Is an online receptionist different from a virtual receptionist? Let’s dig into the origin of the titles before we answer that question.
Online (adj.) – Controlled by or connected to another computer or to a network; Connected to the Internet or World Wide Web.
Virtual (adj.) – Carried out, accessed, or stored by means of a computer, especially over a network; Not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.
Receptionist (noun) – A person employed in an office or other establishment to answer the telephone, deal with clients, and greet visitors.
According to these definitions, an online receptionist is ‘A person
employed in an office connected to the internet or World Wide Web to answer the telephone and deal with clients at an office.’
A virtual receptionist, then, is ‘A person employed in an office or other establishment to answer the telephone, deal with clients, and greet visitors – not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.’
An online receptionist is the same thing as a virtual receptionist. They’re just different titles for the same role. What exactly does a virtual or online receptionist do? We’re so glad you asked.
The role of a virtual or online receptionist
An online receptionist works remotely, either from a virtual receptionist providers’ office or independently from their own home. Working remotely creates a few limitations for the receptionist position that is traditionally onsite. Here’s how online receptionists manage to cover an office’s reception area without physically being there.
Online receptionists run your reception area remotely
The office’s phone calls are automatically routed to the online receptionist, who answers the call before the third ring. She uses a customized greeting, approved by the business owner, when answering calls. Callers never need to know she isn’t working from your office.
Because you’ll fill out a company questionnaire when you start working with your online receptionist, she’ll have all the answers she needs to deliver basic customer service to callers, take messages and deliver them to the proper person, and do “warm transfers” when needed. Warm transfers involve announcing the caller and reason for the call to the person it’s being transferred to rather than just hitting a button to transfer the call.
Your online receptionist can also manage your appointments and scheduling. If you’re already using a scheduling software you like, just let Conversational’s team know and we’ll accommodate it. If a caller says they want to make an appointment sometime the following week, your online receptionist can check your schedule, confirm that the date and time is available, and schedule the caller without issue.
An online receptionist by any other name
It can be confusing to identify which titles describe which roles in the remote working industry. The industry is still relatively new and many businesses are still figuring out what these remote positions are used for. There are a host of names that all describe the virtual receptionist position. Here are a few examples:
- Virtual receptionist
- Online receptionist
- Virtual office receptionist
- Remote receptionist
- Virtual call answering specialist
- Telephone answering service
- Live receptionist
- Online secretary