Is It Time to Hire a Virtual Receptionist?
As businesses seek to increase their efficiency and decrease their costs, they look closely at their staff and the cost of that staff, which is often the single largest item on their financials.
To accomplish this, many companies tap virtual staff, people who work for them—often as subcontractors—but who don’t work on site. Instead they work from another location.
Some companies have only virtual staff and may not even have an office. They are lean, effective, and productive. All these factors contribute to greater quality and profitability.
Perhaps the most venerable of virtual staff is the time-honored virtual receptionist: a real person who answers your phone calls and provides related communication services but who doesn’t sit in your office.
Here are the key results from using a virtual receptionist, all of which fit nicely into the virtual staffing paradigm, perhaps even exemplifying it.
Opening early tomorrow? Need to stay an hour later tonight? How about special Saturday hours this weekend?
Your staff receptionist might object to working extra hours and could decline. This represents a static, inflexible situation.
Not so with your always-on, always-available virtual assistant, who’s ready to work anytime, 24/7. It represents a dynamic, completely flexible solution.
And what about those unexpected times when one person in your office can’t handle all your incoming phone calls? A virtual answering service scales to meet your needs, automatically and without any hassle.
Reduce Payroll Expense
What’s the cost of one full time employee, say your receptionist? Start with the hourly rate. Then factor in overtime, because it will sometimes occur.
Add in benefits such as vacation pay, retirement, and health care insurance, the killer cost of them all.
Now consider vacation time, sick days, and personal days. Someone needs to cover all those open hours, and that represents another cost. And don’t forget associated expenses stemming from payroll, human resources, and management.
The numbers add up fast, and it’s staggering. A $12 an hour employee can easily have an effective cost of twice that.
Now replace this person—along with the staggering cost—by using a virtual agent from your telephone answering service. A large payroll liability becomes a much smaller line item on your financials.
Perhaps business is humming along fine. Your eight-to-five, Monday-through-Friday receptionist does a great job and covers the entire day—with the exception of a lunch hour and two breaks.
Then you decide to stay open to seven each evening. Will you expect your receptionist to work ten hours of overtime each week? Can you even afford it?
Then you begin opening at seven each morning, too, and eventually add Saturday hours. Who will cover your phone for all those extra hours?
Should you hire more staff or simply tap a virtual receptionist? They offer a true low-cost, full-coverage option. Plus, once in place, your receptionist can cover your phone when you’re closed, too, 24/7.
Virtual receptionists are diligently screened during the interview process. The few who are hired receive careful training before they answer a single phone call.
In fact the average each agent receives weeks of initial training and periodic ongoing training to cover advanced skills.
Among other things their training addresses are professionalism and quality, as well as how to convey confidence to callers, take information with the utmost accuracy, and express an engaging personality over the phone.
Few corporate receptionists receive this degree of in-depth, advanced customer service training. This isn’t to put down your staff receptionist, but you can expect even more from a virtual receptionist.
About Peter DeHaan
Peter DeHaan, is CEO of Peter DeHaan publishing which produces print media periodicals and Internet-based publications, as well as media and informational websites. In addition, and TAS Trader. Notable websites and publications include: TAS Trader, which focuses exclusively on the needs, concerns, and opportunities of the Telephone Answering Service (TAS) Industry. It is written by the TAS Industry and is for the TAS Industry. Connections Magazine, which is the premier magazine for the Teleservices Call Center Industry and is distributed to qualified readers at call centers, contact centers, teleservice agencies, telephone answering services, and telemessaging companies.