6 Benefits of using a virtual receptionist service
Not sure if a virtual receptionist service is right for you? Check out our list of the 6 benefits of a virtual receptionist and get ready to grow your business!
When you start your business each day, you’ve got a seemingly endless array of tasks to complete. Knowing how to prioritize your tasks and getting help coordinating your customer calls will help you be more successful, and allow you to focus on the important tasks at hand.
While research shows that a virtual receptionist service is only used by about 20% of small businesses, it is part of a $2 billion dollar industry and many of the most successful small businesses use an answering service or virtual receptionist service. We selected the following 6 recommendations based on customer feedback, established literature and our own real world experience. This list will also help you figure out how to get started.
If you get bowled over by the sheer number of customer calls you receive on any given day, or even draw a total blank when thinking of how to keep up with the customer calls, consider this list your new blueprint for success.
- Create Quiet Time
Why it’s on the list: This is one of the most important needs of successful people. By creating quiet time, you create an environment where you can prioritize and actually work on the tasks at hand. At least two hour blocks of quiet time are uber-important in getting things done.
There are also numerous task management programs you can use to help you achieve the important tasks. Management consultants love to recommend setting aside time for planning and strategy, and there are good reasons why you should do it.
Stick with a two hour block of time at least weekly and have an inventory of what you want to get done.
Forward your calls: If you’re going to really get things done, you need your customer calls handled for you while you are getting things done. If you’re concerned that certain important calls, like family, need to get through, you can let an after hours virtual receptionist service know to send those calls through.
- Lose the dependence on voice mail
Why it’s on the list: This is probably the second-best change you can make to improve new customer sales. Research has shown time and again that small business customers are looking for an immediate solution and don’t want to wait to leave a message. Like the creating quiet time, this is another strategic move that pays dividends.
Further research has shown that up to 80% of customers will hang up and call a competitor instead of leaving a voicemail.
Virtual Receptionist Service Benefit: By having a live person answer the call, you improve your ability to generate leads and business by as much as 400%. Not only can you help more than one customer at a time, you can now have your customers inquiries managed 24 hours per day. Virtual receptionists have a significantly greater ability to get your customers to share their needs than voicemail. If you’re wrecked for time, set up an auto email follow up that provides your customers the keys to the next steps.
- Provide 24/7 Availability
Why it’s on the list: It’s always a good idea to provide services when your customers what them, and today’s on demand world means people log in to get work done at the craziest hours. After hours virtual receptionist service is an excellent way to solve this business challenge. A small change in operations may lead to a greater sales close rate, but it may be possible to keep your life in balance because of sharing the workload. The biggest challenge here for most small businesses is balancing the hours it takes to be successful and keeping yourself from burning out.
If you do use a virtual receptionist, you might want to add an auto email follow up so your customers know what to expect as follow up. Of course, if you want to, you can always provide an opportunity to set up an appointment vie email or through the virtual receptionist which, is a solid next step. If your customers want to move forward right away, giving them the opportunity to move forward 24 hours a day separates you from your competitors.
Good follow up is extremely important here. In the first customer interactions, follow up should be quick and clear—follow up with automated messaging—prior to initiating the next call.
Virtual Receptionist Benefit: Because the customer can call 24 hours per day, several new prospective customers may select your business because of its availability, Since follow up is so important with these customers, it may be best to automate follow up messaging so your next conversation moves quickly to an order.
- Save yourself money
Why it’s on the list: We selected the saving yourself money over other benefits because you can use your money better than trying to staff internally 24 hours per day, even though that typically translates into thinking you have more control. For most, maintaining an internal staff can be challenging, in which case a live virtual receptionist service is a better choice.
These aren’t easy decisions, so keep your focus on how you can generate the most good business. You also typically have a choice of virtual receptionists. A provider with online tools and secure messaging will put more emphasis on the process and enable you to set the customer experience. This solution is probably one of the easier choices to make.
During lunchtime: Realize that you don’t have to cover the phones while an internal receptionist would be running errands. Rather than covering for someone else, have a virtual receptionist cover for you. If you’re an experienced business leader, use the time for networking lunches instead of covering for your internal receptionist, and further increase your new sales by allowing more time to sell. If you do this, be sure to follow up the networking opportunities with an appropriate thank you letter with a request to help your business!
- Reduce the hassle of managing In-house staff
Why it’s on the list: Just about everyone defaults to the mindset that they need to manage more people. If that sounds like you, you’ll find using a virtual receptionist service a nice change of pace because it shifts some of the emphasis to allowing for you to manage your own time and not someone elses.
Virtual Receptionist Benefit: Like internal staff, live virtual receptionist agents are best when their work is automated and their customer management tools are world class. Choose a virtual receptionist service that enables you to manage your customers effectively and efficiently.
- Increase your productivity, avoid burnout and save money
Why it’s on the list: Using a virtual receptionist service typically leads to three things: Office productivity plays a greater role, and with the greater control of your time, burnout is greatly reduced for you and your coworkers, and on top of that you save money because you’re not managing a large staff. A virtual receptionist service allows you to concentrate only on those items that will add to your business, since you don’t have to worry about staffing.
Replace your voicemail with a virtual receptionist service be Elation answering service, staying close to your customers, and expect a little more free time and cost savings from the process change when you’re managing your busy company. While some small businesses consider using a virtual receptionist taboo, the benefits of reduced staff costs, 24 hour coverage and automated follow up can be both a productive and cost saving experience.
Your next step: You don’t need more than an hour to get a virtual receptionist service up and going. Do it today, before you get buried in busy work. At any point in your day, don’t be afraid to give Elation Answering Service a call. Your goal is to increase productivity, avoid burnout and save money, not be constantly limited by your voicemail and internal staff.