage with these prospects and answer their questions before they leave your website. This enables you to increase lead engagement, which ultimately improves conversion rates. 

4. Lower sales and marketing costs.

Live web chat possesses efficiencies over phone sales and support in two ways. One the one hand, live web chat agents can typically chat with three or four clients concurrent. Thus, rather than pushing clients into an on-hold queue as in the case of phone support, 3x or 4x more clients can go directly into engagement with live web chat. On the other hand, in addition to engaging with more clients, the cost per engagement for lower for live web chat as compared to phone.

How Law Firms Can Use Live Web Chat

There are various factors that law firms need to consider when employing live web chat on their websites: 

1. Ensure compliance with American Bar Association (ABA) online ethics.

The ABA has outlined various online ethical rules for law firms. There are a few concerns that law firms need to make sure are covered in their live web chat practices. First, digital content—including that provided via live web chat—could be misunderstood or misconstrued by a prospective or existing client as legal advice. Second, as live web chat interactions are often stored, sometimes with a time limit and in other instances without, the digital live web chat interaction could comprise an attorney’s commitment to confidentiality. 

The ABA stipulates that attorneys provide updated content contained only general information. When it comes to confidentiality of information, law firms need to ensure that their live web chat provider abides with cybersecurity standards, uses encryption, and conducts regular penetration testing. Any breach of data could be construed as a breach in client confidentiality. (It’s safest to say, when in doubt, consult an attorney with online domain expertise.)

Other actions that a law firm should take with live web chat include:

• Disclaimers. Include disclaimers as part of the pre-chat qualification process. These warnings and cautionary statements can help ensure that liabilities are avoided.

• Limits of interaction. Set up reasonable expectations with clients as part of the pre-chat qualification workflow as well as train your live web chat agents to warn clients that the live web chat exchange, unless indicated otherwise, should not be construed as legal advice. 

• Advertising and marketing. Law firms can make statements comparing other legal services, about the character or quality of your legal services, and testimonials from clients or former clients. They cannot, depending on the circumstances, use live web chat to solicit legal services for prospective clients.

• Duties of competence. Law firms need to be cautious when responding to questions outside of their areas of practice.

• Communications with opposing party. Law firms cannot communicate with an opposing party—and this includes via live web chat. 

• Location jurisdiction. Law firms cannot answer legal questions in states where their attorneys aren’t authorized to practice law. 

2. Use static live web chat.

Ensuring clients can initiate a chat session on their own is important. Thus, “Chat Now” buttons need to be place in appropriate areas on your website.

3. Proactive live web chat.

When prospective or existing clients are on your website and cannot locate the information they need, seconds count and having static live web chat buttons aren’t sufficient. In these instances, proactive live web chat can reduce bounce rates and improve lead capture and conversion rates. 

4. Offline forms.

While a law firm may elect to use a 24/7 hosting provider that provides around-the-world hosted live web chat (or even staff live web chat 24/7 with an internal resource, albeit an expensive decision), many law firms may elect to provide live web chat support during business hours or for a specific time frame (viz., non-24/7 support). In these instances, law firms need to ensure they have offline forms set up to capture client questions and messages to which they can respond upon resuming operations the next day.

5. Pre-chat qualification.

Not every incoming live web chat is the same. By soliciting select information via a pre-chat qualification form, law firms can determine if the inquiry can be handled by a live web chat agent or if it should be routed via phone. In other instances, law firms can answer or provide clients with the information they need without even initiating a live web chat session.

6. Canned answers and responses.

Certain phrases and answers and responses get used repeatedly across live web chat engagements. Many live web chat solutions allow for the preloading of canned phrases, answers, and responses that engagement agents can easily identify in an index and use in a chat interaction. This improves response times and productivity while ensuring answers to questions are compliant with ethical and legal standards.

7. Mobile support.

The percent of live web chat sessions initiated from mobile devices continues to rise. As clients want to engage with law firms on their device of choice, law firms need to ensure their live web chat solutions are mobile friendly. 

8. Notifications and transfers.

Sometimes, questions and issues posed to law firms can be easily answered and resolved. But this isn’t always the case. Here, law firms can set up notifications that help them escalate chat engagements that aren’t producing an anticipated resolution to other live chat agents with the expertise needed.

9. Hybrid chat: machine (virtual agents) + human.

Some live web chat providers offer solutions that combine virtual chat agents (machine) along with live humans. In addition to enabling clients to answer questions and resolve issues without initiating a chat with a live human, virtual chat agents can help law firms to pre-qualify prospective and existing clients before passing them to a live human chat agent. 

10. Integration.

Forcing clients to repeat information as they move from one engagement channel (e.g., from live web chat to phone, email to live web chat, etc.) can be a showstopper. Indeed, needing to repeat information when transitioning to a new support agent is often cited as the number-one engagement irritant. As a result, law firms need to demonstrate due diligence when vetting live web chat solutions to ensure that they integrate with other engagement options (phone, email, text, virtual agents).



Why Coworking Operators Should Monetize Virtual Office Addresses

Although coworking spaces started off by being open-plan shared workspaces, coworking has grown and evolved since its early days back in 2008. 

In response to market demands and needs, coworking spaces now offer private offices, dedicated desks, hot-desking options, meeting rooms, and specialized services and amenities. Yet, there is one key service that coworking operators have failed to embrace: virtual offices. Offering virtual offices can prove to be a smart and strategic business decision for coworking operators. 

Coworking spaces tend to be located in coveted locations and operators should leverage their address and existing infrastructure to provide virtual office services to workspace members and non members alike in order to increase their revenue and grow their business. 

Most people and companies use virtual offices as a means to establish a presence in a new market or in the hopes of portraying a more professional image. More often than not, these people already have offices or work from home, which means that they won’t be using your physical workspace. That’s where the name “virtual” office comes from; people pay to use an address, not to use a desk or meeting room (although some virtual office “packages” do include a limited amount of time to use a desk or meeting room). 

It’s an easy way coworking operators can increase their revenue, as they won’t need to add any infrastructure or undergo any sort of workplace renovation or design; which means the added service will come at little or no cost at all. An additional benefit, other than revenue generation, is that virtual office users could easily become full time coworking members, especially if the person using the service tends to work from home. In other words, you are generating high-quality traffic for your space, as you can know for sure that these people are interested in the types of solutions you offer. 

So, to answer the question: why should you monetize virtual offices? It’s a great opportunity to increase your revenue, operate at a profit, and find new, qualified potential members of your space. You already have the infrastructure in place: you have a location, you have the people, and you have the necessary technology needed to run this type of operation. All that is left to do is for you to take advantage of it and monetize it successfully. 

Let Davinci assist you with your Virtual Office needs, or your Coworking needs. 


8 Ways a Live Virtual Receptionist Will Make Your Office More Efficient

Davinci Virtual Live Receptionist services will help your business thrive in today's fast-paced work environement. Give yourself the freedom and time to do the things you need to, and we'll take care of the rest! Click here to learn more! 

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