Virtual receptionist services are a superb way to make your business more efficient and increase its profitability.
They can also be used as a replacement for a call center agency services, allowing you to reduce costs while still providing the same level of service.
Given their unmatched support in running a business, the global virtual receptionist service market is expected to reach $25 billion by 2029.
Although all the signs point toward hiring virtual receptionists, you should know the types of services they offer and choose the ones that fit your needs before settling on one.
Spoiler alert: when it comes to the virtual receptionist price, there’s an option to fit everyone’s budget — as you’ll see below!
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Types of Services Virtual Receptionists Provide
Virtual receptionists offer a unique approach to getting more out of your everyday business operations.
They can answer calls, take messages, and even make appointments.
A virtual receptionist service can help you increase customer satisfaction by reducing the time it takes to respond to customers’ questions or requests.
Usually, these are the top features any virtual receptionist provider offers:
What is an answering service without having anyone answer the calls? If you don’t have in-house staff to handle calls, virtual receptionists provide a way for customers to get in touch with your business.
They answer calls and direct them to the right person, providing information about products and services, the location of your business, hours of operation, etc.
They are often used as a replacement for in-house receptionists when they're not available or when there's an overflow of queries during peak times.
However, more and more companies nowadays hire full-time virtual receptionists instead of traditional receptionists.
Outbound calling, or outbound telemarketing, is when a virtual receptionist calls the customer.
This can be used to remind customers of appointments or notify them of new products and services.
It's also used to gather information from customers who have not yet made an appointment with you.
Outbound calling is done with live agents or using automated systems that send pre-recorded messages over the phone (or through email) with pre-recorded prompts for each question asked by the caller.
Instead of having your in-house staff deal with all this, you can set up a virtual call center and have virtual receptionists stay on top of it.
Call recording is a useful tool for businesses to keep track of conversations.
It also helps you identify areas where you can improve your customer service and make sure that guests are satisfied with their experience in your establishment.
Call recording can be used in many different ways, including:
- To record calls and listen back later on (so you can see what was said or how the conversation went)
- To store recordings for future reference
A virtual receptionist can also be in charge of call scripting—the process of creating a set of instructions that can be used repeatedly to achieve a particular outcome.
This can be done manually or automatically, with the IVR contact centers being more popular in today's technology-driven world.
Call scripting allows you to script your virtual receptionist's responses to common customer questions, such as "Can I speak with someone about my account?" or "I need help setting up my new phone."
You may also want your virtual receptionist to handle difficult calls by simply following pre-scripted responses like “I’m sorry but this call is currently unavailable” or “Thank you for calling us again today!”
This way, your receptionist won’t lose time on spam calls while still being as polite as possible.
The most common type of virtual receptionist service is appointment scheduling. It is used to schedule appointments, meetings, and other events with clients.
Appointment scheduling provides a convenient way for people to contact you without having to leave their desks or office.
You also have more time to focus on your actual job as a business owner or manager since you won’t have to spend time trying to answer calls made directly on your phone line, which can sometimes take up valuable minutes.
One of the frequent roles of a virtual receptionist is order processing.
A virtual receptionist is tasked with handling customers’ orders and then processing them accordingly.
For example, if a customer orders over the phone or through email, your virtual receptionist needs to enter the details into their system before sending an email confirmation back to the customer.
With the e-Commerce market booming in recent years, the demand for virtual receptionists to deal with order processing is ever on the rise.
Much like an in-house receptionist, a virtual one can take messages and write them down in detail.
A virtual receptionist can also schedule a return call at a time that works best for you and your client.
Of course, you can do this yourself, but there’s a high risk of overbooking and your clients kept on hold forever.
Hiring a virtual receptionist to handle this seemingly easy task ensures that your reputation remains solid. That is if you don’t want clients to start thinking that you don’t respect their time enough.
Live chat is a great way for your customers to engage with you, and having someone on the line 24/7 is guaranteed to earn you respect.
Rely on a virtual receptionist to take care of your live chat, answer questions, solve problems, or share useful information with your clients.
Why You Should Hire a Virtual Receptionist
Some businesses argue that the main downside to using a virtual receptionist is that they don’t have someone physically present in their office.
Understandably, this can be an issue if you require face-to-face interaction with clients or customers.
However, the pros outweigh the cons: starting from the budget-friendly virtual receptionist cost to increased efficiency, they bring a lot to the table.
- Cost-effectiveness: Virtual receptionists typically charge less than traditional in-office receptionists, and there are no additional costs such as health insurance or paid time off. Moreover, you won’t need to provide office space or equipment.
- Boosted productivity: Since virtual receptionists can handle a wide range of tasks, your employees can focus on more important tasks. Virtual receptionists answer calls, schedule appointments, and even make sales calls on your behalf.
- Professional image: Both traditional, in-house receptionists and virtual ones have the same level of training and experience. Having a virtual receptionist makes your business appear larger and more established than it may actually be.
- Improved customer service: Hiring a virtual receptionist means all customer inquiries will be handled professionally and courteously, quickly and efficiently.
- Increased flexibility: The services you receive from a virtual receptionist are fully customizable, allowing you to match the specific needs of your business. Additionally, you can change or cancel your service at any time, sometimes without incurring any penalties or fees.
- 24/7 availability: Your business will never miss a call, regardless of what time it is. Virtual receptionists can be located anywhere in the world, so you can always find one that will be available when you need them.
Factors That Affect the Virtual Receptionist Price
Considering the wide range of services virtual receptionists offer, it’s no surprise that the prices vary from one provider to another.
Some offer basic call answering, while others provide an all-around solution to simplify your business operations.
Generally, the virtual receptionist cost depends on:
- The number of employees and clients: Businesses with more employees generally require more receptionist services, such as calls being forwarded to multiple employees. Similarly, the more clients you have, the more inquiries a receptionist has to address. As the day-to-day virtual receptionist tasks increase, so does the price.
- The services required: Companies that require complex virtual receptionist services, such as call forwarding or handling a high volume of calls, are likely to pay more than those that need basic call answering services.
- The hours of operation: If a business operates 24/7 and works in multiple time zones, the price for the services will be higher.
- The location: It’s an unwritten rule that firms located in areas with higher costs of living pay more than those in cheaper areas.
- The industry: Given that businesses in certain industries, such as law or medicine, require specialized receptionist services, the virtual receptionist price is likely to be higher. Moreover, companies that deal with high customer turnover rates in retail or hospitality may also pay more for virtual receptionist services due to their increased need for customer support.
- The reputation of the virtual receptionist provider: Reputable providers charge more for their services than less reputable ones.
Virtual Receptionist Price Statistics
The truth is, you can’t pinpoint the exact price of a virtual receptionist.
On average, according to ZipRecruiter, virtual receptionists make:
- $36,184 per year ($29,459 as reported by Salary)
- $3,015 per month
- $695 per week
- $17 per hour
Note that hourly wages can be as high as $30.53 or as low as $9.38.
Virtual Receptionist Pricing Models
Not only do different providers charge different rates, but most of them have their separate pricing models and plans.
What’s more, not every plan comes with the same level of features and support.
Usually, virtual receptionists offer per-minute and per-call pricing or a monthly subscription.
Per-Call Virtual Receptionist Pricing
With this type of pricing, you pay a certain fixed amount for each call your receptionist answers.
This pricing is beneficial if you have a low volume of calls, as you won’t be charged for any time that your receptionist is not on the phone.
If you need to spend extended time on the phone, the per-call pricing model is probably the best fit.
However, businesses that receive large volumes of calls, no matter their length, may find this pricing plan rather expensive.
Per-Minute Virtual Receptionist Pricing
If you choose this model, you’ll pay an agreed amount for each minute that your receptionist spends on the phone.
It is best suitable for businesses with a high volume of calls, as you will only be charged for the time your receptionist is actually on the phone.
Depending on the provider, there are three kinds of per-minute billing:
True to the second
Pay for every second
Calls are charged in multiples of 30 seconds
(rounded up to the nearest increment)
Calls are charged in multiples of one minute
(rounded up to the nearest minute)
Monthly Subscription Pricing
If you opt for a monthly subscription, you'll pay a monthly fee to access your virtual receptionist service.
As such, it’s a favorite among businesses that have a consistent volume of calls, as they won’t be charged more or less based on the number of calls.
The Virtual Receptionist Cost Might Be Subject To Additional Fees
Many virtual receptionist service providers charge additional fees on top of the agreed rates. Make sure to read the disclaimer or ask whether they have:
- Activation and setup fees - one-time fee for new customers
- Holiday fees - higher prices for working on Christmas, Thanksgiving, or other national holidays
- Service fees - services not included in the original agreement such as 24/7 answering, bilingual service, voicemail, CRM integrations, etc.
Best Virtual Receptionist Agencies to Hire
- Location: Randhart, Johannesburg, Johannesburg, 1449, South Africa
- Average Hourly Rate: Inquire
- Expertise: HR Outsourcing, Staffing, Recruiting
SciTech Placements is a Johannesburg-based recruitment agency geared toward the science, engineering and IT sectors.
For companies that need virtual staff with specialized skills, the agency can assist in filling in roles. Their talent pool consists of people with technical expertise, niche skills and industry passion who are the best fit for sci-tech placements.
SciTech Placements caters to clients in and out of South Africa, including European countries.
Is the Virtual Receptionist Price Justifiable?
Virtual receptionists are the perfect solution for companies that need help with their reception and customer service. They can handle multiple tasks and adapt to your needs, all for just a fraction of the cost.
A virtual receptionist is a great alternative to hiring an in-house receptionist or even an assistant. They are focused on providing excellent customer service by answering calls, scheduling appointments, and giving feedback about what's going on with your company.
Considering they’re more than affordable, the virtual receptionist cost is insignificant compared to the benefits they bring to your business.