Every business style is different. You have different customers with different needs. As your first port of call, you want someone to handle your customers in a way that meets these needs. This is where a virtual receptionist can help.
When considering a virtual receptionist, you want to ensure they possess qualities that adapt to your clientele. That’s where Netcall Solutions can offer you expertise at an affordable cost. You can sign up to a free trial now.
A virtual receptionist, in basic terms, is a professional service that acts as a receptionist to your company, but without being physically present. They have some great advantages to any business type, and cost approximately 20% less than a typical receptionist.
However, before you hire a virtual receptionist, you may want to consider a few points, to ensure what is suitable for your business model. With many options on the market, you want to ensure your receptionist has the qualities you need.
It’s going to be a given that your virtual receptionist will be trained to a high standard, but always do your research. This service is going to be representing your company, so you want to ensure your customers are being greeted by a professional. A few things should be taken into consideration here, such as previous receptionist or customer service experience. You need a service that is going to have outstanding phone presents and knows how to deal with customers.
You also want someone who either knows your line of work or is willing to learn. Knowledge is power after all.
Regardless of your line of work, you always want your clients to feel as if their data is protected.
Building a rapport with a customer means they can put their trust in you and your receptionist should also have this quality. With recent data and privacy agreements, it is now a sensitive area that needs to be reinforced.
You want your services to relay to customers that data protection is taken seriously. A virtual receptionist should understand how data is stored and used.
As stated previously, a virtual receptionist is an ideal cost-effective method in comparison to hiring an actual receptionist. You don’t have to worry about sick days, holidays or lunch breaks.
However, you still need to inquire about pricing. Some services may charge higher rates for out of hours services, or on bank holidays. Always double check your costs upfront, to ensure you are getting your moneys worth.
Most services will charge upfront, but it’s always wise to check additional fees.
By getting the most for your money, it’s always worth looking into what services a virtual receptionist can provide, and if there are separate costs for above and beyond. Most virtual receptionists are able to offer the following:
- Flexible working hours: Most virtual receptionist services can offer out of hour services, 7 days a week, but it’s always worth comparing the costs for these time periods.
- Greeting and directing
- Voicemail services: customising call flow routes to another member of staff or yourself.
- Urgent calls: Handled efficiently and professionally, being directed to the correct place.
- Call screening: To divert calls during busy periods or meetings.
- Call routing and transfers: Getting calls to the right place.
- Message taking: Getting the details sent to your preferred channel, e.g. SMS or email.
- General administrative tasks
- Call overflow handling
Hiring a virtual receptionist, wouldn’t be dissimilar to hiring an actual receptionist. You may already know what qualities you would look for, but here are 10 key characteristics that every virtual receptionist should have.
As they may be the first interaction your customer has, you want your receptionist to be friendly and approachable. First impressions will stick with your customers and you want them to have a good experience from the get-go.
This is a quality for both you and your clients. You need a receptionist who is dependable for customer needs but also to yours. You want someone who understands your line of work and is able to keep promises. You want your customers to trust that you are committed to them.
Having a background in customer service is desirable in this role, as you want someone who is able to deal with an array of individuals. You never know the background circumstances of any customer that calls, and you want your staff to bear this in mind. Even if a situation escalates or becomes troublesome, you want your receptionist to be able to handle themselves in a professional manner.
Having a receptionist that is able to think on their feet and give answers on the spot is an asset to your business in itself. A receptionist can sometimes solve a query before it even needs to go through another colleague. Saving you both time and money.
If your receptionist has knowledge of your industry, then that’s a great start. However, if not, being willing to adapt is necessary. If it’s a business sector they aren’t familiar with, they need to understand the importance of having a brief understanding on how things work. This will ensure they can direct your customers in the right place. In some instances, they will be required to do follow up calls, offer additional services etc. and you want to make sure they do so with confidence.
6. English speaking
Many customers have had poor experiences with oversees call centres and prefer to know they are speaking to someone based in the UK. Not only does it eliminate any language barriers, but it also shows a level of professionalism.
As you have opted for a virtual receptionist, you do have a certain expectation of their availability. You want your customers to be able to get in touch with your business outside of working hours. It’s worth checking services that can offer you additional timeframes.
8. Ability to multitask
Being a receptionist is an organised role, therefore you must be able to manage several tasks at once. You will be juggling multiple clients and will have to prioritise your workload.
9. Business integration
Whatever service you wish to use, you want to ensure it is a seamless transition to starting in your business. This also works from the customers point of view, as you want them to think your receptionist is working directly for you, instead of from a virtual basis.
10. Communication skills
This isn’t just aimed at your customers but also with your business. You want someone who is able to communicate back with you about any issues or improvements that need be.
Communicating with customers is a given in this role. Your receptionist must be able to engage and capable of building rapport.
What does an answering service do?
An answering service can cover multiple options; however, the main basis is taking a message from a client and processing it in a way that it reaches the right place. This could be an urgent call that needs to be directed to someone higher up in your business.
What’s a virtual assistant?
An assistant differs to a receptionist as they tend to help with smaller tasks. They won’t necessarily speak with clients and will focus on the needs of an employer. This is done on a remote virtual basis.