- What is a Virtual Receptionist?
- What is a Live Receptionist?
- How Can You Get a Virtual or Live Receptionist?
Q: How can small business owners reduce time spent screening spam calls and focus on their work and growing their company?
A: Spam calls are an enormous distraction and prevent small business owners from focusing valuable time on their business. A virtual receptionist can greatly reduce this problem.
Starting a small business has never been easier. Thanks to the widespread adoption of online shopping and e-commerce, you can launch a business from just about anywhere.
While this has allowed startups and small businesses to boom, it’s not always smooth sailing.
Small businesses owners often face a dizzying amount of work as they attempt to take on multiple business responsibilities at once.
One of the most annoying aspects of this is the constant intrusion of spam calls. Business owners who manage their own phones need to be responsive, as they can never be sure if the call is a potential sale or networking opportunity.
But with the proliferation of robocalls and telemarketers, these calls often end up being useless intrusions that interrupt workflow and pull you away from your work.
Breaking concentration can cause you to lose great ideas and make it harder to stay in a flow state, slowing down your work and increasing your stress.
With small businesses operating remotely, the solution to these constant spam calls needs to be flexible and in line with the modern workplace.
Enter the virtual receptionist.
What is a Virtual Receptionist?
With the continued increase in solopreneurship, virtual receptionists have become highly prevalent. Before we discuss whether a virtual receptionist is the right solution for your small business, let’s define the term.
A virtual receptionist is a type of software. This software connects to your business phone. From there, it automatically answers any incoming calls on your behalf.
Most virtual receptionists provide the caller with a menu of options. The caller is then able to navigate to the appropriate response.
Often, you are able to choose what responses are available for callers. You may include the answers to frequently asked questions, allowing callers to get the information they need without having to speak to anybody directly.
You can also set up the virtual receptionist so that callers have the option to directly connect to you in certain cases. This lets you avoid many unnecessary interruptions, while still retaining a bit of a personal touch.
How does a Virtual Receptionist Combat Spam Calls?
Virtual receptionists help combat spam calls to your business phone by preventing them from reaching you in the first place.
When a robotic caller hits your virtual receptionist, the caller is unable to navigate the virtual receptionist’s options. As a result, it doesn’t get through to you.
When it’s a telemarketer call, virtual receptionists are still able to assist you. Virtual receptionists let the telemarketers know that they’ve reached a business rather than an individual.
In most cases, the telemarketer won’t proceed with the call in these instances. Even if they do, they’ll likely just leave a voicemail, leaving you uninterrupted as you work during your workday.
The Pitfalls of Virtual Receptionists
All that said, virtual receptionists aren’t perfect at handling spam calls. Here are a few of the challenges that virtual receptionists pose:
- One of the big issues they face is that they can’t add you to do not call lists. Because your receptionist is simply a pre-programmed response, it isn’t able to respond specifically to telemarketers.
- You could add a message to the virtual receptionist saying to add you to the do not call list, but doing so would add an element of unprofessionalism that isn’t ideal for your business phone.
- Virtual receptionists also fall short in that they can take messages from spam calls from different numbers. While this may be preferable to the call going through and interrupting your day, it still has negative consequences.
- As a business owner, you should regularly check your voicemails to respond to potential opportunities. If your virtual receptionist allows telemarketers and robocalls to leave messages, this can become a lengthy, tedious task.
With the number of spam calls increasing every day, these seemingly minor problems will only continue to worsen as time goes on.
Luckily, there’s an alternative to the virtual receptionist that solves these problems.
What is a Live Receptionist?
Live receptionists are remote receptionists that answer your business phone for you. Unlike virtual receptionists, live receptionists are real people.
These receptionists connect to your business phone just as a virtual receptionist would. When a call comes in, the live receptionist:
- Answers it
- Offers a personalized greeting for the caller
- Addresses their reason for calling
- Connects the caller to you when necessary
Live receptionists retain all the flexibility of virtual receptionists, and since they are remotely connected to your phone line, you can continue operating remotely.
They can also take your messages as a virtual receptionist would. However, they retain a slight edge here as well, as the live receptionist can help organize messages for you and pass them along in a manner that is most convenient for your work schedule.
How do Live Receptionists Combat Spam Calls?
Live receptionists combat spam and telemarketing calls in much the same way virtual receptionists do.
By answering your phones for you, live receptionists prevent the constant influx of spam calls from interrupting your work. They only pass along calls that are truly important, meaning you won’t have to worry about being greeted by a robo caller when your phone rings.
Beyond the perks that live receptionists share with virtual receptionists, these assistants have even more advantages when it comes to managing your phones.
For starters, live receptionists will simply hang up on robocalls.
This prevents these calls from reaching your inbox and in turn, keeps you from having to sift through useless voicemails from spam callers, cutting down on your overall workload.
Additionally, live receptionists can tell telemarketers to add your business number to the do not call list. Not only does this keep you from having to deal with the telemarketers when they call, but it also ensures that the calls won’t continue during non-business hours.
Because of this, you won’t have voicemails from telemarketers who call when you or your receptionist are off duty.
In these ways, live receptionists streamline your workflow even more than virtual receptionists.
Should You Get a Virtual or Live Receptionist for Your Small Business?
Like all things, getting a live or virtual receptionist has costs and benefits. Deciding if you should make the investment comes down to analyzing your unique situation.
If you’re operating your small business remotely and getting bombarded with spam calls, you may consider getting a virtual or live receptionist for your business.
A virtual receptionist will help keep these calls from reaching you during your working hours, but it may leave you with a voice mailbox full of robotic voices.
Virtual receptionists will also keep telemarketers from getting through to you while you’re working. That said, they may continue to call, potentially leaving voicemails or flooding your phone lines.
On the other hand, a live receptionist will prevent spam calls from reaching you or leaving you messages, keeping your inbox easy to manage and ensuring only important messages make it to you. Additionally, a live receptionist can add you to do not call lists.
Considering that both live and virtual receptionists tend to cost about the same, it makes more sense to hire a professional live receptionist in most instances.
That said, if your business is seriously struggling financially, it may be worth it to attempt to handle your phones yourself until you can afford to invest in a virtual or live receptionist service.
If this is the case, you can always try blocking robo callers yourself. This can help ease the burden of answering your phones.
How Can You Get a Live or Virtual Receptionist?
Virtual receptionists have become increasingly prevalent in the marketplace. There’s no shortage of offerings, which means you should be able to find one pretty easily.
That being said, not all virtual receptionist services are created equal.
Here are some of the features you will want to keep an eye out for when searching for a virtual receptionist:
- The ability to create a customizable navigation menu
- This will help callers find what they’re looking for with ease, preventing them from interrupting you unnecessarily.
- A direct contact option
- This will allow important networking opportunities to speak with you, boosting the likelihood that you can capitalize on them.
- Professional service, voice, and tone
- This ensures the callers’ first impression of your business to be a good one.
With a live receptionist, the considerations are a bit different. Since you’re not dealing with software, your primary concern should be on the professionalism and skill of the receptionist you’re hiring.
A good live receptionist will not only represent your business well, but will also help organize your messages, making it easier for you to respond to important callers without being bogged down with extra work.
Live receptionist services aren’t as ubiquitous as virtual receptionists. When searching, look for a service that offers highly-skilled, well-trained receptionists who can dedicate themselves to building a positive emotional connection with your callers.
If you’re operating your small business remotely or as a solopreneur, you may find yourself swarmed with spam calls. These calls interrupt your work and make it difficult to stay focused.
Luckily, virtual and live receptionist services can help reduce and combat spam calls, leaving you free to concentrate on building your business.
While both virtual and live receptionists can help keep these calls from interrupting your work, live receptionists have the upper hand.
They can keep robo callers from leaving you messages and add your number to do not call lists, keeping you from having to listen to tedious voicemails.
If you’re looking to free yourself up and avoid the distraction of constant incoming calls, Alliance’s Live Receptionist services can help. You gain access to unlimited local and long-distance minutes and a national 411 listed number, all with the personal touch of a professional receptionist answering your phones.