A virtual receptionist service can help a small business run efficiently. But can it enrich your relationships with customers and potential clients? You bet! Here’s how:
By making a great impression every time (even when you’re on vacation). A virtual receptionist greets your every caller with a warm voice, and that’s a heck of a lot better than hearing, “Please leave a message at the beep,” or worse (much worse!) endless ringing. A live, bright person on the end of the line is an opportunity for callers to build a relationship with your business—voicemail isn’t. With a virtual receptionist, repeat callers know they’ll always reach a helpful person, and first-time callers are impressed by your dedication to customer service. When you aren’t able to assist callers personally, a virtual receptionist lets them know they’ve been heard, and assures them action will be taken to help them. (“Our attorney is in a meeting at the moment, but she’ll be happy to return your call tomorrow!”).
By getting your callers to where they need to go (and limiting interruptions). Whether your team is in the same office or thousands of miles apart, a virtual receptionist can route calls to different parties when the situation calls for it, saving callers time and leaving you more time to focus on the task at hand. Think of a virtual receptionist as your friendly switchboard! With a little basic information about your office staff, a virtual receptionist can make sure billing questions are routed to your billing specialist, appointment-related questions are routed to your admin, and the calls you want to handle (and those alone) are sent your way. Even solopreneurs benefit from this feature—perhaps you love taking calls from potential clients as they come in, but would prefer to return existing clients’ calls in the afternoon. Having your virtual receptionist transfer certain calls and hold others helps you stay in control of your day. Virtual receptionist services can typically tweak call-handling instructions at the drop of a hat, too; Ruby’s status feature allows you to send updates on the fly, so our receptionists are always in-the-know and equipped with the tools to handle any type of call just as you’d like it to be. The flexibility to field the calls you want when you want to ensures clients always chat with the best version of you (not the stressed version of you).
By gathering information (so you don’t have to). A virtual receptionist will happily ask callers intake questions and provide you with the collected information. Having a virtual receptionist do a bit of administrative legwork allows you to spend more time focusing on the good stuff with clients: building rapport. The information a virtual receptionist gathers can also help you go above and beyond for your callers. Good virtual receptionists will send a message any time they aren’t able to connect a call to you, even if they don’t have much information. (At Ruby, we call them FYI messages.) A brief message like this can be a client saver:
A woman named Karen called. I offered to take a message for you, but she declined to leave one, and said she’d try back later in the week. I included her caller ID.
Rather than waiting for Karen to call again, you can catch her right away—before she seeks out a competitor.
By relaying information (and making you look good). The information a virtual receptionist relays when offering you a call gives you the opportunity to make an excellent impression. It goes a little something like this:
Virtual receptionist to client: Hi! I have Tim on the line. He’s looking for an attorney, and has some legal questions.
Client to virtual receptionist: Great! Please put him through.
Client to caller: Hi, Tim! I’m Susan, the attorney here. I understand you have some legal questions. I’m so glad you called! How may I help you today?
Beats the heck out of greeting a potential client with a simple “hello,” right? Likewise, the messages a virtual receptionist takes help you prepare for your return calls, so you’re ready to provide customers with the help and information they need.
By being there when you can’t. No matter how great a business model or marketing plan you have, you’re probably going to struggle to gain new clients and (retain existing ones) if you’re not able to pick up when they call. A virtual receptionist may not have the answer to every caller’s questions, but they provide entrepreneurs a solid answer to this one: “How am I going to keep callers happy when I’m too busy keeping other clients happy to pick up the phone?” When you receive a call, your virtual receptionist is reliably there, helping you build and sustain positive relationships with customers, and giving you the breathing room to grow your business.