Can a VA Be My Receptionist?
Yes! Virtual Receptionists (VR) are a special kind of virtual assistant. You don't use them on a task-by-task basis. Instead they answer incoming calls, and on some occasions, place outgoing ones.
The best VRs are polished, customer-service minded professionals that treat callers to your company with respect.
You might say they "smile with their voice."
What Exactly Does a VR Do?
Almost anything you need relating to answering a phone!
Some of the basic services usually include:
- Live Operator during set hours
- Personalized greeting customized for your company
- Call transferring (a.k.a. "call patching") directly through to you
- Messaging, and
- Voice Mail
Other services widely available are sometimes offered at an additional cost:
- Your choice of area code or toll-free number
- Fax services
- Web access control panel
- After hours, weekend or 24/7 live operator
- Appointment setting
- Customized call reports
Finally, there are also premium options that often come at higher rates:
- Multilingual operators and/or translation services
- Full call center functionality
- Dispatching services
- Lead qualification
How Much Does a VR Cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 up to $750, based on your call volume. There are services out there that may offer cheaper starting prices or that offer packages costing more than $750, but most plans fall within this range.
Many factors come into play when determining price.
For example, some services charge per call versus per minute. There are advantageous to both. Businesses that prefer to be charged per minute expect to have a high volume of very brief calls. This is typically best for call transfers or very basic message-taking.
If you want your calls to cover a little more information (more detailed messaging, perhaps giving general information, answering questions, directions, etc.) you would probably prefer per call payment options.
What Else Should I Look For?
Selecting your perfect receptionist involves many factors. Ultimately, you will have to go with the service that feels most right to you to be your "voice of choice."
These tips and cautions should help you as you make your decision.
- Ideally, your VR is also a VA! Save money by having one administrative professional fulfill your business' administrative needs as well as expertly handle your calls. Unfortunately, this occurs in only about 20% of companies offering virtual receptionist services.
- Customization is key so make sure the service you select allows you to tailor it to fit your needs. After all, you want your callers to think the receptionist they speak to is sitting in your office!
- Read the fine print. Some companies offer a great price but overcharge on their overages and fees. Make sure you understand how extra calls, extra minutes, long distance and other features factor into the final price.
- Be commitment shy. More and more companies are moving to month-to-month contracts but a few still require long commitments - up to 3 years in some cases! A good compromise is a short initial commitment (say, 3 months) followed by month-to-month service.
- Don't be fooled by ridiculously low prices. These are often offered by companies that outsource to low-cost foreign operators, who speak minimal English. Fortunately, with just a little digging on most websites, you can find this out.
- Try before you buy. Many services offer a free trial period. After you've done your research and made a selection, take them for a test drive to ensure the perfect fit for your company.
Do you have more virtual receptionist questions? We would love to answer them!
Maybe your question will be the next great one to add to this site. Or perhaps you would like to get information on our own virtual receptionist service.
Whatever your question, include it in the form below and we will get back to you right away!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Virtual Assistant Definition
- What exactly is a Virtual Assistant (or VA for short)? Find more than just a virtual assistant definition here! Learn all about VAs, who uses them, and for what kinds of tasks...
- Administrative Assistant Duties
- Examples of common administrative assistant duties your team can perform for you virtually; beats an on-site employee hands down! Find out why...
- Live, Virtual Receptionist Services
- Learn how a live virtual receptionist can bring professionalism to your business AND save you money...