- What is a Virtual Receptionist?
- How a Virtual Receptionist Helps Improve Your Professional Brand
- Are There Downsides to a Virtual Receptionist?
Q: How can a virtual receptionist make your small business more professional in contrast to using your personal phone to try to answer your calls.
A: A dedicated virtual receptionist service gives your small business a more professional edge because it can provide a trained professional to screen and answer your business calls, take messages, qualify leads, and capture the revenue you’ve been missing
In the modern age, e-commerce rules. The internet has made it easier than ever to launch a small business, connect with your target market, and operate from anywhere.
With the pandemic showing the viability of remote operations, people feel empowered to pursue their vision and start their own small businesses.
90 percent of Americans reported that the internet has become essential to their lives, showing the viability of an online business.
Many of these new small business owners operate using virtual addresses. This does away with the need for expensive storefront and office rentals, keeping startup costs low.
That being said, this new generation of small businesses faces a unique set of challenges.
Without the traditional structure of older small businesses, the remote small business must establish an air of professionalism without relying on things like an office and a full staff.
Many small business owners make the mistake of trying to use their personal phone for business phone calls.
Luckily, the market has grown to provide innovative solutions to these problems. Among the most useful are virtual receptionists.
What are virtual receptionists? And how can they help you build a professional small business?
This article will teach you all you need to know.
- What are the alternatives to a virtual receptionist?
- How is a Virtual Receptionist Different?
- A Virtual Receptionist Improves Your Company’s Professional Image
- What to Look for in a Virtual Receptionist
What is a Virtual Receptionist?
A virtual receptionist is a type of answering service you can purchase to help you with your business phones.
A type of software, virtual receptionists work by connecting to your business’ phone number. From there, any incoming calls are automatically answered by the virtual receptionist service.
Virtual receptionists typically present the caller with a menu of options. These options can include answers to frequently asked questions or a direct line to your phone.
If you’ve ever called a business or organization and met with an automated answering service, you’re already familiar with this type of software.
Virtual receptionists for small businesses are essentially the same, though they may have different options for the caller more relevant to the smaller business’ services.
How does a Virtual Receptionist Help You Build a Professional Small Business?
Virtual receptionists can help you make your small business seem more professional in a few ways.
For starters, virtual receptionists provide a professional small business greeting. When you use a service like this, you can program your phones to automatically greet each caller with a formal greeting representative of your business.
This adds an element of credibility to your operations without requiring you to personally answer each call.
Additionally, these services allow you to provide callers easy access to important information about your business. This ease of access makes callers feel like you’re more organized and shows them you care about their needs.
Your business has a greater emotional resonance with the caller, making you stand out as a formal operation in their mind.
What are the Downsides of a Virtual Receptionist?
Virtual receptionists have plenty of pros, but they aren’t perfect.
Having a full-time member of your company devoted to answering all your calls could certainly be beneficial, but how many small to medium-sized businesses have the resources for that?
Some companies who offer virtual receptionists really offer nothing more than an automated system — or answering service that provides few features. These companies only answer the phone using a generic greeting, and usually, just take down a number.
These types of services do not do much to increase the professional image of your business.
Most small business owners would rather use their personal phone and handle business phone calls that way.
Fortunately, however, there are companies that offer more robust virtual receptionist plans with a real person to answer your calls using your business name — from a remote location.
What are the Alternatives to a Virtual Receptionist?
The above-mentioned reasons may make you skeptical about using a virtual receptionist.
There are a few alternatives you can try to build your professional small business without using a service like this.
Perhaps the most obvious, you can simply answer your own phones. While this does save money and allow you to greet each caller personally, it can also be very distracting and pull you from focusing on other important tasks.
You can also hire a traditional receptionist to answer your phones. This avoids the hassle of answering the phones yourself while retaining the professionalism of a real human greeting.
Traditional receptionists can be expensive. You have to pay them for all the time they wait for calls.
You also need to have an office for the receptionist to work in. If you’re running a lean startup, trying to turn your side-gig into a full-time job, or just want to operate remotely, this is a big additional burden to take on.
Ultimately, this is why small business owners can benefit from a virtual receptionist.
While some companies offer automated or limited virtual receptionist services, Alliance Virtual Offices offer a virtual receptionist plan that provides your business with a friendly professional to answer your incoming business calls in your company name.
How is a Virtual Receptionist Different?
A virtual receptionist is a friendly professional that answers your calls live from a remote location, so you can focus on your business instead of handling calls.
They answer your incoming calls in your companyś name, helping to improve the professional brand of your business.
Virtual receptionists screen and handle your business calls so that you do not have to — and they can accelerate business growth.
Virtual receptionists are not software or some automated answering service. They’re actual people who are trained to provide excellent customer service.
Using a virtual receptionist improves your company brand and gives your business a more professional image. They also allow you the flexibility to focus on your work and business rather than juggling calls all day.
How Does a Virtual Receptionist Improve Your Company’s Professional Image?
Virtual receptionists help you create a professional small business in a few important ways.
For starters, virtual receptionists offer personal, professional greetings to every caller. This creates a strong first impression right away, building trust in your business immediately.
They also take messages for your company. They are trained to help your business make the right impression on all fronts, including appointment setting, and voicemail delivery.
This means that callers that reach out after business hours are still greeted in an emotionally resonant way, helping further your business’ image even more.
When calls are answered, virtual receptionists offer all the same professionalism you would expect of a traditional receptionist. They respond to inquiries with helpful information, help potential customers with purchases, and build stronger connections with potential networking opportunities.
They also help you build your business by handling calls so that you are less distracted and can focus on growing your company.
Virtual receptionists aren’t bound to a location, meaning you can operate from anywhere while still having all-important calls forwarded to you. If you have to travel or simply don’t like operating from a consistent place, virtual receptionists ensure you retain a professional appearance for your business.
Compared to trying to work and answer your personal phone for business calls, virtual receptionists take on this responsibility, giving you back that time so that your business looks more professional, and you can focus on what matters most.
Finally, a virtual receptionist service provides your company with a dedicated business number and voicemail for calls received after hours. You can receive your messages and voicemails through email.
A virtual receptionist plan also allows you to onboard other business partners or employees easily into the system, allowing for easy adoption of the service.
You want to be authentic but also project a professional business image. While authenticity is great, you probably value your privacy too!
By helping you respond promptly, live virtual receptionists help you put your most professional foot forward as a business owner.
What to look for in a Virtual Receptionist?
Which virtual receptionist is best for building your professional small business depends on a few things, including:
- Your budget
- Your brand image
- The importance of personalization for your callers
- The importance of organization in your business
If you are looking for the absolute lowest investment for a receptionist service, you may want to get an automated service. Some virtual receptionist services do not offer much more than someone answering the phone and maybe taking a message.
These options tend to be clunky and do not give the most professional impression to your callers.
If you are looking to maximize both professionalism and flexibility, a live virtual receptionist plan is probably the best fit for you.
These virtual receptionists keep you from having to rent an office or commit to a specific location while still having the responsiveness, professionalism, and personal connection of a traditional receptionist.
Stop using your personal phone number for business phone calls.
Making your small business more legitimate is one of the most important components of success. Having a professional small business leads to increased networking opportunities and sales in the long run.
The way you handle your business phone matters. Having a professional receptionist service sets the right first impression and lets callers know you take them seriously.
A virtual receptionist will offer more personalization, better organization, and ensure each caller has the best experience possible.
If you’re looking for a solution to help handle your incoming business calls, a friendly virtual receptionist through Alliance Virtual Offices is an easy and affordable choice. You gain access to a professionally trained receptionist that can operate from anywhere, helping you put your best foot forward with each call.
Alliance Virtual Offices’ virtual receptionist plan is called Live Receptionist, and you can learn more about how they can help you avoid missing business calls here.