Any business that takes itself seriously will make sure calls are answered within a ring or two and that callers feel their question or issue is (or will soon be) resolved before the call is disconnected. Unless you have a very close and trusting relationship with all your customers, it’s impossible to do this with calls going to the wrong staff member, or worse: voicemail; or worst: Missed altogether.
Did you know that the true cost of a call unanswered or going to voicemail is around $50,000/year – even more depending on the volume and industry you’re in. That got you thinking, right?
If you run a brick-and-mortar business, people calling after hours might find it perfectly acceptable to be pushed to voicemail to leave a message for you to receive the next day. If you’re in sales or service — online or off — the price of not answering a call is lost business more often than not. That’s where a virtual reception service comes in really handy.
Here are 6 benefits of using a virtual reception service to handle all or some of the calls coming into your business.
1. No call need ever go unanswered
Why should anyone be forced to leave a voicemail and play phone tag with you or your staff when you’re busy? This just leads to frustration, and is easily avoided by the sound of a human voice answering the call. Lost calls equal lost business, meaning the cost of hiring a service is quickly offset considering they take and forward your calls, or assure customers their message will be relayed to someone the appropriate person.
2. Customer service goes up as a result
A virtual receptionist is a call-answering professional. Heck, if you’re being honest with yourself, it’s very likely they do it better than you! That said, a virtual receptionist, or team of virtual receptionists can be trained to answer calls exactly as you like in a warm, professional tone, which will make people actually want to call your business. This can be really helpful during times when you and your staff are busy, and you’re bogged down with pressure that might otherwise come through on a call that interrupts your workflow or dealings with another customer.
3. You can actually get up from your desk
Without the services of a costly on-site receptionist, smaller or otherwise extremely busy business owners will often find themselves tied to their desk or smartphone. A virtual receptionist can take all your calls, or “step in” when you need to “step away.” Many of the services out there will also offer helpful add-on services to further free up your time such as online chat, email filtering, technical support, and order taking. These menial, yet essential tasks can take up a lot of time, and most definitely leave you more stressed than you need to be at the end of a long day.
4. You save a lot of money
This could easily be the top benefit for any of you reading this. A full time receptionist costs a lot of money. On average, a receptionist will cost a business over $70,000 a year when you add up all the expenses of hiring them on. A virtual receptionist service takes care of all the expenses such as salary, benefits, office space and supplies, instead charging you a per-month or per-call fee (depending on the service you choose). Not to mention the cost of a bad hire, which can leave you spending thousands on training, only to start again from square-one when a full time employee doesn’t work out.
5. More leads result from extended phone support availability
This won’t apply to every single business out there, but it really should to most. Obviously, any sort of online sales will go up when customers from various time zones can contact the business whenever it’s convenient for them to do so. Don’t discount this either: more and more online consumers have become savvy to scam websites, and are worried to make an online order without speaking to a representative first. Same for all online and offline service businesses. When customers can call anytime to set up an appointment or have an emergency service call taken care of, business goes up and your reputation will continue to grow.
6. Instant access to industry-specific reception agents
While it can be difficult to track down and hire industry-specific people on your own, there’s a specialized virtual reception service for virtually every industry you can imagine. Be it medical billing, bookings for cleaning services, technical support of all kinds, and more. There’s likely a reception service out there who can service your customers with the utmost of care. This, while also understanding rules and compliance issues related to your specific industry.
As you’ve now learned, there are many hidden benefits of outsourcing your reception to a virtual service provider. Hiring in-house is expensive, and often impractical for small businesses. Finding qualified virtual staff on online job boards can be a nightmare that never ends, with many online workers scrambling for work, promising you the world with regard to their skills, then not delivering or quitting without notice.
Using virtual services, you get past these issues and more. No more missed calls, early morning call-ins to take a sick day, worries about staff retention, and the poor service levels that result from the problems of missing important phone calls coming into your business.