Virtual Receptionist Cost
A virtual receptionist costs less than hiring an in-house team to manage customer service tasks. Learn how to improve the quality of your company with one today!
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The price you pay as the owner of a developing business can vary greatly depending on the success rate of your customer support system. While it may seem like the better option to hire an in-house, full-time, phone assistant, a virtual receptionist can save you a substantial amount of money in the long run. You might be wondering “Is there such a thing as a virtual receptionist?” Of course! And they’re a great alternative to other options. In fact, the adoption of virtual receptionists has grown—particularly with the advancements in telecommunications technology and software integrations.
But how much does a virtual receptionist cost and are they really worth the amount they request? What is the difference between an answering service and a virtual receptionist? Venture deeper to gain a better understanding of the customer service conversations your company could cultivate with a live virtual receptionist. You will soon find that the price you pay now will benefit your business for years or even decades to come.
What Is a Virtual Answering Service vs a Virtual Receptionist?
A virtual answering service is a solution offering assistance that answers calls that come in for your business, often paired with automated technology. In general, the primary goal of answering services is to answer all incoming calls—but their services aren’t as comprehensive as a virtual receptionist. For example, a virtual answering service’s operators typically take messages, provide basic information, and route calls to the right in-house employee. In many cases, they’re a suitable option for businesses looking for a straightforward solution to manage high call volumes, especially outside of regular business hours.
Virtual receptionists, on the other hand, are an answering option that includes a live person picking up the phone immediately, handling tasks such as scheduling appointments or assisting customers with industry-specific questions. When it comes to interacting with customers, your virtual receptionists do more than just answer the phone; they represent your brand. That’s why virtual receptionists are trained to know every aspect of your business, so they are able to communicate with callers in a more knowledgeable and empathetic way. Because of this approach, virtual receptionists aid in several organization-related endeavors that can often be challenging to complete independently. Businesses additionally have an opportunity to manage their company with a higher level of expertise and coordination when using virtual receptionists.
Let’s break it down further. Here are some key differences between an answering service and a virtual assistant receptionist:
- Answering services typically focus on answering calls and taking messages, whereas virtual receptionists provide a more personalized service by being an extension of your business. They answer calls, schedule appointments, and other administrative duties.
- Answering services usually follow a personalized script, but virtual receptionists usually engage in more in-depth interactions, which helps your business connect with customers through a better customer experience.
- Answering services are typically trained for more basic interactions and virtual receptionists are highly specialized in your industry to offer more comprehensive services.
- Answering services cost a small amount less than a virtual receptionist service, but receptionists offer a better value for high-quality customer service and experience.
To put it simply, when it comes to managing calls, a virtual receptionist offers a more personalized service, much like having an on-site staff. On the other hand, a virtual answering service offers more basic call handling services. Keeping that in mind, businesses that prioritize quality interactions and meaningful connections with their customers over standard call answering will appreciate the value offered by hiring virtual receptionists. With the top virtual receptionist companies, like Berkshire Receptionists, your customers will receive all of this exceptional, industry-specific customer service—while saving time and money.
How Do Virtual Receptionists Work?
Virtual receptionists function similarly to a traditional receptionist role—they handle and accomplish tasks that would typically consume a large chunk of your time, freeing you up to manage other aspects of your business. That’s why they’re equipped with the knowledge of your company’s products, services, and culture. With this expertise in their arsenal, they can ensure every interaction is both personalized and professional to be an extension of your business.
A virtual receptionist is a live assistant who handles duties that improve customer support. Outside of the standard phone answering and schedule organizing, the responsibilities of these receptionists could vary, but there are few main tasks to consider as customary across the board.
What Does a Virtual Receptionist Do?
A virtual receptionist can carry out specific customer support-related tasks based on their distinct training and expertise. Understanding the ins and outs of what a virtual receptionist does can provide you with a sense of security about whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth when hiring one.
Take a look at this list of tasks that virtual receptionists can assist you with. It will help you identify areas in your company that could benefit from better direction and uniformity.
- Sharing information with customers – If your company’s product holds information necessary for the customer to know, a virtual receptionist can relay those details on your behalf. One way this is possible is because virtual receptionists serve as knowledgeable ambassadors of your brand. They can provide general information about your business or even help answer in-depth questions that are certainly too complicated for inexperienced call centers to handle.
- Taking and relaying messages – Virtual receptionists can serve as a middle person between the company and the customer for overall communication. They ensure that all communication with a customer is properly documented and routed to the relevant department or person within your company. Because this strategy is done with careful attention to detail and a complete understanding of your company’s communication needs, it ensures that no essential details are lost in translation.
- Handling lead intake – Due to high volumes of scams, screening phone calls and providing a pre-qualification process for sales leads or future clients is crucial for businesses. Scammers masquerading as customers can take away valuable time that would have otherwise been spent offering support to a legitimate client. Your live receptionists can ensure that the person on the other line is a real potential customer and later place them through an onboarding process.
- Receiving payments – This task is often done in tandem with a software that includes interactive voice response (IVR). The ability to integrate with your systems allows for a seamless payment experience, where the virtual receptionist can guide customers through payment procedures, answer any related queries, and ensure transactions are completed securely and efficiently.
- Routing/transfering calls – This duty will ensure that customers are connected with the correct experts in a specified department. In fact, transferring calls involves more than just sending customers to the right person. It actually requires a deep understanding of your business’s structure and the specific roles of various departments. That way the customers not only receive the appropriate assistance, but they’ll also have a better overall experience.
- Assisting customers once they place orders – Customers are given the option to pay for a certain service or product virtually but can also receive additional support and guidance from a receptionist after the order is completed. This may include a virtual receptionist confirming order details, providing information on shipping and delivery, answering any follow-up questions, or addressing concerns related to the product or service.
- Acting as supplementary tech support – At any point after the purchase of a product, many receptionists can help customers when technological issues or discrepancies with the company’s product arise. Because of their deep understanding of your business, they can identify common technical issues and offer clear, step-by-step guidance on how to fix them.
- Providing other technological guidance – For the customers seeking instructions on how to properly operate the product, virtual receptionists can provide supplementary information as needed.
Overall, virtual receptionists typically work for answering services but many will conflate the occupation with that of a phone agent for a call center. Despite the similarities between call centers and answering services, there are some differences worth noting.
What Is the Difference between a Call Center and an Answering Service? Are There Any Alternative Solutions?
While both call centers and answering services often act as third-party companies that take and transmit messages on your business’s behalf, call centers traditionally are large and impersonal solutions that carry out tasks while answering services are more hands-on and live. Let’s get into some additional details that make answering services different from call centers, highlighting where virtual receptionists best fit in.
Generally speaking, call centers have phone agents who are recruited for the sole purpose of taking messages and phone calls. Phone agents in a call center are also used for telemarketing and generic order placements. Their interactions with customers are very surface-level and often inconsistent, sending all the information to the customer at once on behalf of the business they work under. This practice is specifically regarded as call blasting, phone blasting, or voice broadcasting. In many cases, this can also branch out into email and text blasting.
These tactics are generally used by much larger businesses that find themselves processing massive amounts of orders and phone calls each day. The largest companies that utilize phone agents will have their own call center that is in-house rather than hiring a third party. A standard call center usually:
- Handles client issues if they are easy to resolve and very surface-level in nature, but normally only takes orders.
- Compiles massive amounts of information and data, storing it into a database for later reference.
- Manages a very high volume of phone calls each day, lessening their time and ability to develop a closer relationship and bond with clients.
Answering services can provide a more personalized experience with interactions between agents and customers. Their duties are much more customized and phone conversations between the workers and clients last longer, allowing for relationship growth and enhanced customer support. However, most answering services do use an automated component, rather than having a live answer each time.
Virtual Receptionists: A Superior Alternative
For a truly personalized and white-glove experience, a virtual receptionist service is the best option to select. These services are typically used by companies who aim to harbor meaningful and long-lasting partnerships with each of their customers. The receptionists do much more than simply take and relay a few messages. They often receive specialized training that equips them to best serve the company they were hired by as a representative.
Ultimately, there is a much deeper focus on individual phone conversations than with call centers or answering services. Virtual receptionists develop personalized relationships with the customers while adhering to the company’s tone and central message.
A bonus factor with virtual receptionists is that this option offers flexibility in location. Your outsourced receptionists could work in a remote environment, saving space in your physical office space without diminishing the communication quality between the receptionist and the client.
Virtual receptionists might also include:
- Providing customers with standard information such as directions, office hours, etc.
- Spending additional time to escalate a customer’s predicament and resolve it effectively.
- Taking and/or relaying messages as well as transferring and routing calls.
Usually, virtual receptionists are advised and trained not to skim through calls too rapidly. They aim to be an extension of the company’s original voice, which garners a stronger sense of trust from the customers they converse with in each call. Think of virtual receptionists as the concierge-level alternative: live professionals who elevate the customer experience for each call that comes in.
What Is the Difference Between Auto Attendant and Virtual Receptionist?
An auto attendant is an automated system that directs callers to different departments or voicemail through a menu of options, offering a basic level of call management without the personal touch. In contrast, a virtual receptionist from Berkshire Receptionists provides a warm, human interaction, understanding and responding to the unique needs of each caller with empathy and expertise. Our virtual receptionists not only handle calls but also assist with scheduling, customer inquiries, and offer personalized support, embodying the friendly and knowledgeable branding of your business.
Let’s break that down a bit further:
- In contrast to an auto attendant’s impersonal automatic response system, virtual receptionists add a human touch, in part by understanding and meeting the unique needs of each caller. Importantly, they personalize their responses and solutions to suit the particular requirements and inquiries of each caller, giving a more helpful and relevant experience. This kind of personal touch, which is of particular importance in the services provided by Berkshire Receptionists, not only makes customers happier but also builds brand loyalty and trust.
- Virtual receptionists offer much more than just call routing. They also manage appointments, reply to complex customer questions, and take care of certain administrative duties—like handling payments. When compared to the limited capabilities of auto attendants, which are based solely on pre-programmed choices, this versatility stands apart. Berkshire Receptionists’ wide range of services ensures that every customer interaction meets their needs, improving your business’s overall customer service operations.
- Virtual receptionists are more than someone simply taking your calls—they’re representatives of your company—promoting your company’s values and voice in every experience. Unsurprisingly, the ability to connect with customers on a personal, empathetic, or informed level is only made possible with a live receptionist. That’s because an auto attendant, with its generic and automated responses, cannot achieve the same level of representation (which can hurt your brand reputation).
By choosing Berkshire Receptionists, businesses benefit from a service that enhances customer experience, fosters connections, and elevates their brand with a distinctly human touch that an auto attendant simply cannot match.
How Much Does a Virtual Receptionist Cost?
The cost of a virtual receptionist can vary greatly depending on how much time they’re on the phone, the amount of tasks they are responsible for, and the billing structure.
There are several ways you may be billed with virtual receptionist pricing models:
- Per call
- Per minute
- Flat rate
- Pay as you go
and each has its pros and cons. Here at Berkshire Receptionists, we offer a monthly rate that includes a certain number of minutes. Select the plan that fits your needs, and if you go over that plan, you can add on the minutes you need a la carte. On the lower end, starter plans could typically be around $40 per month and $1.89 per minute.
For larger plans, the virtual receptionist cost would range from $180-$850 monthly for $1.69-1.79 per each additional minute. These prices would ultimately depend on how much time you want to invest in the receptionists you hire as well as the type of business you plan to lead long-term.
Running a small business would traditionally require that you set aside around 100 minutes monthly for customer services and support at the very least. If you’re managing an enterprise, on the other hand, putting in at least 500 minutes per month for customer support is ideal. Ultimately, how much time you plan to set aside for your business will determine the overall cost of hiring virtual receptionists.
For more information regarding the virtual receptionist costs, get started on Berkshire’s pricing page and select the option that best fits your company’s unique objectives.
Are Virtual Receptionists Worth It?
Yes, virtual receptionists are definitely worth it. These live assistants breeze through simple tasks that often consume valuable time for businesses. This further allows your company to focus on more complex and detail-oriented work.
With a virtual answering service like Berkshire Receptionists, the support your business receives is not limited to only the hours you are open. In addition to 24/7 support from live receptionists, some other benefits may include:
- Reduced costs
- Increased efficiency
- Improved customer experience
- More time to grow your business
- Decreased workload
- Improved business professionalism
In essence, do people still use answering services? Absolutely, but many opt for the more white-glove solution of virtual receptionists. Many businesses are outsourcing the simpler yet time-consuming tasks with the help of virtual live receptionist services and subsequently raising the value of their company in the process.
Virtual receptionists are much more cost-effective than they often present themselves to be. When discussing the longevity of your company, you’d be spending a substantial amount of funds hiring a team of in-house employees who would ultimately be delegated those tasks rather than a virtual receptionist. Hiring virtual receptionists instead of spending tons of supplementary funds for an in-office team reduces expenses in the long run while increasing your time to focus on other responsibilities.
How Do I Choose an Answering Service? Don’t! Instead Choose Berkshire’s Virtual Receptionists
When you’re narrowing your virtual receptionist search, here are some of the features you should look for:
- Bilingual receptionists (English & Spanish)
- Call transfers
- Custom hold music
- Dedicated account manager
- Disaster recovery
- 5,000+ integration applications
- Email relays
- Local number
- Online client portal
- Personalized greetings
- Secure notifications
- SMS relays
- Usage reports
Fortunately, Berkshire Receptionists has all of the above! As you continue to hunt for the best virtual receptionist for small business owners, you should place us at the top of your list to review. In the seemingly endless sea of virtual receptionist companies, Berkshire is a live virtual receptionist company that cares about the growth and organization of your business.
Best of all, there are no robots acting as receptionists within our company. When communicating with one of our receptionists, you can rest assured that the voice on the other end will always be human. So why not schedule a meeting today or go ahead and get started if you’re ready to experience the difference a live virtual receptionist can make.