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Nov 062012

The modern business world is becoming more and more futuristic as days go by.  The idea of an office staffed by robots is closer than you think.  The next step in this progression of automation and computers is the creation of the virtual office complete with virtual receptionist.  But, what is a virtual receptionist and is this really something that your office needs?  Here are some things to think about:

  • What is a virtual receptionist?  A virtual receptionist (or live virtual receptor) is the next step in an answering service.  Many people are familiar with the older forms of answering service, particularly for doctor’s offices, which would only answer the phone after office/work hours were finished and could only take messages or answer the most basic of questions.  A virtual receptionist is a live person at a call center who acts as the receptionist for a business during and after office/work hours.  This is a person who will act as the “voice” for your business even though he or she may be hundreds of miles away.
  • How does a virtual receptionist work?  When a call comes into your business, the virtual receptionist will be the one to answer the phone.  They are available twenty-four hours a day so the risk of losing clients or messages in a different time zone is negated.  These receptionists will be able to direct calls, take messages, and answer basic questions about your business such as services provided, website information, and directions.  They will often be working with software customized for your business and its needs so that you can be assured that you are getting the best service.
  • Won’t customers be put-off by talking to someone outside of my company?  Most customers will never know that they have not been directed to a person not at your company base.  The receptionist will identify your company at the top of the call just as if they were physically on-site.  Studies have shown that customers are more likely to be “put-off” if their call is handled by an automated machine.  If they don’t get a real person on the line, many people hang up and never call back again.  Those are customers walking out the door.  A virtual receptionist gives a live voice to the conversation as he or she directs the call to where it needs to go.
  • Are there any other advantages to having a virtual receptionist?  The main advantage is cost savings.  Hiring a virtual receptionist is much cheaper than having a full-time employee on hand to answer calls.  The savings in cost can then be reallocated to other departments and areas where your business needs the funds and attention to help it grow.  In addition, an in-house receptionist takes breaks, holidays, and is only available during office hours causing lost calls or the need to have someone else stop their work to occupy the front desk.  Because call centers employ a team of receptionists, the phones are always guaranteed to be answered.

Hiring a virtual receptionist makes clear business sense.  Today, your competitors are already finding ways to cut costs and streamline business operations to make them more competitive.  Failure to keep up could lead to a failed business.

About Neal Lacy

Neal Lacy has written 82 posts in this blog.

Neal Lacy is an expert in professional call center services. He provides great content on a wide variety of topics concerning answering services, message services, order taking, and virtual receptionist. He is main writer for United Call Center.

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