Many business owners and entrepreneurs admit they’ve acted as their own receptionist to save money. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. We do what we can with what we have, and when you first start your business, it’s natural to become a jack of all trades to save a little cash.
But if you want to move past the startup phase and into growth, you have to learn how to let go of duties that aren’t your top priority. Acting as your own receptionist is a costly mistake that can keep your business from growing by keeping you unnecessarily busy.
There are 3 reasons you shouldn’t be your own receptionist if you’re growing your business. We’ll cover each of them in this post.
3 reasons you shouldn’t be your own receptionist
1. It’s the most time-consuming thing you’ll do
If it doesn’t sound like answering the phone for your business adds up to a lot of time spent, consider this. Along with answering the phone, you’ll need to stop what you’re doing to take the call. You’ll need to issue a friendly, branded greeting to your callers every time. You’ll have to talk to callers who haven’t been screened, including a lot of telemarketers and salespeople. You’ll offer the same information – hours, services, details about a promotion, appointment requests, etc. – to many callers, over and over.
And that’s not all. If you can’t help a caller right then, you’ll need to take a detailed message and remember to call them back later. You’ll be handling all appointment requests, questions, rescheduling, and cancellations. You’ll be keeping track of your own schedule and appointment book. You may deal with angry callers who yell and curse at you as soon as you pick up the phone.
Truthfully, if you’re going to be your own receptionist, you’re committing to spending a lot of time doing repetitive tasks that a trained professional could easily take over for you.
2. Being your own receptionist hinders growth
What’s the business climate like at your company currently? Are you growing your business, exiting a period of growth, or bringing on new strategic changes? If there’s anything happening at your business that demands more of your attention than usual, it’s dangerous to try to be your own receptionist.
You can do all things, but you can’t usually do all things well – if you’re trying to ensure you answer every call while you’re focused on growing the company or vetting a new team member, you’re going to miss a few. If you’re trying to be friendly but are knee-deep in massive strategic changes, you may come off a little bluntly. Being your own receptionist hinders growth by sapping your attention away from your highest priorities.
3. It’s a relentless productivity killer
The actual tasks you’ll handle if you decide to be your own receptionist are time-consuming, but you must also consider the additional time it takes to “recover” from distractions in the workplace, like ringing phones and placing routine outbound calls.
The field of psychology has studied productivity and time management for decades, and they’ve found that it takes an average of 24 minutes to recover from each distraction at work. That number increases with the number of distractions, so the more often the phone is ringing, the longer it will take you to settle back down to focus on the work you’re doing.
Time is money, and when you factor in the time you would spend answering phones, taking messages, responding to emails, and “recovering” for at least 24 minutes from each distraction while acting as your own receptionist, it ends up costing you more than it would to hire a virtual receptionist.
What’s the solution?
If you’ve been considering acting as your own receptionist and answering the phone yourself, you’re likely trying to save money. That’s understandable, as the cost of hiring an in-house receptionist full-time is around $35,000 and rising every year.
That’s where virtual receptionists come in. At a fraction of the cost (starting at around $118/month*), you can delegate all your receptionist duties to a team of professional receptionists who work from our offices.
Working with a virtual receptionist allows you to choose the times your receptionist is on duty, let them handle all incoming and select outbound calls, have your messages promptly delivered to you via email, and ensure every caller is met with a friendly, live receptionist.
*Conversational’s Starter Plan is $129/month. Combined with 30 day free trial, monthly cost is reduced to $118.25