Does it feel like your small business is running you sometimes? If so, one of the areas you can take the pressure off you and your team is handling your phone calls and customer service to a professional team. In this article, you’ll learn who the best virtual receptionist providers for your small business are and how they can improve it.
As a small business owner, you know you can easily get overwhelmed with responsibilities if you don’t prepare for them — and let’s face it, you have a whole lot more meaningful tasks other than sitting at a desk answering phone calls. Many entrepreneurs say that one of the paths to success is learning to outsource, and it’s no different for small business owners. On the contrary, it’s just as important.
So, in this article, you’ll get to know what the best virtual receptionist providers for small businesses are, but also:
What is a Virtual Receptionist:
A virtual receptionist is, in essence, like a classical receptionist sitting at the entrance. They attend to your customers, provide the answering service, take care of appointments, and arrange package delivery. Now, with most businesses opting for an online model — and with customers researching it on the internet — this job can also be virtual.
Not only that but virtual receptionist providers also have a whole lot more to offer than traditional receptionists. With it, there’s no need to keep you or your team stuck on the business phone line providing an answering service. By opting for these service providers, you’ll clear a lot more time from your schedule and allow to spend your after-hours doing something else other than sending e-mails.
How can a Virtual Receptionist Help Your Small Business:
A virtual receptionist can be much more than the voice of your website or small business. The best virtual receptionist providers can help you with:
- Answering your business calls by providing live answering service.
- Be in charge of scheduling appointments and receiving appointment requests.
- Receiving and replying to messages on your behalf.
- Processing orders.
- Be in charge of a mobile app if you have it, also providing live chat.
Note: Some virtual receptionist providers also allow you to monitor them on their mobile app, which allows you to get information on all services like business calls, SMS, customer data, and more. The best providers will also have virtual assistants that can help you make sense of that data and marketers that can help take advantage of it.
Industries that Benefit the Most from Hiring a Virtual Receptionist Provider:
Here we look at the industries that use and can benefit from having a virtual provider the most. If you have a small business in any of these industries, it’s a good idea to consider using one. But even if your business is a different industry that could use its services, it’s also a good idea to research and reach out to virtual receptionist providers and learn how they can help you.
Industries that benefit the most are:
- Financial Industry: The financial industry is very dynamic and active. With it, being bogged down by phone calls or missing appointments can cost business owners a lot of money from their clients or investors.
- Legal Industry: Lawyer offices or other legal businesses process tons of paperwork. It’s one of the industries that, most often than not, hire secretaries. They can go one step further and do more with virtual receptionists.
- Marketing Industry: Marketers can benefit tremendously by having a provider doing market research, conducting surveys, scheduling content delivery like blogs or e-mails, and much more.
- Medical Industry: Again, no medical professional can afford to be at the desk. Virtual receptionists can handle phone calls, e-mails, appointments with returning and upcoming patients, and much more.
- Information Technology Industry: One of the most high-achieving industries out there. Good virtual receptionists will help with administrative tasks, customer support, and important data research for your business.
- Real-Estate Industry: In this industry, they can help small businesses with marketing and advertising, schedule appointments for home views, phone calls and e-mails, and much more.
Why You Must Have Superior Customer Support in Your Small Business Today:
Nowadays, any small business owner knows that competition levels have done nothing but rise. And consequentially, your customer base also knows it. Customers nowadays don’t tolerate sub-par customer support and hate being redirected to call centers — in fact, many avoid calling just by suspecting they’ll be so.
But there is also good news if you choose the best virtual receptionist provider for your small business. 91% of customers would buy again with excellent customer service. What’s more, 58% would actually prefer to pay more if you have excellent customer service. Also, if your small business provides B2B services, implementation and improvement in customer support could be beneficial for your small business.
As you can see, customer satisfaction can make or break a deal — and the best service providers know it. If you now want to make the best first impressions in your customer calls, then you must consider if a virtual receptionist provider is the best option to go for your small business — which leads us to the next point:
You Should Opt for a Virtual Receptionist if:
- You (or your team) deal with menial tasks during business hours. If you can’t do your designated work, your small business will certainly see less revenue.
- You need to increase your calling effectiveness, have crucial data on your customer base with CRM integration, and improve customer experience.
- If you need help with administrative tasks, your phone system, e-mail, or other services that you’re not proficient with.
- If you want someone to do 24/7 live answering services, professional callers with automatic call routing, process orders, schedule appointments, and respond to text messages from customers and suppliers.
- You’re considering doing a marketing campaign. Many virtual receptionist providers can provide help with it. Not only by call recording or call screening for information, but many also have proficiency with marketing and can help you with your business needs.
6 of the Best Virtual Receptionist Providers for Small Businesses Available to You:
There are many virtual receptionist providers any small business owner can choose. But this article curated the ones that might serve your small business the best.
Ruby was founded in 2003 and provides a wide range of services. It includes 24/7/365 professional receptionists available full-time, part-time, or as backup support, a mobile app for clients, and much more.
Ruby excels at providing a personalized experience to your callers, and it’s deemed one of the best providers due to it. Prices can range depending on the plan a business owner chooses, as well as services.
For receptionists, prices are calculated in minutes and range from $230 for 50 minutes a month to $1595 for 500 monthly minutes.
Nexa is one of the oldest virtual receptionist providers operating in the U.S. Founded in 1982, Nexa excels at providing dedicated services to various industries — from legal and healthcare to even eCommerce. They also have a bilingual call answering service for businesses that operate with customers outside the U.S.
The main attribute is their highly trained virtual receptionists, that can work with various industries and are capable bilingual receptionists proficient in Spanish.
Prices also range from the services they can provide for your small business, they also operate in a minute frame, but business owners have to contact them for a price quote.
Born in 2015 in Silicon Valley, Smith.ai gives a new flare to the virtual receptionist provider business. While also providing traditional, real-time calls and other business needs, they go beyond and offer a live virtual receptionist experience. For small businesses with an online presence, they offer CRM integration, an appointment scheduling system, social media, A.I. live chat messaging, virtual assistant services, and more.
They also have a 24/7/365 live answering service with experience in multiple industries and bilingual receptionists. This provider focuses more on online platforms, so if you have a small business with a high focus on the online field, this can be an opportunity to improve your workflow.
Pricing is calculated by call offering, from 30 calls at $240 per month to 150 calls at $900 per month. You can also customize a plan by contacting them.
SAS has over 30 years of experience and has been a choice of many businesses for outsourcing inbound calls and other services. One of the many industries they have experience in is small businesses, and they have a wide range of offers for any small business owner looking for an assistance company.
It has a wide range of offers for its service plans, which can go from 100 minutes a month at $128 to a total of 10000 minutes for businesses with high traffic, which costs $8599. A pricier option, which you have to consider the traffic your small business has to deem worth it.
Davinci focuses on offering modern solutions to businesses. They provide a fully customized customer experience, with their virtual receptionist providers being amongst the best in the industry. That factor earned them lots of positive claims from their client’s customer base.
If you have a small business with a very complex and customized customer base, this can also be a great choice of virtual provider. Their pricing also ranges in minutes with standard and premium offers. It starts at $129 a month for 50 minutes to premium at $319 a month for 100 minutes.
With a wide range of virtual receptionist services, AnswerConnect has helped many clients improve their productivity levels and processes. It also has around-the-clock call answering, appointment scheduling, CRM integration, a mobile app for monitoring, and more.
It is a great all-around option for business owners that want to retain leads, as this provider also offers marketing services. But for a price quote, you have to get a direct quote by contacting them.
A Few Tips When Researching the Best Virtual Receptionist Providers for Your Small Business:
While you’ve seen a few virtual receptionist providers above, there are many more providers than those we curated for you. In fact, it’s advisable for you to do some research on more virtual service providers to get the best offer available for you.
With it, there are some steps to consider when doing so. Many of these providers might seem similar at first glance but looking into the small prints might give you a glimpse of those big differences that can sway your decision. Let’s look at a few steps you can take to avoid making the wrong call:
- Watch for the same-day activation trap: As a small business owner, you know you can’t — and even if you could, wouldn’t be advisable — to hire a worker on the same day you met them. The same must go for virtual receptionist providers. Many do insist on signing a same-day activation when negotiating. A good provider will have a testing phase of 3-5 days and won’t leave you stuck on an unfavorable agreement.
- Provider experience in your industry: There are several providers to choose from, and many are adept at serving a specific industry. Look for providers that have experience in or specialize in your industry. If they also have significant experience working with small businesses, all the more beneficial to you.
- Do they emphasize quality: You won’t stand a sub-par product or service coming out of your small business, and the same must go for your providers. Make sure they have a skilled team of virtual receptionists and put a high emphasis on their training.
- Read customer case studies and research online: To complement the step above, search around and see if the service provider emphasizes quality by reading customer reports. NOTE THAT: you shouldn’t do this from their website or social channels where they can curate reviews, but look for opinions and customer experiences online in forums and social media.
- Make sure they have call recording: A reliable provider will have call recording with incoming calls from customers and call transfer service. Not only does this help you improve your customer experience with valuable data, but it registers the quality of your incoming calls and the feedback of your customer base and has the means for the provider to improve it if need be.
- If possible, do a real-person meeting: While the provider’s office might not be easily accessible to you, if you can, it’s a good idea to do a real-person meeting and a tour through their offices. Make no mistake! You can learn a lot about them from how they conduct their services based on what you see and the reaction of their virtual receptionists.
FAQs Most Small Business Owners Ask About Virtual Service Providers:
Virtual Receptionist vs. In-House Receptionist: What’s the Best Choice?
Both methods have their advantages and drawbacks. As you saw throughout this article, virtual receptionists can do anything an in-house receptionist can — and even provide some help in fields classic receptionists can’t. You also don’t need a dedicated team member on the payroll for that service.
What’s the Difference Between Telephone Answering Services and Virtual Receptionist Providers?
As the name says, a phone answering service solely focuses on providing those services — like call handling, call forwarding, answering outbound calls, etc. While a virtual receptionist provider can also offer these services — and some we curated above do — they can also help small business owners in other fields, not just phone answering.
Are Virtual Receptionist Providers Affordable for Small Businesses or Startups?
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from their services, but they can put a dent in your cash flow if you want the best, most optimized services — especially in difficult economic times. On that note, if your small business could use their help but has a strained cash flow, a working capital loan could be a great solution. Check out Biz2Credit and see the best options for a capital loan with speed and ease!