The right virtual receptionist can make all the difference for a small business struggling to handle its calls. For startups to bakeries to construction companies, these businesses benefit from a dedicated service that can respond to potential customers right away.
Most virtual receptionists are stellar employees. They have excellent phone manners, enjoy helping others solve problems, and often have specialized skills that can make them perfectly suited to specific business types.
However, stereotypes about the voice services industry – especially call centers – plague virtual receptionist companies. If you’re not familiar with voice services, it may seem like all providers are the same. Call centers handle a much higher number of clients than boutique companies like Easybee, and those centers usually can’t offer the same level of service.
Think about it this way: if a call center is your standard chain hotel (less expensive but no-frills), a virtual receptionist agency is a bed and breakfast. It offers personalized services to a smaller number of customers.
Moises Hasbun, Executive Director of Easybee, puts it like this:
“We focus on quality. If a call can be handled by dozens of people, you can get more efficiency per hour of labor for the person. But we believe we bring a lot more value the way we do things at Easybee.”
Let’s look at four stereotypes about the voice services industry and break down why they’re not true for virtual receptionists
1. Virtual Receptionists Don’t Speak Good English
A common complaint about call centers is that their employees speak heavily accented English. While this may be true of a few answering services, the vast majority of virtual receptionists speak perfect English. Many are multilingual, especially at Easybee, which offers services in both English and Spanish.
Most employees at Easybee are college educated, says Hasbun, and have excellent verbal communication skills. The same goes for virtual receptionists across the industry.
2. Distance Makes Virtual Receptionists Useless
Some people may assume that the distance between a virtual receptionist company and its clients puts the client companies at a disadvantage. But thanks to high-speed Internet and modern cell phone technology, distance isn’t a barrier.
A receptionist can create a digital memo for each call, which he then sends to the client company via email or text. It’s just like a traditional secretary who uses paper memos. These notes, however, are impossible to lose and accessible anywhere.
Not only can virtual receptionists handle calls from anywhere, but they can do so more efficiently than a traditional receptionist.
3. Virtual Receptionists Scare Off Customers
It’s logical to worry whether a virtual receptionist will properly represent your company. What if she follows a script and sounds like a robot? What if he doesn’t treat my customers with respect?
In an ideal call, though, your customers never even know they’re speaking with a virtual receptionist. Since most receptionists become deeply familiar with their client companies, they sound just like an employee of your own company when they pick up the phone.
“Operators have a script, but it’s more of a guideline,” says Hasbun. “Our employees have to have very good conversational skills.”
Since receptionists are trained to handle calls as warmly and politely as possible, business owners don’t have to worry about their customers feeling alarmed.
4. Virtual Receptionists Don’t Have Specialized Skills
Some may claim that anyone can be a virtual receptionist. After all, we’ve all answered the phone before.
However, not only are virtual receptionists outstanding with people – a skill in itself – but most have a background in other fields. They can bring that expertise to bear for your company.
For example, if a receptionist has previously worked in real estate, she’d be a good candidate for your real estate company. She already knows industry language, like “bridge loan” and “depreciation,” and can answer customers’ questions in a cinch.
Besides, receptionists are also excellent at finding solutions to unique problems. If you have specific cases for them to handle, you can be that most receptionists will catch on to your guidelines quickly.
Virtual Receptionists: Qualified and Attentive
While misunderstandings about the voice services industry as a whole can give virtual receptionists a bad rap, the business world’s attitude about them is changing. Virtual receptionists can help funnel leads directly to small companies that want to spend their time creating, not answering the phone.
Stereotypes about receptionists’ qualifications are easy to debunk and show just how useful virtual receptionists can be.
Elizabeth is a content writer and marketer at Clutch, a B2B research firm in the heart of Washington, DC. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.