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How do virtual assistants work?

3-minute read

Rory Whelan, Marketing Manager – eReceptionist®

26 March 2018

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From professional answerphone solutions to specific landlines and phone extensions, a virtual receptionist service can help retain valuable customer leads. Here's the expert guide from eReceptionist.

Ever lost out on a job because you couldn’t answer your phone in time, or were on holiday and had everything switched off? For many sole traders and small businesses, a receptionist would be great, but hiring one simply isn’t feasible. Now that virtual receptionists are on the increase though – could technology do the hard work for you, pointing customers and callers to the right place, at the right time?

  • This new website could help solve the UK’s late invoice payment problem

Rory Whelan, marketing manager at eReceptionist explains the benefits:

What is a virtual receptionist and how can it help your business?

From the start of the telephone age, large businesses have enjoyed the benefits of internal switchboards. Usually when you call one of these large companies you’re either answered by a receptionist or given a list of options for how to direct your call. And that’s always been an advantage for bigger companies – the call is directed to where it should go, saving lost calls (and lost revenue).

But it’s also good customer service.  A j2 Global® survey has shown that 59% of new customers will not leave a voicemail if the call isn’t answered. When customers (or potential customers) call, they expect to speak to someone (especially having chosen to call instead of using email or social media). Big businesses know that answering calls is critical to productive engagement.

Growth can threaten your service level

This is great for larger businesses, but what about the sole trader relying on their mobile phone or a small/medium-sized business? When first starting out, most businesses find connecting with customers easy but as the business grows, the call volumes increase and service levels tend to suffer.

That’s where a virtual receptionist service such as eReceptionist can help retain great customer service. A virtual receptionist service allows your calls to be answered and routed using the cloud, so that your customer gets answered and your business gets the opportunity.

Take to the cloud and control your calls

Because the latest generation of virtual receptionist products give you control over when and how your calls are answered and routed; you can have a greater degree of confidence in calls reaching the right person, at the right time. Essentially, a virtual receptionist works in exactly the same way a traditional office-based receptionist or switchboard operator works – taking a call and trying to connect it with the right person or department.

Based on the way your business works, a virtual receptionist will try all the numbers associated with a person or department. If it doesn’t reach you on your desk phone, it’ll try you on the mobile. If you are not available – in a meeting or away on holiday, it’ll transfer an incoming call to a colleague. The call will keep being transferred until your customer gets an answer.

What else can a cloud-based virtual receptionist do?

A system such as eReceptionist offers all the benefits of a real life receptionist or an expensive big box PBX system (a Private Branch Exchange, used by companies as a private telephone network), but at a fraction of the cost. All your calls get a professional answer and are routed to where they need to go. There’s no additional hardware or software to be installed or support. All you need is a phone line and that includes the mobile in your pocket. You don’t need lots of technical skills either – a virtual receptionist can be set up in five minutes.

But that’s just part of what a virtual receptionist system can do. You can also:

  • Create new virtual landline numbers for your business. Running an ad campaign? Why not use a new number so you can measure your call volumes and see how effective certain media are?
  • Want to expand or move into a new area? Open a new virtual office in a new town or city with a local landline in that area – customers often choose local numbers for that first call and we have numbers from all over the UK
  • Bring your business to national attention and give yourself the opportunity to get calls from all over the country with a Freephone 0800  number
  • Add and remove extensions as your business grows, and take your number with you wherever you go, even if you move premises
  • Need extra help? If you are a seasonal business and need an extra pair of hands, we also offer a live receptionist service who can take live calls and answer basic service desk queries

A good cloud-based virtual receptionist service is built to tackle the areas you need help with, configured to work around all aspects of your business.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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