Virtual Receptionist vs Virtual Assistant: What’s the Difference?

There are important differences between the services offered by a virtual receptionist vs virtual assistantAs a company who is a provider of both, we want to highlight those differences and discuss the various settings these services are typically used in.

Virtual Receptionist vs Virtual Assistant

Virtual Receptionist vs Virtual Assistant: What's the Difference?As a provider of both virtual receptionist and virtual assistant services, we get asked a lot of questions about the differences between the two. Upon first glance, the two services may look very similar.

They are both offered from a remote location, but that’s where the similarities end. We’ll go over the main differences between a virtual receptionist vs virtual assistant in more detail below.

What virtual receptionists do

Virtual receptionists are simply a more cost-effective alternative to traditional in-house receptionists. The tasks a traditional receptionist would normally complete are also handled by virtual receptionists, who work from a remote location:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Taking & delivering messages
  • Transferring calls to appropriate person
  • Delivering limited customer service
  • Managing appointments and cancellations
  • Sending out appointment reminders

Conversational offers pay-per-minute virtual receptionist services perfect for the cost-conscious business owner in three tiered packages:

1. Starter virtual receptionist plan (100 minutes/month)

2. Professional virtual receptionist plan (200 minutes/month)

3. Enterprise virtual receptionist plan (500 minutes/month)

virtual receptionist vs virtual assistantVirtual receptionists are only paid for the minutes they actually spend on the phone, unlike traditional receptionists who must be paid even for idle time.

Hiring a traditional receptionist costs more across the board, from required benefits and wages to taking up valuable office real estate.

Working with a virtual receptionist is always more cost-effective than hiring a traditional receptionist full-time.

Find more information about our virtual receptionists here in our FAQ.

When to use a virtual receptionist

Virtual receptionists offer the most benefits for businesses that regularly receive phone calls and/or schedule customer appointments.

However, even businesses that have very low call volume can benefit from using a virtual receptionist service like Conversational. When calls do come through, it’s important that they’re answered promptly, professionally, and positively.

Having a virtual receptionist on your team ensures you never miss calls or fail to offer great customer service to a caller, even if calls are few and far between.

Businesses that simply want a cost-effective alternative to an in-house receptionist are well-suited for working with a virtual receptionist. Business owners give many reasons that an in-house receptionist just doesn’t work for them:

  • They take up valuable office space that I need for other things
  • Our clients never come to the office, so we don’t need a traditional receptionist
  • I don’t have an office, so hiring a traditional receptionist would be impossible
  • The cost of hiring a receptionist just doesn’t provide enough benefits to warrant it

Virtual Receptionist vs. Virtual Assistant: What's the Difference?

What virtual assistants do

Virtual assistants, sometimes called VAs, handle a variety of tasks that business owners don’t have time for. Virtual assistants are similar to personal or executive assistants, with the important distinction being that they work from a remote location instead of in-house.

While you focus on your business and personal priorities, you can delegate a diverse range of tasks to your skilled virtual assistant, including but not limited to:

  • Calendar and schedule reminders
  • Answering phone calls
  • Taking & delivering messages
  • Event, travel, & project planning
  • Making reservations & appointments
  • Providing customer service
  • Managing your blog
  • Keeping up with bills and payments
  • Managing social media accounts
  • Reply to/sending approved emails
  • Placing phone or online orders
  • Researching specific topics

virtual receptionist vs virtual assistantVirtual assistant services are offered on an hourly basis rather than pay-per-minute because they perform such a wide variety of tasks.

With Conversational, you can choose from three tiered virtual assistant plan options:

1. Flex time virtual assistant plan (10 hours/week)

2. Half time virtual assistant plan (20 hours/week)

3. Full time virtual assistant plan (40 hours/week)

Other virtual assistant providers charge as much as $39/hour for the same services. Conversational’s plans range from $17.50/hour to $19.00/hour, making it a much more cost-effective option for growing businesses.

Find more information about getting started with your virtual assistant here.

When to use a virtual assistant

Virtual assistants offer benefits for business owners in all industries, at every stage of business. Owners that find themselves unable to finish high-priority tasks due to dealing with day-to-day tasks can achieve a better ROI for their time when working with a virtual assistant.

There are no contracts or plan obligations when you choose a virtual assistant plan from Conversational – you’re free to cancel, downgrade, or upgrade your plan at any time. This makes working with a virtual assistant a fitting option for businesses that have unpredictable cash flow or seasonal fluctuations.

Companies that enjoy working one-on-one with the same person day in and day out are a great match for our virtual assistant services. Once you select your plan and enter your information, we assign a dedicated virtual assistant to you immediately. There’s no lengthy onboarding process or waiting period.

You can give your virtual assistant instructions for their first task right away, and unless you specify differently, you’ll work with the same assistant each day.

Adept at handling administrative tasks and those that business owners simply don’t want to bother with, virtual assistants become truly invaluable to the companies they work with. If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I wish I had a personal assistant to take care of this,” a virtual assistant from Conversational is the answer.

Virtual Receptionist vs Virtual Assistant in a nutshell

medical answering servicesIn summary, virtual receptionist services (also called call answering services) include general receptionist duties – call answering, taking messages, managing appointments – and are performed remotely from our North American offices.

Virtual receptionists replace traditional in-house receptionists. Plans start at 100 minutes/month.

Virtual assistant services, on the other hand, include a wide range of tasks and duties – email responses, call answering, customer service, travel, event, and project planning, social media and blog management, to name a few – and are performed remotely by your dedicated employee from our North American offices.

Virtual assistants replace personal or executive assistants. Plans start at 10 hours/week.


Conversational is the leading virtual receptionist, virtual assistant, and call answering service provider in North America. With a team of skilled, friendly virtual receptionists and virtual assistants paired with our cutting edge technology, we're dedicated to delivering a great experience to your callers at a price you can afford. Put an end to missed calls and take advantage of the number one call answering service for small businesses, legal firms, and medical offices today!

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