Whether you own a general store, sell a service like construction estimating, or even have your own law practice, how you spend your time as a business owner is one of the deciding factors of whether you’ll make a success of your company, or struggle.
You have to balance your time between completing projects to deadline, on budget and to a high standard, as well as bringing in new business and staying in touch with your current customers.
If you can’t keep on top of your time, you’ll quickly get bogged down in admin and tasks that take away from the things that pay the bills.
One thing that can easily get lost during a busy day is being able to answer the phone.
This can be fatal for your business.
Not answering the phone to a potential new customer can easily lose you a sale.
Failing to answer when a paying customer calls with an issue or question can put the relationship at risk and jeopardise your long term future.
You could hire someone to deal with your calls.
But that can get expensive.
A full-time receptionist can easily cost you £19,000 plus on costs a year in wages (closer to £30,000 in London).
Not to mention the additional management duties that come with having an employee like insurance, tax, holiday pay and sick pay.
Managing your employee can become more of a headache than the problem you hired them to solve in the first place.
But when it comes to managing your business’ call handling, a virtual receptionist can be the best solution.
Here’s the six reasons a virtual receptionist is a great investment for your business.
1. Get professional customer service
Just because you can’t get to the phone doesn’t mean it should leave your customers in limbo.
Sending any customer to voicemail is an easy way to damage your reputation and put your business’ future at risk.
A virtual receptionist works just like a traditional receptionist would.
They can answer calls, take messages, deal with customer enquiries and make sure urgent calls get through to the people they need to.
2. Putting people behind your business
As useful as websites and chatbot messaging services can be, there are times when customers will want to speak to a person.
They want to feel they’re being treated like an individual, not just a number on a spreadsheet.
When something’s going wrong, the last thing they need is to be sent down an ‘automated’ system to solve a problem on their own.
By having a virtual receptionist on the end of the phone, you create that human-to-human connection between your business and customers.
Instead of getting automated responses or a robotic voice asking them to leave a message, customers get to speak to someone and get the reassurance that their problem is being dealt with.
3. Get more consistent and reliable call answering
As hard as you try, you can’t always be available to answer the phone.
Even if you’ve got employees working in an office, any manager will know the frustration that comes with each employee answering the phone in a different way.
Or, worse, failing to take down all the information they need to when taking a message for a colleague.
All of this can create confusion for employees and inconsistent customer service – which puts your business’ reputation and future at risk.
A virtual receptionist removes these problems.
They create a consistent answering service across your business, ensuring every call is answered quickly and that the right information is taken and passed on to the relevant person every time.
4. Get more cost effective call answering
Hiring a full-time receptionist can be a good idea for your business, if you have the money.
But the average salary for a full-time receptionist in the UK is £19,000 according to totaljobs.com.
That rises to around £30,000 for more experienced receptionists.
Not to mention the additional costs for insurance, tax, holiday pay, sick pay, cover for annual leave.
The list goes on.
Do you have that kind of money to invest?
And don’t forget, when your receptionist is on a break, or goes on leave, you’re still paying them even though you’re not getting the service.
Plus, if you’re a newer business that isn’t taking as many calls, is it worth the investment for a full-time receptionist?
5. Get help managing a busy diary
While you might think a virtual receptionist is only for call answering, you’d be wrong.
A virtual receptionist can also help you manage your diary, and arrange and book meetings for you.
They can get access to your diary and coordinate with others to arrange times that work for everyone.
This can take a lot of admin off your hands and free you up to concentrate on the parts of your business that make you money.
Your diary will also update in real-time as the virtual receptionist books meetings, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally double booking your time.
6. Get more time to concentrate on your business
There’s a big difference between working in your business and on your business.
As the owner, you need to free up as much time as you can to work on your business so you can plan and grow.
But dealing with calls and diary management can easily drag you back towards working in your business and make it harder for you to develop your business.
A virtual receptionist means you can concentrate on working on your business and focussing on value adding tasks, without worrying about missing calls and potentially losing out on new business.
Plus, if you’re going through a quieter period, you can scale back your virtual receptionist contract until you pick up again – something you’re not able to do if you hire a full-time member of staff.
Professionalise your business’ call answering
While you might have a number of channels for customers to get in touch, being available on the other end of the phone is still essential when a customer tries to contact you.
But as much as you want, you can’t guarantee you’ll be available to answer every call.
And with so much riding on customer service today, do you really want to risk not being there when the phone rings?