5 Reasons A Virtual Receptionist Is Your Secret Weapon for Customer Happiness

When a business fails to provide exceptional customer experience, the blame either goes to the customer service workflows or the automation tools in place. However, this should not always be the case. 

Think if you have a ‘good first-point-of-contact’ in your support team. Because here’s the truth—even if it’s just a simple missed call or long hold times, these can quickly frustrate customers and drive them away.

But not all of them will complain when they’re unhappy. Most will just switch ‘silently’—and that might be even worse. 

Do you want a quick fix? Get a virtual receptionist before it’s too late! Check out this post because we’re  going to discuss five reasons why they’re your secret weapon for customer happiness. 

What is a virtual receptionist?

Virtual assistant working as a virtual receptionist offering answering services

By definition, a virtual receptionist is an off-site person (often remote) who provides basic receptionist services to businesses. 

As the first responders, they mostly use phone calls, emails, and live chat tools to stay on top of inquiries. He or she acts as the face of your business as they are tasked to provide consistent customer service across different communication channels. 

Unlike traditional in-house receptionists who are physically present in an office, digital receptionists operate remotely. Nevertheless, their day-to-day tasks are similar. 

So, what does a virtual receptionist do? Here are the usual tasks they are expected to accomplish on a regular basis:

  • Answer incoming calls, take messages when necessary, and route calls to the appropriate personnel within your organization.
  • Manage schedules, book appointments, and send reminders to clients and staff.
  • Handle orders, process payments, and provide order confirmation and tracking information to customers.
  • Respond to customer inquiries, address concerns, and provide general information about your products or services.
  • Qualify and capture potential leads, making sure not to lose out on valuable opportunities.

5 benefits of reception outsourcing vs hiring in-house

A dynamic virtual receptionist inside an actual office set up, and answering calls and processing call transfers

Now here’s a question we usually get: Why go for an outsourced receptionist if you can hire them in-house? Let’s explore some of the reasons that make outsourcing your receptionist a more attractive option.

Always there for you: 24/7 Support

Probably one of the most compelling benefits that virtual receptionists provide is the round-the-clock availability as opposed to in-house receptionists, who are usually bound by regular office hours. 

This continuous availability can be a game-changer for businesses. Since every customer inquiry is promptly addressed, you also enhance your business’s reputation as a reliable and responsive company.

Good to know: Companies that offer 24/7 service have an average occupancy rate of 98%. Below are a few examples where a round-the-clock virtual reception service can make a significant difference:

  • For businesses with international customers (in different time zones), it’s not rare that a customer calls outside of your local office hours. With a virtual receptionist, their call is still answered promptly, and their query is addressed. This is a good way to prevent frustration and potential loss of customers.
  • If a critical technical issue arises during non-business hours, 24/7 support from the best virtual receptionist can ensure business continuity. This is important for businesses that rely heavily on technology like financial institutions.
  • Emergencies can occur at any time. So, let’s say you’re a security company. You’re really supposed to give 24/7 support to customers. If a customer gets alarmed by a probable break-in, they’ll call you and expect immediate assistance. With a virtual live receptionist service, their call is answered promptly—even at 2 AM—calmly gather the necessary details, dispatch the appropriate response team, and reassure the distressed customer throughout the process.

Personalized customer interactions

Another advantage of outsourcing receptionists is they always provide tailored interactions with callers. While in-house receptionists can also do this, they have to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously—-answering phones, greeting in-person visitors, managing appointments, and handling administrative duties.

The constant multitasking can lead to fatigue, and make it hard to be friendly all the time. You have to remember that a friendly interaction can set the tone for the entire customer experience. 

As the dedicated service of virtual receptionists has more value,  they invest heavily in training to deliver exceptional service. For example, an outsourced receptionist might greet a caller by name, welcome them, and answer a few questions, all for a personalized service.

According to a 2023 Medallia Market Research survey, 82% of consumers say personalized experiences play a major role in their purchasing decisions. Here are two great examples of the power of personalization:

  • Nike’s “Nike By You” allows customers to personalize their shoes by choosing colors, materials, and designs. This customization option has not only boosted sales but also helped customers feel connected to the brand.
  • Starbucks has successfully increased customer loyalty and engagement by tailoring incentives to customers’ preferences. Starbucks attributes 40% of its total sales to the rewards program.

Efficiency at its finest

Outsourcing to a service like a virtual receptionist offers businesses increased efficiency. Let’s talk about time savings and cost savings compared to hiring an in-house receptionist.

So, when a customer calls to schedule an appointment you can expect the following situation to take place: 

The digital receptionist greets the caller, accesses the company’s calendar, and schedules the appointment without any delays or miscommunications. This streamlined process enhances the customer experience and saves valuable time for both the customer and the business. Also, behind the scenes, the virtual receptionist relays critical information to the relevant team members or departments. 

Let’s picture this in numbers.

  • According to a training industry report, companies spend an average of 57 hours during employee training. Virtual live receptionist services eliminate the need for this. They’re knowledgeable of expected receptionist tasks from the get-go.
  • The average receptionist salary in the United States is $39,060 and even varies depending on certifications, experience, and additional skills. But not the case for a virtual receptionist. Their services typically offer flexible pricing models, allowing businesses to pay only for their required services.

The human touch: empathy and understanding

When it comes to customer interactions, empathy can make or break the experience. Outsourcing to a receptionist or live person or answering service is advantageous in this regard. These virtual professionals are specifically trained to empathize and understand with callers.

Part of their training is to diffuse tense situations through empathetic communication. So, if a customer calls with a complaint or issue. Rather than responding with a robotic or dismissive attitude, a virtual receptionist will acknowledge the customer’s frustration, actively listen to their concerns, and reply with a compassionate and understanding response—and that can go a long way in calming the customer.Costs of hiring a virtual receptionist

Here are other sample scenarios:

  • Fewer patient complaints and an increase in positive feedback after patients felt heard, understood, and valued, even in challenging situations—thanks to the empathetic approach of the virtual receptionists.
  • Another example is from a retail company. Customers who called with issues or concerns were met empathetically and understandingly by the virtual receptionists who took the time to listen to their concerns and provide personalized solutions. The empathetic approach not only fixed the problem but also strengthened customer loyalty.

Flexibility and Scalability

Lastly, a significant advantage of outsourcing to virtual receptionist service providers is the flexibility and scalability it brings to businesses of all sizes. There are no hidden costs or fixed charges since virtual receptionist services are flexible solutions and are adaptable to the changing needs of a business.

For small businesses or startups with limited resources, virtual receptionists are a cost-effective solution for high-quality customer service without the overhead of hiring and managing full-time staff. And as the business grows, virtual receptionist services grow too, so you can handle more calls, schedule appointments, more hours, and more channels, too.

Here’s another point—businesses with fluctuating demands can benefit from the flexibility of virtual receptionists. During peak periods, they can increase their service capacity. But also, they can scale back during slower times to optimize costs. Keeping up with actual demand lets businesses to efficiently allocate resources and manage costs.

Take inspiration from Zapier, an automation software company. It has successfully scaled with a fully remote workforce. By leveraging a virtual office model, Zapier has organically grown its team and business while maintaining a remote communication style. This case study illustrates how virtual offices can boost small businesses and startups with busy owners.

Costs of hiring a virtual receptionist

A business owner computing the costs of an outsourced receptionist service

Ready to hire? The cost of hiring a virtual receptionist service isn’t fixed (but it won’t go near $30,000 either). It just depends on the service provider and the services required. To give you an idea, here’s an overview of the typical costs associated with hiring a live virtual receptionist service:

Monthly subscription fees:

Most virtual receptionist providers offer monthly subscription plans or packages based on the number of minutes or interactions included. The exact cost depends on the level of service required.

Pay-as-you-go pricing:

Some providers offer a pay-as-you-go model, where businesses are charged a per-minute rate for the actual time spent handling calls or interactions. 

Add-on service fees:

If additional services are required, there may be additional fees. Some features include lead qualification, appointment scheduling, order processing, or multilingual support. These fees are typically charged on an as-needed basis.

6 reminders when hiring a virtual receptionist

A business owner interviewing applicants for virtual receptionists

When hiring a virtual receptionist, it’s essential to follow a structured process to ensure a successful partnership. Here are some important reminders to keep in mind:

When hiring

Clearly define your business’s requirements and the specific services you need from a virtual receptionist. From there, research and compare multiple best virtual receptionist providers to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

During interview

Given the virtual receptionist is not from an agency, you have to prepare a list of questions to assess their communication skills, professionalism, and understanding of your business. Evaluate their ability to handle various scenarios and how they would respond to them.

In training

Provide comprehensive training materials and resources to the virtual receptionist team, including information about your business, products/services, and policies. Hold training sessions to make sure they understand your brand voice, communication style, and expectations.

While onboarding

Specify clear protocols for handling phone calls, messages, and other communication means. You must also give them access to relevant tools and systems, CRM, knowledge base, or scheduling platform. It will be very helpful to set up a dedicated point of contact for the virtual receptionist team to address and answer any questions or concerns.

Monitoring

Assess the performance of the virtual receptionist team through call recordings, call transfers, interaction logs, and customer feedback. As much as possible, let your feedback be constructive. You should schedule periodic review meetings to discuss performance, address challenges, and explore opportunities for optimization.

Continuous improvement

Regularly review and assess the effectiveness of the virtual receptionist service. Identify areas for improvement and work with the service provider to implement necessary changes or adjustments.

Your virtual receptionist is key to happy customers and a thriving business

Happy customer giving virtual receptionists a high rating

Providing exceptional customer service is making customers happy right from the start. Outsource to a virtual receptionist so the first touchpoint for customers is always exceptional. They’re highly trained professionals who create a positive, welcoming atmosphere for every customer that they interact with.

Don’t know where to find one? Here’s where LTVplus enters the picture. Whether you’re a very small business owners a startup or an established enterprise, we’ll work closely with you to provide a tailored solution that adapts to your virtual receptionist needs. Book a free call to get more information about our services.

Need a dedicated customer experience team ready to support your brand?

Book a consultation with us and we’ll get you set up.

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