What Is a Virtual Receptionist and How Can It Unlock Your Business's Potential?

Phone Answering Services
What Is a Virtual Receptionist and How Can It Unlock Your Business's Potential?
Article by Zarah Ariola
Last Updated: January 09, 2023

In the digital transformation era, entrepreneurs seek innovative ways to gain a competitive edge.

With the need for businesses to operate 24/7 with minimal staff, getting a virtual receptionist is a great way to unlock your business potential and increase operational efficiency.

This guide discusses everything you need to know about a virtual live receptionist, from what it is and how it works to the benefits your business can gain from using one. Read on to learn more about this fantastic technology.

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What Is a Virtual Receptionist?

A virtual live receptionist is a sophisticated communications system that provides the same services as a human receptionist.

It is a computer-based service that lets you remotely manage your business's telephone and online communication.

The virtual receptionist can be accessed by callers, online visitors and customers through a phone system, website or app. It can handle incoming calls, route them to the appropriate team member, take messages, schedule appointments and send email notifications.

It can also be programmed to send callers to voicemail when appropriate, such as when the line is busy or no one is available to take the call.

The best part about remote reception services is that they are entirely virtual, meaning you don't need to hire a full-time employee.

A virtual receptionist costs between $25 and $3,000 per month, depending on your chosen plan and the features included.

How Does a Virtual Live Receptionist Work?

A virtual live receptionist works just like a real person — the only difference is that it is a software.

When someone calls your business, they are connected to your virtual receptionist. This receptionist will interact with the caller and let them know what the call is about.

The virtual receptionist can also screen calls and let you know who is calling. You can program your virtual receptionist to send callers to voicemail when no one is available to take the call.

If you want to send someone to voice mail but aren't sure what to say, you can use a virtual receptionist to record a message.

6 Ways Your Business Can Benefit From a Virtual Live Receptionist

  1. Reduces Business Overhead: A virtual receptionist handles the administrative aspects of your business, allowing you to focus more on tasks that drive sales and profit.
  2. Saves Time: A virtual receptionist schedules appointments and takes messages. It can also route calls to the appropriate person. This means you can spend less time on administrative tasks and focus on driving business results.
  3. Boosts Productivity: You can have your virtual receptionist do tasks that don’t require human interaction, such as updating your website, sending emails and answering telemarketing calls. This can help boost productivity and make sure your virtual receptionist is doing tasks that don’t require human interaction.
  4. Provides 24/7 Service: 90% of customers say receiving an immediate response when they have a customer service question is essential. You can have a virtual receptionist handle your calls and run your website 24/7. It will respond to customer inquiries and provide information about your products or services. This can help keep your business running around the clock and give customers the service they need whenever they need it.
  5. Attracts More Customers: A virtual receptionist can help boost the image of your business and attract more customers. It can be programmed to send email correspondence, answer customer questions and even send out marketing campaigns on your behalf. This can help your business attract more customers and drive sales.
  6. Saves Money: A virtual receptionist doesn’t require payroll. You don’t have to hire an employee to do your virtual receptionist’s job. You can use the money you would’ve spent on payroll to hire more employees, buy new equipment or invest in your business in other ways.

Virtual Live Receptionist Services Your Business Can Take Advantage Of

  • Answering Phone Calls: The software can take messages, transfer calls, and provide basic customer service.
  • Live Chat: A virtual receptionist can provide a live chat feature to customers, which allows them to ask questions and get instant answers without having to call. This can help reduce customer wait time, improve customer satisfaction and save your business money in the long run.
  • Scheduling Appointments: You can use a virtual receptionist to schedule appointments with customers, allowing them to select a day and time that is convenient for them. It makes scheduling appointments much more efficient and helps reduce customer wait times.
  • Making Payments: A virtual live receptionist can also process customer payments, allowing them to pay for services or products quickly and securely. This feature can help streamline the payment process and reduce the paperwork associated with it.
  • Automated Reminders: It sends automated reminders to customers regarding their upcoming appointments or any other events they may have scheduled with your business. It also ensures customers remember their appointments or other events they have planned with you.
  • Data Entry: It can input data into your systems, such as customer information, orders, and more. Thus, it saves time by eliminating manual data entry and helps keep customer data safe and secure.

Other Virtual Receptionist Features

Virtual receptionists offer a variety of features that help businesses stay organized and connected with their customers.

Depending on the provider, these features may include:

  • Intelligent Voice Recognition: Some providers offer voice recognition technology that allows a virtual receptionist to interact with callers more naturally and efficiently. This technology can make it easier for a virtual receptionist to understand customer needs and quickly provide them with the correct information.
  • Customized Greeting: With some providers, you can customize the greeting your virtual receptionist gives customers when they call. You can also set up specific scripts that they follow when addressing different inquiries or requests.
  • Call Transferring: Virtual receptionists can transfer calls quickly and efficiently to the appropriate department or individual. They can also give customers options for transferring their calls, such as pressing a certain number on their phone.
  • Call Logging: Some providers can record information about each call, such as the caller's name, the time and date of the call and a summary of what was discussed. This information can be accessed at any time for reference.
  • Call Scheduling: Virtual receptionists can also schedule calls for you in advance, allowing customers to set appointments with your business without having to call back multiple times.
  • Multi-Lingual Services: Some providers offer multi-lingual services so your virtual receptionist can serve customers speaking different languages.

How To Choose the Right Virtual Live Receptionist for Your Business

Here are some things to consider when choosing the right virtual receptionist for your business:

  • Communication Methods: It should allow you to communicate with your customers in the most efficient way possible.
  • Call Screening: The best virtual receptionist will let you screen your calls. You can let callers know that you only accept calls from customers who either have a particular issue or are trying to do business with your company.
  • Customer Service: Your virtual receptionist should be able to respond to customer inquiries, route calls to the appropriate team member and take messages.
  • Features: The best virtual receptionist will have the features you need to run your business efficiently. It should be able to send emails, take messages and route calls.

Answering Service vs. Virtual Receptionist: What's the Difference?

When it comes to communication between your business and its customers, there are two main options: an answering service or a virtual receptionist.

Answering services and virtual receptionists can provide similar customer service experiences for businesses, but the two have key differences.

The former typically answer calls from customers in a call center setting and then direct those customers to the appropriate personnel.

Answering services are better suited for businesses that receive a high volume of calls and need to ensure that all incoming inquiries are answered quickly and professionally.

Moreover, answering services can provide basic customer service inquiries, such as taking orders, making appointments and providing information about products or services.

On the other hand, virtual receptionists provide a more personal approach to customer service. They use artificial intelligence technology to recognize voice patterns and respond with pre-programmed responses or natural language processing.

Virtual receptionists can recognize voice commands and provide customer service inquiries and answers, book appointments, handle orders and answer any general questions.

It’s designed to sound and behave like a human receptionist, providing personalized greetings and routing calls to the appropriate department.

Unlike an answering service, a virtual receptionist never gets tired and can scale to meet the needs of any business.

If you want your business to sound more professional and want access to advanced features such as call routing and personalized greetings, then a virtual receptionist is the way to go.

However, if you're looking for basic answering services and don't need advanced features, then an answering service may be your best bet.

Getting a Virtual Receptionist: Final Thoughts

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from utilizing the technology and resources of a virtual live receptionist.

Virtual receptionists provide an automated, efficient and personalized customer service experience without needing a physical receptionist. They are incredibly versatile, as they can be used to assist in many different aspects of your business.

With a virtual receptionist, you'll save time, money and effort as the software takes care of your customers.

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