Beyond Office Hours: How a Virtual Receptionist can Help You Win More Business

A receptionist is essential to any growing business. The more time you and your front line staff spend talking on the phone when you could be working for your clients, the less money you’re making at the end of every month. This is a big problem considering there are only so many hours in the day to get everything done, and still ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

Calling customer service beyond office hour

A virtual receptionist adds a level of flexibility to your customer service plan, enabling you to take only the most important calls, and even allowing you to keep your phone lines open for calls long after the business closes for the day. Even if you just need occasional help, a virtual reception service can be hired to jump in and take calls on request only.

Best, you don’t have to worry about all the expenses that come when hiring a traditional full or part-time employee. A typical offline receptionist requires an office to work in, costs about $2,500 monthly (plus benefits and other expenses), and potentially brings with them an entire set of problems that no growing small business needs to deal with.

Here’s a few ways a virtual receptionist can help win you more business and save you a ton in monthly expenses:

Virtual reception means no more missed calls

Every call you miss costs the company an average of $100. This is an arbitrary number, though, as many companies offer exclusive products and services, and there’s no accurate way to gauge how much money you would have made from a customer who calls and is never heard from again.

Virtual receptionists greet your callers, can take and transcribe messages, and also forward calls to you and your staff as per your instructions. Missed calls cost your company business; answered calls increase profits.

In-house employees reduces your marketing budget

After salary and expenses, including the need to provide office space and amenities, an in-house receptionist would cost you over $60,000/yr (minimum). Keep in mind that this is only one employee, meaning they can’t work 24/7 and need to take coffee and lunch breaks too.

The money required to pay this salary has to come from somewhere and there’s a good chance the marketing budget will suffer, reducing the inflow of new business for your company. You could literally have a global team of virtual receptionists for less than half of what you’d pay for an in-house employee, able to answer as many or as little calls as your business requires.

Your business will get more control over its time

How much does “time” cost your business? What if you could make time stand still? Would you get more done — and be able to take on more clients — and thus make more money? For instance, common FAQs can easily be dealt with by a virtual receptionist, and you or an appropriate team member can be contacted ONLY when your direct involvement is needed. Another example, inquiries made outside the office hours can be handled by after hours answer service offered. Indeed, with a virtual receptionist service, you have the much-needed leverage over your already limited time.

Putting time into perspective, it’s important to detail all the phone-related time sinks we encounter every day. If you’re halfway successful, chances are that you and your team often have to answer calls that don’t really require your attention, such as questions on pricing, turnaround, product details, and such. Mo’ time, mo’ money ya’ll!

Customers will be more inclined to do business with you

Forget the obvious when it comes to being able to have a virtual receptionist answering national/international calls 24/7 for your growing business. The ability to take those calls at all hours will equate to more customers and more cash — this is a given. When you have dedicated staff answering your phones for you, customers immediately envision a professional, or team of professionals, who’re so dedicated to servicing their clients they don’t have time to answer their own phones.

This immediately increases the perceived value (and size) of your business when a customer calls and gets a professional receptionist saying something like “Thanks for calling ABC Construction, this is Sally speaking, how can I help you/direct your call?”

Businesswoman using smartphone

A virtual receptionist gives you the space needed to market and generate more sales

Your phone is equal parts friend and foe. While a large portion of sales all over the world are closed over the phone, the fact that you’re on the phone and letting calls go to voicemail quite often actually stifles sales. Over 85% of prospects who call and don’t get a human on the other end of the line, simply will NOT call back.

On the other side of the sales coin is the fact that if you’re spending the majority of your time in reaction mode (Ie., answering calls), you’ll never have time to be proactive; creating new marketing plans, searching for new markets, or making outbound sales calls to secure more business.

Reality check: Most small businesses don’t answer the majority of their calls!

According to data retrieved from the “5 Fabulous Habits of Small Business Champions” webinar, YOU don’t answer the phone nearly as efficiently as you think you do. This Small Biz Trends article details some scary facts:

  • 70% of small businesses answer less than half the phone calls they get.
  • 62% of incoming small business phone calls go unanswered entirely.
  • 38% of incoming calls are sent to voicemail.

To be blunt:

  • Answering less than half the phone calls coming into your business means your profits are less than half what they could be.
  • If you’re not answering over half the phone calls coming in, you simply don’t deserve that business.
  • Just because a caller leaves a message on your voicemail doesn’t mean they’re not calling their next best option right after they hang up (and how many callers don’t bother?)

A virtual receptionist can keep customers happy and get a prospect on the hook before you even talk to them. Simply by talking to an actual human being, a potential customer gets an idea of the level of service you can offer them — versus the lack of service they experience when calls aren’t answered!

A virtual receptionist takes you and your business beyond office hours, giving you added time to complete more important tasks, improving profits and eliminating costly expenses (such as salary and lost business).


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