You take every aspect of running your business pretty seriously. Why would hiring a virtual receptionist be any different? If you’ve been thinking about hiring a virtual receptionist or virtual assistant for your business, you need to consider a few things first to make sure you have the best, most efficient experience possible with your virtual receptionist. What should you ask yourself before you hire a virtual receptionist for your small business?
What virtual receptionists do
Virtual receptionists work from a remote location (their home, a call center, etc.) to handle your receptionist duties. They never set foot inside your office (if you have one–home-based businesses also rock). How does this work?
Virtual receptionists usually work on a contract basis for small and medium businesses who need extra help but don’t want to budget for a full-time receptionist or personal assistant. Examples of tasks a virtual receptionist can take care of are:
- Answer phones
- Take messages
- Make follow-up calls
- Manage your appointments
- Notify you of cancellations
- Prioritize and organize your email inbox
What you need to know before you hire a virtual receptionist
Now that you’re clear on the types of tasks a virtual receptionist can handle for your business, you might feel ready to jump in and hire one–but not so fast. In order to make sure your time and your receptionist’s time are optimized instead of wasted, ask yourself the following questions about what you want from your virtual receptionist. This will help you become clearer on why you need to hire a receptionist and give better direction and delegation once you have.
What is my budget?
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many business owners come to us with no idea of how much they want to spend on their virtual receptionist. That’s why we came up with our 3 unique virtual receptionist pricing plans, ranging from less than $100 per month to $499 per month for larger businesses. If you don’t have a budget in mind, don’t worry. We can help you decide which plan is most affordable and right for your business.
If you’ll be hiring a freelance virtual receptionist, you’ll need to calculate a budget or rely on an experienced assistant to give you a fair quote.
What will the receptionist handle for me?
Have a clear understanding of what tasks you want your virtual receptionist to handle, and know how you want them handled. If you’re picky about things, it’s only fair to let your receptionist know so they can make the right adjustments. Prepare some documents with templates, processes, etc. for your virtual receptionist to ease the transition as you begin working together. Trust us: your virtual receptionist will love you for it!
Want to learn more about what virtual receptionists and assistants can do for you? Check out this post about adding 2 hours to your business day with their help!
What hours do I want them to be available?
You need to know what hours (the number, and time of day you expect them to work) your virtual receptionist should be available to you. Again, this comes back to managing expectations for your working relationship. Misunderstandings only happen when each party is unaware of the other’s wants, needs, or feelings. Taking the initiative to lay out your requirements and needs will save you and your receptionist a lot of time and will help you get off to a great start.
Do they have any special skills that could benefit my business?
Some virtual receptionists offer additional services to the companies they work for. This could really benefit your business! Ask your virtual receptionist if she has any additional skills that would be of value to your business, and if she does, find a way to let her use her talents. At Conversational, we’ve seen some of our virtual receptionists become virtual assistants for companies that enjoyed working with them so much, they wanted to choose a larger plan!
How long do I expect us to work together?
This is important to consider, but not necessarily something you’ll share with your virtual receptionist. It’s more about defining a loose parameter than making a defined timeline. How long do you expect to need your receptionist’s services? 6 months? 1 year? More? This can be a smart thing to consider early on as you select a receptionist and choose a plan that fits your needs best.