A virtual receptionist can be a very important member of your team. However, if they don’t possess the necessary skills and phone etiquette, they may not be the best choice.
There are several services offering full-time virtual receptionists to help with your incoming calls. These services can ensure you never have to miss another call, set appointments, take orders, forward/transfer calls, take messages or perform a number of other tasks. However, they must possess the following phone etiquette and customer service skills or you are wasting your time and money:
Answer Politely with a Smile on their Face
A professional greeting simply isn’t enough. It’s a great start, but a virtual receptionist must answer every call politely with a smile on their face. This helps to show the caller they care and provides a positive attitude to start the call.
Customer loyalty comes from the rapport built with the customer in all interactions. When a customer calls, your virtual receptionist needs to be able to build rapport with them from the very beginning. Then, they must be able to remain engaged in conversation with the caller to ensure they continue to build the relationship.
Show Courtesy Throughout the Call
A virtual receptionist should be incredibly courteous on the phone. If they need to put a customer on hold, that person should never feel like they are being pushed aside. The VR should always ask before putting them on hold and should make sure it’s done in a polite way.
It’s also important for your virtual receptionist to never leave a caller on hold too long. Even if they have to come back and ask if they can put them on hold after updating them on the situation, it shows they care about the caller. Too long of a hold time can lead to a hang up and a lost customer.
When a caller needs to be transferred, it’s also important to make sure they don’t feel like you are handing them off. A virtual receptionist can let them know if they need to reach them again, they are welcome to and give them a direct number.
Provide a Friendly, Professional Tone
The tone of the virtual receptionist will set the tone for the call. They must always remain calm and provide a friendly and professional tone of voice. This will ensure the customer feels as if they are important and being taken care of. It can also help to calm down an upset caller.
Listen without Interrupting
As soon as a caller is interrupted or feels as if they are not being heard, the call can go downhill fast. Virtual receptionists need to listen to the caller and ensure they don’t interrupt them. If they do accidentally interrupt the caller, they need to apologize and let the caller go on with what they were saying.
Just as the tone of the VR will set the tone for the call, so will the attitude. If your virtual receptionist remains positive, they can turn a negative caller into a positive caller. However, if they become negative, the caller will most likely become negative or irate.
Empathy is a necessary trait that every virtual receptionist should be able to show to the caller. They should be able to relate to them and be empathetic in their time of need. This will go a long way with building the relationship.
Find Acceptable Solutions
When a customer calls with an issue, they need a solution. However, it needs to more than just a one-size-fits-all solution. Whatever your virtual receptionist comes up with should be satisfactory to the caller.
All virtual receptionists should show appreciation for the caller. This is done through thanking them for calling and asking if there is anything else that can be done. Regardless of how the call goes, it’s necessary to appreciate the caller.
There are many traits to look for in a virtual receptionist. Before hiring any VR service, you want to consider whether they provide the right type of VRs. If they provide all of the above characteristics, you will be in good hands when it comes to providing the best possible customer service for your callers.