Many companies need the help of an answering service or a virtual receptionist. However, one is certainly better than the other for many reasons.
When you decide to use an answering service, your callers have to sift through menus to get to a live person. This can be quite annoying and can make it very difficult to provide great customers service. With a virtual receptionist service, a live person answers the phone each time someone calls.
Here’s a look at the differences of the two types of services:
Help Prevent Missed Opportunities
Both a virtual receptionist and an answering service will help to prevent missed opportunities. With an answering service you will need a greeting and a menu of options for callers to choose from. Once they have made their selections, they can leave a voicemail for the appropriate person.
A virtual receptionist doesn’t provide the menus for callers to choose from. Instead, they answer the phone with a professional, friendly greeting for the caller. They help the caller receive the answers they seek for their questions. Only when the VR isn’t able to answer the questions or help the customer do they transfer them to someone else.
When it comes to helping with missed opportunities, the virtual receptionist service is the better choice. A live person has the ability to increase sales and conversions, while an answering service will get hung up on about one-third of the time.
Provides an After Hours Option
Many businesses need a service of some sort to answer the phones after normal business hours. This will not only allow customers to call at more convenient times for their schedule, but it will also allow businesses to gain more customers, appointments and orders.
An answering service only provides some scripted information and the ability to leave a message. Some answering services may provide a little more, but they don’t provide a live person to help the caller.
With a virtual receptionist, the caller can not only get answers to their questions, but they can also place an order or set an appointment. This means you could show up in the morning with a full book of appointments or many new orders due to hiring a virtual receptionist service to cover your phones outside of normal business hours.
Works with your Current Appointment Setting Software
Whether you run a hair salon, a dental office or any other type of business that takes appointments, choosing a service that works with your current software is important. Answering services often cannot work with your software because they are not created to set appointments. They are made to give callers the option to pick which department they want to speak with.
A virtual receptionist can work with your appointment setting software and make sure your callers have the option to set an appointment. This makes it possible for your business to run smoothly without any interruptions.
Both an answering service and a virtual receptionist service are worth the cost. They are low in cost compared to the many missed opportunities they can save a business.
However, a virtual receptionist is even more cost effective because it produces greater results. This alone can help increase the return on investment and drive more sales to your business.
Covers Breaks, Meetings, Vacations and Other Time Out of the Office
One of the reasons a virtual receptionist is more cost effective than an answering service is that you only pay for the time they are on the phone. If you only want to use the service when your in-house receptionist is out for the day, during after-hours times or during meetings, you can turn the service on and off as you wish.
With an answering service, it’s not quite that simple. Most businesses will use their answering service all the time and the caller will get a live person after choosing from a menu of options and sitting on hold. If you only have one receptionist, this can make it very difficult to cover breaks, meetings and other times out of the office.
A virtual receptionist service provides multiple VRs so that you are always covered. There won’t be a missed call and you won’t miss out on a new customer due to a lunch break.
Overall, using an answering service isn’t a horrible way to go, but a virtual receptionist is far better. This type of service can make a small business appear much larger and provide the ability to take advantage of potential missed opportunities.