When we say the word ‘receptionist’, what do you think? You might get an image of the person who welcomes you to the hotel when you’re on holiday, or a smartly dressed man or woman at the front desk in an office building. And you would be right. But did you know that that’s not all that they do? There is actually a huge amount more to the modern receptionist, and it looks a lot different to what you might think.
Traditionally, what is a Receptionist?
If we’re going by official definitions, a receptionist is ‘A person who works in an office, store, or hotel, helping visitors or giving people information‘. Essentially, it’s someone who is designated ‘front of house’ and their job is to look after people and answer the phone. You would typically see receptionists at any large company, particularly if it was customer-facing in any way. Most receptionists would generally be at a front desk, ready to meet and greet clients and follow a set of processes to book them in. Over the years, however, the role of a receptionist has changed and evolved. In a changing world where communication is key, modern businesses need modern solutions – and that’s where the virtual receptionist comes in.
What is a Virtual Receptionist?
A virtual receptionist is like a receptionist, but ‘virtual’. Not a hologram or anything from the far-flung future – it just means the person who handles your calls works in a remote fashion, instead of at your front desk. As well as helping out customers and clients, they can do pretty much anything, from answering phones and taking messages, to handling enquiries, making bookings and even sales support.
These services often work by providing a business with a unique divert number. When activated, all calls can be sent to that number, instead of ringing through to your own office. The virtual receptionist can then answer the phone and handle the calls as if they are a part of your business.
Virtual receptionists are perfect for almost any business owner who has struggled to answer the phone when it rings. Lawyers, accountants, dentists, hairdressers and small businesses of all shapes and sizes have all benefited from having that extra person to take calls and handle all the little details for them. Really, there is no industry that wouldn’t benefit from a little outsourced support.
Why Should I Use One?
Cost-Effective: Hiring a full-time receptionist for your business can be expensive, especially when you take into account the cost of recruitment, training, annual salary, holiday and sick cover. A virtual receptionist only costs a fraction of that total, and can be available as and when you need them. The cost of hiring and training them is taken on by your chosen telephone-answering provider. So all you need to do is pay a small monthly fee for the service.
Get More Done: Having a virtual receptionist can do a lot for the productivity of you and your employees. It takes an average of 23 minutes for you to refocus after you’re disturbed by a phone call, and sometimes phone calls can be terribly distractive in an office. But a virtual receptionist can answer your calls throughout the day, so and your staff can maximise your productivity without missing a single thing. This keeps both your team and your customers happy, and allows you to carve out a time to return any calls you need to – at a time that’s convenient for you.
Better Customer Service: Great customer service is at the heart of every successful business. Being able to answer the phone every time a customer calls, in the same professional manner, and have their query dealt with properly, is a cornerstone for good service. Staff might not be able to offer that level of consistency or be able to get to the phone each time if they have a lot to do. But a virtual receptionist is there to do nothing else – which means they can provide a high level of customer service every time.
These are just some of the highlights of having a virtual receptionist. We talk through more of the benefits of using a virtual receptionist here.
At Verbatim, we provide a fully managed and tailored virtual receptionist service to businesses of all shapes and sizes across the UK. All of our call handlers are expertly trained and because we get to know you and your business, we can handle your calls exactly the same way you would – keeping your business consistent and professional. To find out more, just get in touch with the team today.