A growing business can quickly stall when the owner and key staff members are stuck answering every incoming call to the business. Often times, these are silly calls, such as people asking where the business is located, what their hours of operation are, or common pricing questions. These questions could easily be answered by a staff member dedicated to strictly answering the phones, such as a receptionist.
If you’re running a totally cloud-based business, the need for a presence on the phone rarely diminishes. Some people just won’t do business through a website or emails. They need to talk, even see the person they’re doing business with. A physical receptionist working in an office is sometimes necessary to make customers happy. However, many modern businesses can benefit in many ways from using a virtual receptionist.
Here are 3 ways hiring a virtual receptionist is a financially sound decision.
1. A receptionist answering the phone makes you look bigger
It’s been proven over the last ten years that millennials are shifting their money to smaller brands who can offer a personalised experience. However, the majority still trust the reliability of an established business with experience. A receptionist makes your company look bigger and more important, which will definitely draw in more sales from impressed prospects calling your business.
2. Leads aren’t captured when phones aren’t answered
Well over half first-time callers to a business will not call back if they don’t get an answer, or are connected to an answering machine (do businesses still use these?) There are a lot of parameters to getting a sale that take place on that first phone call.
The great thing in particular about a virtual receptionist is they’re always there to take the call, and taking the call is more than half the battle. Instruct your virtual receptionist to tell callers when you’re not available because you’re busy with clients, but will call them ASAP. Imagine the clout and sense of urgency this builds with clients looking for a popular service to meet their needs?
3. Less time is wasted fielding less important or completely non-important phone calls
When you or your team are answering silly phone calls a twelve-year-old could deal with, you’re not servicing your existing customers as well, or working on innovation and growth for the company. You’re more than likely annoyed at the world, and each other!
A virtual reception team can help you avoid needless conversations and the resulting aggravation and time-wasting it causes. Train them to answer FAQs like:
- What are your business hours?
- Are you guys still open?
- Where are your office location(s)?
- What services do you offer?
- Pricing (Eg., “Our company carefully tailors our price to individual needs, an agent can call you back at ‘such and such’ a time to go over your needs.”
There are at least 10 very common questions incoming callers ask on any given day. Imagine how easily that time savings will turn into more profits.
Reception adds an element of professionalism to a growing business
A virtual receptionist team can affect the impression made on different callers in many ways. First, nobody hires a receptionist if they don’t have tons of phone calls coming in, indicating to callers that you run a successful business with people lining up at the literal or proverbial door for your services. Next, since a virtual receptionist will be available 24/7, zero calls will ever go unanswered. As mentioned, leads can be preserved simply by having someone answer and assure a call back, or schedule an appointment to meet with a prospect.
This lets people know that you’re committed to working hard for their business, even when you can’t answer the phone directly. Next, virtual reception services are on-demand, meaning even if you only normally need them to answer after-hours calls, they can be put into action at anytime with the click of a mouse if you and/or your team start getting hammered with calls during the day.
You save money using a virtual receptionist over an in-office employee
Compare rates among any virtual reception service, and you’ll find a variety of pricing models. You do get what you pay for, but if you go with an established service, you’re going to get access to great call answering professionals regardless.
Pricing packages usually include per call or per minute charges. If you have larger call volumes, discount packages are generally offered by the larger firms, too. It usually costs $100 and up to get started on the low end of the spectrum, and you pay only for the service; not the individual costs of hiring and paying an in-house employee.
Review of the true cost of hiring a virtual receptionist:
- An entire team available 24/7 costs hundreds, not thousands a month.
- You pay for the service, the service pays the receptionists.
- No costs for bonuses, benefits, or other related expenses.
- You aren’t paying someone to sit around when calls aren’t coming in.
Now, consider the true cost of hiring an in-house receptionist, or reception team:
- Minimum $2,500 a month in salary.
- Minimum $4,100 a month for: 401k, social security, healthcare, disability, pension, and time-off related expenses.
- Untold expenses when calls aren’t coming in and the receptionist is working on her nails or making personal texts or phone calls.
- Untold expenses for training, as you’ll have to provide them with software they may be unfamiliar with, and other training issues.
- Untold time and monetary expenses of recruiting, hiring, training, and firing or otherwise losing one receptionist after another.
- Untold cost of calls lost when the receptionist isn’t able to answer the call right away and the prospect hangs up, or when business hours are over.
As you can see, it literally costs thousands of dollars a month to hire a physical receptionist. The fact is, you really don’t know how much money they’re costing you in addition to salary and benefits, as the other issues mentioned can really dig into a company’s pocket book. It’s also difficult to fire a “bad” receptionist once they’ve passed their probationary period.
A bad receptionist scares customers away, doesn’t take messages properly, overbooks appointments, and just plain makes you and your team’s job harder. Hiring a service solves this problem too, as they do extensive quality control monitoring of their staff and eliminate the bad apples. This lets you stay on track to growing your business, knowing your phones are being answered quickly and effectively.