Your business is booming, and there are calls coming in left and right from clients or other businesses that need their questions answered quickly. Without hiring someone to handle these calls, however, you are simply not going to be able to respond to the many requests that are coming in.
What are you supposed to do in this situation? One option that you may not have thought about is to hire a virtual receptionist. There are several companies out there that allow you to pay a monthly fee in exchange for their receptionist services.
Most of these companies offer fees that would be much lower than employing someone yourself, and provide the convenience of being available for you around the clock. But before you jump ahead and hire a virtual receptionist, there are a few things that you should know.
What Tasks Do Your Receptionists Need to Take Care of for You?
Most of the companies that offer virtual receptionist services will be able to provide a variety of different services based on the unique needs of each client. Some of the more common tasks that a receptionist may handle for you range from answering phones and following up on calls to taking messages and notifying you of cancellations.
Identifying the tasks that you would like your receptionist to complete will make it much easier for the company to provide you with an accurate initial quote. In some cases, these professionals will also be able to handle other petty tasks in exchange for additional fees.
What Type of Budget Do You Have?
When working with most receptionist companies, you should be aware that they will quote you fees based on what types of tasks their receptionists will be completing. You should also know that they will generally not have specifically priced packages that are standard for every business.
With this in mind, you should have some type of budget planned out for how much you can spend for these services. From there, the company that you are inquiring about will be able to give you a better idea of what you can get for your budget.
Prices will also depend on the size of your business and the volume of calls that are received. Larger businesses will generally have to pay in the $300-$400/month range, while smaller to mid-size businesses are looking at a $100-$200/month fee.
How Often Do You Need Them to Be Available?
Another thing that you will want to know before hiring a virtual receptionist is how often you will need the service to be available. This will generally depend on the industry that you are in and the typical times of the day that someone may make a call.
A receptionist for a contractor, for example, will probably only need to be available during typical business hours. On the other hand, an e-commerce store with international customers will probably want to make sure that it has someone available around the clock.
If you have made up your mind that you would like receptionists available around the clock, you should be aware that there will be additional costs associated with this decision. You should also know that not all companies that offer these services will have receptionists that are available around the clock. Fortunately, Message Direct’s virtual receptionists are based in Ferndown, Dorset and are available 24/7.
How Long Do You Need Them for?
This is one of the harder things to determine before hiring a virtual receptionist. Most companies have little idea of how long they feel a receptionist will be required, and therefore simply pay on a month-to-month basis. You should be aware, however, that you can actually save money by committing to longer term plans.
Even if you feel that you have very little idea how long you will need a receptionist for, it is still a good idea to come up with a rough estimate of how long you intend to give a company’s services a shot. Most companies will be more than happy to prove their worth to you before you make any type of long term deal.
Are the Receptionists Native Speaking?
Another big factor that you will want to know about before even getting started working with a company is whether its receptionists are native English speakers. Having someone answer your phones who is difficult to understand and does not have the language skills necessary to be professional can end up doing more harm than it does good.
In general, it is a good idea to go with companies that are based in the same country that your business is located in. In addition, you may want to ask who exactly your receptionists will be, and talk with them so you can get a sense of whether they are people that you would want to represent your company.
One of the more staggering statistics related to businesses and their phone systems is that over 70% of calls that go to voicemail end up as hang ups from those on the other line. That means that customers that may be interested in your products and services are being lost every time you do not have someone answering your phones.
Hiring a virtual receptionist gives you the opportunity to avoid this significant disadvantage, while also enabling you to spend much less than you would to hire a secretary or receptionist of your own. With the flexibility that a company offering receptionist services can provide, there really is no reason not to give one a try.
When searching for a company that offers these services, however, it is important that they are able to help you with the topics listed above. Companies that are able to handle your needs as far as tasks handled, budget, and availability will always be your best option.