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 for your business, you need to consider a few things first to make sure you have the best, most efficient experience possible.
What should you ask before you hire a virtual receptionist for your small business?
1. Freelancer or legitimate virtual receptionist provider?
Virtual receptionists work from a remote location (their home, an office, 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 can work full-time for a virtual receptionist provider (like Conversational) or as a freelancer for businesses who need extra help but don’t want to budget for a full-time receptionist.
Generally, it’s best to choose a virtual receptionist provider than a lone wolf freelance virtual receptionist. The hiring process ensures the receptionists are background checked, qualified, and trustworthy. Working with receptionists who receive a full-time paycheck and benefits can also ensure higher quality work than a freelance receptionist who doesn’t receive a salary or benefits.
2. What duties can you relieve me of?
Your to-do list grows each day, but your time is limited and you feel your attention could be better focused on other tasks. That’s where a virtual receptionist comes in. Ask “What duties can you help with or completely relieve me of?” If you’re asking our team of virtual receptionists at Conversational, here’s the answer you’ll get:
- Live call answering
- Outbound calls
- Voicemail messages to email or secure text message
- Book appointments
- Appointment reminders
- Answer caller’s general questions
- Notify you of cancellations
- Custom greetings and call handling
- Hold music or promotions
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.
3. How much does your service cost?
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people end up paying more than they signed up for due to “hidden fees” and additional charges tacked onto the bill. That’s why we came up with our 3 virtual receptionist pricing plans starting at $129/month. It’s a flat monthly fee (no contract – pay only when you need to use the service) and you’ll never be charged a setup fee, hidden fees, or additional surcharges when you work with us.
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. Ask in clear terms what the total monthly or hourly cost will be to ensure there are no surprises.
4. 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!
5. What hours are you 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.
6. Do you 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!
7. How long could we potentially 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.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you may be ready to start working with a virtual receptionist! Without making a commitment, you can try a virtual receptionist for 30 days absolutely free. That’s how confident we are that you’ll love this service. Just click the button below to sign up for your 30 day free trial!