Its hard enough to run a small business. You have payroll issues, rent, collecting from clients. There are a million details to worry about. Why worry about answering your phones after hours (or even during business hours)? This article explores virtual receptionist services for small businesses.
Answering Services for Small Businesses
Many small businesses have limited staff. Often, the owners are required to do much of the leg work, including answering phones. If your small business is a service business, your time is likely better spent servicing your clients rather than answering phones. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore those phone calls. Some calls are money — new clients, existing clients with additional work or service requests, etc.
What if you could offload some (or all) of those calls to a virtual receptionist? That’s what virtual receptionists for small businesses do. You pay them a fee to answer your calls, and to answer them professionally and promptly.
Some small businesses choose to hire answering services to handle after hours calls (you do need to sleep, don’t you?), while others hire receptionists to handle all of their incoming calls. And while we are at it… you can hire virtual receptionists to handle other types of communications, including emails, chat, faxes, etc.
The point is to take some of the busy work off your plate and get it done consistently and accurately by professionals.
How does a Small Business Virtual Receptionist Work?
Small business answering services act on your behalf on inbound calls and other communications. You give them the rules about how you want them to interact with your customers. For example, if you want your phone answered a certain way, tell the virtual receptionist service and they will put it on a script that is presented every time a call comes in on your phone line. If your callers have common types of questions that you would rather not be bothered with, tell your virtual receptionist service and they will script those out as well.
If you have certain types of calls that are emergencies, or that you want to be alerted of (no matter the time of day), tell your answering service about it and they will create rules for the receptionists to make sure that you are immediately alerted when these types of calls come in.
In some ways, hiring a small business virtual receptionist requires you to get organized and think through the rules about how you want all of your calls handled.
How do I choose a small business answering service?
Contact us and we can walk you through our small business answering service buyers guide checklist.
How much does a small business virtual receptionist cost?
Small business answering services typically charge by the phone call or by the minute (including time spent configuring the system, time spent dispatching messages, etc). Expect to pay at a minimum fifty to a hundred dollars a month, but the cost will likely be more than that if you have a higher volume of calls. But remember, you are trading those dollars for your time, which is much more valuable.