With more businesses sticking to remote and hybrid working, it has created a new challenge when it comes to customer communication and collaboration between teams.
While it’s important to embrace the freedoms and flexibility we’ve all got from these ways of working, it’s still important to have a central port of call for customers when they’re trying to get in touch with you.
Managing this has become difficult in some situations.
Afterall, how do you retain a single point of contact for an office that’s essentially virtual? With more employees working from home than one building?
This is where a virtual receptionist comes in.
Virtual receptionists are the digital answer to what the traditional receptionist was to fixed offices.
Providing a professional presence as the first point of call for customers, ensuring they get to the person they need, first time.
How does a virtual receptionist work?
A virtual receptionist works much the same way as a traditional receptionist – except they work remote.
When a customer or prospect gets in touch, your virtual receptionist will be the first voice they hear.
Your virtual receptionist directs calls to the right members of staff, takes messages to be handed on and dealt with later or, in some situations, handles customer enquiries directly.
Depending on the service you need, a virtual receptionist can handle all your call management, or just deal with any overflow during busy periods.
Unlike call centres, virtual receptionists work closely with you, as part of your business and will take the time to understand how your business operates and the types of calls you deal with.
This way, as far as the caller knows, when they’re speaking with your receptionist, they’re speaking with a member of your own team.
Virtual receptionists create a great first impression
A cheery receptionist used to be a staple in any business’ office.
They’re still around in some companies, but businesses working online, using shared office spaces or adopting hybrid and remote work need a different answer.
A virtual receptionist is that answer, providing the personable, professional first line of customer service, adapted for the digital age.
Just creating this first impression can have immediate commercial benefits.
Around two-thirds of customers say they wouldn’t use a company again if it made a bad first impression.
Virtual receptionists ensure you make this first impression.
Why you should have important calls answered by a virtual receptionist, not a machine
Automated answering services can be useful, to a degree, mostly in helping customers navigate to the right department, person or information they need.
But they do require the customer to do all the work, and also assumes the customer actually knows which person or department is best placed to help them.
More common is the customer gets through to the wrong person, and then needs to be transferred.
Having an actual person on the other end of the line who can talk to your customer, listen to their issue and get them the right information or onto the right person first time is much more valuable and personalised.
And the numbers don’t lie.
Almost 90% of people prefer speaking to a real customer service representative on the phone, as opposed to listening to phone menus, which 67% of people find frustrating, according to Clutch.
And almost 75% of callers end up speaking to a real person after weaving their way through an annoying phone menu anyway. So why not cut out the machine?
There’s no replacement for amazing customer service
As beneficial as more modern automated systems can be, a genuinely enjoyable customer experience is something that can only be offered by a real person.
Something a virtual receptionist service could provide in spades.
Their ability to work remotely and still deliver exceptional service for your customers, along with all the benefits listed above, makes them an ideal choice for businesses wanting to make a real difference in their first impressions, handle greater call volumes and more.
But perhaps their most appealing feature is their ability to uphold the traditional touch. The legitimate experience of being greeted by a pleasant, knowledgeable working professional, ready to help you with all your business needs.
The world is moving forward pretty fast, but nostalgia can be a powerful tool. If you want to keep the best qualities of past practices in your business, employing a virtual receptionist is a no-brainer.