What Is A Virtual Receptionist?

A virtual receptionist is an industry-trained expert who performs tasks similar to a traditional receptionist but works remotely instead of at an office front desk.

These specialized professionals assist their company clients with various customer service-related tasks while adding a layer of professionalism to all client-facing communications in order to boost said clients’ reputation.

80% of consumers claim that they’re likely to become repeat customers after a good experience; however, while customer experience is the number one brand differentiator, many businesses fail to provide exceptional support.

Outsourcing virtual receptionist services can make all the difference. These experts serve as an extension of your team and do much more than just answer your phone calls.

Picture of a woman offering virtual receptionist services​
80% of clients are likely to become repeat customers after an excellent experience​

What Do Virtual Receptionist Companies Do?

Depending on your industry and specific business requirements, these companies may perform various tasks, including:

  • Answering phone calls or transferring them to the right person
  • Communicating with customers via text messages
  • Taking messages
  • Sending emails
  • Responding to website visitors on live chat
  • Managing appointments and sending reminders
  • Taking reservations for seminars, workshops, or events
  • Answering FAQs about products and services
  • Informing customers about promotions and special offers
  • Providing customer support
  • Processing orders
  • Collecting callers’ info
  • Capturing and nurturing leads
  • Supporting data entry

Virtual Receptionist Services Vs. Answering Services: What’s The Difference?

Answering service companies answer phone calls on behalf of organizations whenever they are unable to perform these tasks.

These experts take calls and pass messages, most often after regular business hours, as well as on weekends or holidays. Based on the business preferences, they can provide assistance on a 24/7/365 basis.

Customers get to speak with a real person - a customer service agent, whose job is to showcase your business in the best possible manner.

A virtual receptionist company, on the other hand, performs various other tasks besides taking calls, such as scheduling appointments, processing orders and collecting leads.

These specialists are usually more connected to your business’ core needs and workings and their role requires far more interaction with your in-house team. They are more concerned with your business’s success, so their primary mission is to increase customer satisfaction and retention rates with your clients.

How Much Do Virtual Receptionist Services Cost?

Before we provide the prices, let’s take a look at how much an in-house receptionist would cost you.

The average annual salary of U.S.-based in-house receptionists varies between $33,989 to $42,432, as of September 2021. The difference in salary range comes down to several factors like:

  • Education
  • Certifications
  • Expertise
  • Additional skills

Therefore, having an in-house receptionist would cost you between $2.832 and $3,536 per month.

Virtual receptionist companies, on the other hand, charge their clients based on the number of calls they make or the number of messages they send.

So, depending on your call volume needs, they will offer various pricing plans that may start at $20 and go up to a few hundreds of dollars per month.

Additional factors may influence the cost, such as:

  • Time coverage
  • Diversity of communication channels
  • Customized greeting
  • Call transfers
  • Access to bilingual experts
  • And more
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Why Should You Hire A Virtual Receptionist Service Provider?

The key benefits of outsourcing these specialized services are:

Benefit #1: Cost Savings

The average U.S. employer spends about $4,000 and 24 days on hiring a new worker.

This indicates that employing a professional virtual receptionist service provider is more affordable than hiring an in-house receptionist that you need to train, accommodate and onboard into the company’s culture.

However, the cost of hiring a new worker goes beyond just training and onboarding and it also incorporates factors like:

  • Providing a competitive full-time salary
  • Paying for holidays and sick days
  • Setting an office with special equipment

Additionally, unlike regular employees who typically work eight hours a day, five days a week, live receptionists are available 24/7.

Considering that customers may want to call your business at any time of day, you need to ensure someone can actually handle the communication off hours.

In other words, you need to hire three receptionists to handle every shift.

These types of companies don't require special equipment - they are fully trained professionals, available 24/7. Their availability saves costs for your company which is particularly advantageous when growing a business.

Benefit #2: High-Quality Customer Service

When you use virtual receptionist services, you tap into a network of fully trained and dedicated agents that can improve your customer satisfaction rates.

Considering that 58% of U.S. consumers will stop doing business with a company because of poor customer service, you need to ensure your clients get the highest level of support possible.

These agents can ensure a consistent customer experience and make your clients happy by:

  • Never missing a call or email
  • Trying to solve the clients’ issues during the first contact
  • Being available 24/7, even outside of business hours
  • Dealing with dissatisfied customers with diplomacy and tact
  • Avoiding communication barriers thanks to bilingual talent

These experts are committed to providing assistance and support that encourage growth and brand loyalty for your business. The end result of this strategy is the boost in customer retention and more returning clients.

Benefit #3: Improved Productivity And Efficiency

While answering emails and phone calls can be overwhelming and time-consuming, outsourcing virtual receptionist services in the USA will allow you to focus on your core business processes and larger sales drivers.

These companies can take all of your client communication while reducing your workload, therefore increasing your overall productivity and process efficiency.

Benefit #4: Increased Sales

92% of global consumers say that positive customer service experiences make them more likely to make another purchase.

When you hire virtual receptionist services in the U.S., you work with highly qualified experts whose job is to make your clients satisfied by providing them with fast responses and efficient problem resolutions.

Excellent customer support can make all the difference, helping you establish meaningful relationships with your clients, driving loyalty and more repeat purchases.

When Should Businesses Hire Virtual Receptionist Companies?

Whether you are a small business or a well-established enterprise, you can benefit from the expertise of these specialized companies.

Juggling many things at once, including dealing with customer service, you may struggle with productivity and managing your time.

Having said that, you should invest in these types of services when:

  • You want to use your time more productively
  • You are spending too much time on administrative rather than sales-driving tasks
  • You struggle with a heavy workload
  • You have repetitive non-core client management tasks
  • You have a backlog of emails and calls to respond to
  • You have no time for your data-entry related tasks
  • You know someone else can better manage your client communication

Why You Should Choose Human Over Software Virtual Receptionist?

Nowadays, virtual receptionists can also be replaced with automated receptionist systems that can handle your inbound calls as a live human receptionist would.

These systems are able to:

  • Connect customers to the right department automatically
  • Record calls
  • Answers the needs of your clients 24/7, without human intervention
  • Track and monitor calls to provide a superior customer experience
  • Create weekly or monthly reports
  • And more

Indeed, a software virtual receptionist can save you staff training and operational costs.

Moreover, technology and artificial intelligence can solve the afflictions of customer service teams.

However, studies provide interesting findings.

A NICE inContact report on customer experience shows that consumers prefer to connect with a human being despite technology improvements.

In fact, agent-assisted methods are the most favorable option that businesses can use for providing customer service.

The reason behind this is that live human receptionists can:

  • Allow for a high level of answer customization
  • Answer more specific questions
  • Provide customers with great first-impressions
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How To Choose The Best Virtual Receptionist

To select the best virtual receptionist services in the United States for your business, consider the following factors:

1. Communication capabilities

Excellent customer service depends on proper, timely and accurate communication. It requires working with agents who are able to listen to your customers’ needs and understand their struggles in order to provide the right answers.

These experts should be able to communicate in a clear, concise and professional tone in order to create an atmosphere of trust and leave a positive impression about your brand with the customer.

Therefore, before making a decision, ensure you evaluate the communication skills of each prospective agency.

2. Industry experience

Try to pick a company partner that has previous experience in serving clients in your sector.

This industry experience matters because the agents will better understand your customers’ problems or questions and address these more effectively and efficiently.

3. Scope of services

Some of these companies focus on call answering only. However, there are agencies that can offer a full spectrum of services, including email management and data entry.

We suggest that you choose a partner that can do much more than just answer phones and could well take care of all your client communication tasks. This way, you can reduce your workload and focus on larger sales-driving tasks and anything else of note in regards to your business.

4. Reviews and testimonials

Client feedback will showcase the capabilities and professionalism of each prospective agency. They offer insight into the question of whether their services are worthwhile and whether past clients were satisfied with their work.

So, make sure to check third-party review sites, including DesignRush, to gain details about their processes, communication skills, company culture and results.

5. Personalization

Customer experience personalization drives positive business results.

According to Salesforce’s 1-to-1 Personalization study, 97% of marketers report a measurable lift from their personalization efforts.

To give your clients an excellent service, you need to hire experts that can create bespoke solutions. They should be able to provide customized greetings and answers for each individual customer.

10 Questions To Ask Virtual Receptionist Companies

  1. How familiar is your team with my industry?
  2. Will all the calls and messages be answered live?
  3. What languages are your agents fluent in?
  4. What level of experience do they have?
  5. Does your service include personalized communication?
  6. Are your agents able to manage appointments and send reminders?
  7. What happens if your systems go down?
  8. How will we communicate? Who will be the assigned contact person?
  9. What is your availability? Can we use your services 24/7?
  10. What about pricing? How much do you charge?

Takeaways On Virtual Receptionist Services

Virtual receptionist companies can help you improve your customer service and establish meaningful relationships with your clients.

These specialized agencies may cost you from $20 to a few hundreds of dollars per month.

The major benefits of hiring these services are:

  • Cost savings
  • High-quality customer service
  • Improved productivity and efficiency
  • Increased sales

To choose the best agency partner for your business needs, consider the following key factors:

  • Communication capabilities
  • Industry experience
  • Scope of services
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Personalization

Best of luck!

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