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A Virtual Receptionist Might be Just What You Need

By Jessica Valdez   |    August 14, 2017   |    9:44 AM

  

Virtual receptionist vs. In-house Hire

The phones are ringing, the email is pinging and the web messages keep coming in. You can’t keep up and you need help, pronto.

But what’s the best fit for your bustling business -- an in-house receptionist or a virtual assistant (VA)?

There is no one right answer, but a VA could be the perfect fit. The benefits of hiring virtual are many.

Saving time

If you hire a staff receptionist, you first have to find the right candidate, which means lots of time screening and interviewing applicants, checking references and experience, and creating policies and procedures to govern their time in the office.

And even after you devote all those hours, there’s no guarantee you’ll come away with the ideal person for the job.

Hiring virtually can take all of that off your plate. Virtual assistants are already screened, which means you know you’ll be hiring a great candidate with the right skills to keep your office running smoothly. And once they’re found, management is handled, too, leaving you free to focus on those things that keep your businesses growing.

Saving money

And as you’re saving time, you can be saving money, too.

If you hire in house, you have to offer a competitive salary and benefits, as well as vacation and sick time, not to mention payroll taxes. The average receptionist salary in the United States is $13.05 an hour, according to payscale.com. And those with more experience command more money, and geography and type of office also can increase that to upwards of $16 an hour.

Hiring a VA offers cost savings while not sacrificing quality.

Saving customers

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of hiring virtually is customizing your coverage. If you need your phones answered around the clock, it’s possible without breaking the bank on overtime, or causing your employees sleep deprivation.

Unmanned phone lines -- whether they are unmanned because it is after hours or during lunch breaks or on sick days -- can hurt your business. Studies found that more than 60 percent of people who are asked to leave a voicemail when reaching out to a business simply hang up. And more than 30 percent of those who call for their first interaction hang up if their calls go unanswered within a minute.

In-house receptionists will work a max of 40 hours a week (unless you want to pay them overtime), which means you won’t have coverage during an after-hours emergency, in turn, risking alienation or lost repeat business.

So hiring a VA can help you keep your clients happy. Research has found happy clients are willing to pay up to 30 percent more for products and services that are backed by standout customer service.

Keeping it flexible

Virtual assistants also offer flexibility not found with an in-house hire. If it’s a slow day for you, can choose to answer phones, email and web messages yourself vs. keeping a staff person on the clock for eight hours to accomplish tasks you could do yourself.

VAs are priced flexibly, so if you don’t need them all the time, you don’t pay them all the time.

And even better, hiring virtually means you not only draw on the expertise of one person, but many who can bring strength to your operation.

If you are seeking more information on the advantages and services a virtual assistant can provide, contact us to learn more.