In today’s world, outsourcing is common with organizations choosing to outsource non-core functions. This allows them to focus on their key business processes. Using the services of a virtual receptionist allows you to do just that.
But who is a virtual receptionist, anyway? A virtual receptionist is one who doesn’t sit in your office but sits in a remote location handling phone calls. Pretty much the same work done by your conventional receptionist, but with several distinctive benefits. Indeed, the low virtual receptionist cost and the flexibility offered are what making such service ideal, especially for startups/new businesses.
If your organization is thinking of using the services of a virtual receptionist, you would like to know more about these services. Knowing the various pros and cons will help you make an informed decision on using virtual receptionist and answering services. This article gives you all this information.
What are answering services?
Answering services, also known as virtual receptionist services handle all your telephonic calls on your behalf. The virtual receptionist would be a trained customer service professional. These professionals would work in a team and handle the work of your organization. They would receive telephonic calls made to your company. The executives answering the call would provide information, answer queries, take messages, and transfer the call to your staff (as needed).
A virtual receptionist does all the work your receptionist would do. Technology has made it easy for a virtual receptionist to do your work from a different place. The virtual receptionist needs to be trained on your organization, its activities, products, processes, work done, etc. This training is done as a part of the onboarding before work commences. This ensures they would be able to function effectively, just like a real receptionist.
The Pros and Cons of Virtual Receptionist services
Like everything else in life, there are both pros and cons to virtual receptionist service. It would be required to know about them in detail.
There are many pros of using the services of a virtual receptionist. They include the following:
1. Ensures professional work
Companies offering virtual receptionist services are professionals. They are experienced in call handling and would be offering these services for many years. The executives handling the calls would be experienced and well-trained. Their services are professional, and you can expect the best service from them. When a prospect calls your company and hears a professional voice speaking, they are likely to be impressed. Availing of a professional service can complement your marketing effort.
2. Saves money
The reason why outsourcing is in demand is that it helps you save a lot of money. You don’t need to hire a receptionist. There is no need to train the receptionist and pay a salary every month. With a receptionist in the office, you need someone to supervise their work, which again involves expenses. Then there is the expense of a work desk, telephone system, computer, etc. When you use answering services, you save all these costs.
The fee paid to the answering service company will be a fraction of your actual expenses. This is particularly beneficial for a small business. Startups and new companies need to reduce costs. Outsourcing can reduce these costs. Today because of the Corona pandemic, work from home has become a norm. In these situations, using a virtual receptionist is ideal and suits your needs.
3. Provide round-the-clock services
A receptionist cannot work 24 hours, but a virtual receptionist can. A virtual receptionist is not one person but a team. So they can work 24/7 throughout the year. This is a major benefit allowing your organization to be available for customers at all times. It is particularly useful when your company operates in different time zones.
4. Ensures consistent services
Consistency and quality go hand in hand. Professional virtual receptionists can provide quality services consistently. Consistency is a problem since receptionists and telephone operators can have off-days. When you outsource, there is a team of people working for your businesses. They are professionals who are well-trained. They can offer consistent services that can help in impressing your customers.
5. Effective communication
Communication with a virtual receptionist can be done effectively. This allows the virtual receptionist to offer the best services to your clients. With the availability of various tools like Skype, Google Meet, Dropbox, etc., communication can be effective. Your staff can instantly communicate with the virtual receptionist, share files, provide information, etc. Communication from the other side can also be done effectively. This is thanks to the advent of technology.
The limitations and disadvantages of using virtual receptionist services include:
1. You won’t have a (real person) receptionist
When you outsource this service, you will not have a receptionist sitting in your front office. This is a loss of a position in your office. A receptionist at your office may also work as a secretary. Most importantly, the receptionist would welcome visitors to your office. This work is lost.
2. You are not fully in control
With a receptionist in the office, you are fully in control. You can see what the receptionist is doing, monitor the quality of work, and suggest improvements if the work is not up to par. With a virtual receptionist, you have no control. The entire work is handled elsewhere. It is done as per your guidelines, but the control is lost.
3. Difficult in handling rare situations
Sometimes rare situations come up where a customer would have questions that your virtual receptionist can’t answer. The subject matter may be beyond their training. Such a situation can be embarrassing.
4. Lack of personal connect
A virtual receptionist has no personal connection with your staff. They only transfer calls and have no idea about the person to whom the call is being transferred. A real receptionist can know who is the right person to receive a call. This personal touch is absent.
The pros and cons of virtual receptionist services would have helped you know more about these services. After going through the pros and cons, you will now be able to decide on whether to go ahead outsourcing receptionist functions.