The call answering professionals: Over 23 years of virtual receptionist experience

Choosing the right Virtual Receptionist

Our 10 step guide to choosing the right phone answering service.

So you need a virtual receptionist service, but which company do you choose? Not all telephone answering services are created equal. The following guide should help you choose the right one to suit YOUR business.

Value VS Price

Be warned when looking for the cheapest call answering service provider; everything from audible background noise, inflexible scripts, poorly trained staff, a poor onboarding process and a one-size-fits-all approach await you.

Instead, look for a company who is willing to be flexible, genuinely cares about your business and is prepared to create tailor made call handling experience to impress you clients and make your lives infinitely easier.

Make sure the pricing is transparent

Does your virtual receptionist offer clear pricing? Are there hidden extras for transferring a call? Do they allow you roll over any unused minutes? Can you upgrade or downgrade your service according to your changing call volumes and levels of demand from your customers.

Look for additional services to give you even more freedom

Can the phone answering service take orders, qualify leads, manage your diary and take appointments?

Some providers can do more than answering phones, they can take a large portion of your sales operation off your hands.

If you don’t need these services now, perhaps you will in the future so look for a provider who can offer you more as you as you grow.

Look for longevity

Experience in handling all sorts of scenarios and different types of caller is customer service gold.

Remember the company that you hire will be your front of house giving that all important first impression so experience is key.

What you may not realise is that high turnover rates and closures after only a few months in business are alarmingly common in this industry.

You don’t want to be left high and dry if the company goes bust.

Do they take the time to get to really know you?

Partner with a business who bothers to get to know your industry so they can talk YOUR talk.

If you want your clients to think your receptionists are sitting in your office they need to take the time to get industry savvy.

Find the right fit for you

First and foremost, choose a phone answering service that aligns with your business values.

What sort of company culture do they have and what do they believe in?

Similarly, pay close attention to the way they handle your enquiry at every touchpoint.

This will tell you a whole lot about how they are going to treat and care for YOUR customers.

Do they offer a trial?

A trial not only gives you peace of mind before making the full commitment but it should also enable the virtual receptionist service to determine what call volumes to expect and therefore what price point to start you off at.

But make sure the trial is long enough to really get a feel for the service they provide.

What happens if their systems go down?

An unlikely event BUT you need to know your operation can continue to function even if disaster strikes.

Does the company have backup power?

What occurs if the telephony provider goes down? What occurs if a hard drive or power supply goes out?

What are the customisation capabilities?

There’s nothing that shouts ‘outsourced’ more than a receptionist working from an inflexible script. To give your clients the best service you need a provider who can create truly bespoke solutions to cater for all your call handling needs.’

Can they customise greeting phrases and call handling protocols for individual members of your organisations?

Can they create customised answers to FAQ’s, recognise frequent callers or VIP clients and treat them accordingly?

Hint: Ask if they have created their software in-house or if they use an off-the-shelf version – that should give you a clue

How good are the receptionists?

You are only as good as the people you employ so you need to know that the receptionists are second to none.

Telephone answering is more than just picking up the phone and greeting the caller, it’s a highly skilled, front of house, reputation making or breaking competence. You want to give your clients the very best experience so look for clear speaking, well-mannered people with a truly can do attitude and excellent multitasking and interpersonal skills. It’s worth asking how they are trained.

Ideally, they will have both a professional qualification (NVQ) AND ongoing in-house training to ensure they give you and your clients the best possible service.

Here's the great news... We can help!

For over 20 years we’ve been giving business owners and executives more time and freedom to build and grow the business they love.

Partnering with Verbatim means you get:

We can do lots more to streamline your business and free up valuable time.

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Qualify leads

Make your sales operation far more efficient

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Manage your diary

We can enter directly into your diary so you can focus on more important things.

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Take orders

We’ll take that tricky first conversation in our stride so you don’t have to.


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