How to Improve Customer Relationships with a Virtual Receptionist
Research by American Express suggests that consumers are willing to spend 17% more on a company that has outstanding customer service.
It’s no secret: first-rate customer service is the key to business success. But to excel, businesses should have a customer care plan and ensure that stakeholders have a positive experience at every touchpoint.
But ensuring your business has a successful customer support strategy is no simple job. Right from training your onboarding agents to analyzing your customer demographic, providing a quality customer service is a labor-intensive process. So what can entrepreneurs who have a budding business do to secure a reliable strategy that also meets their budget? Employ a virtual receptionist.
Who is a Virtual Receptionist, and What Do They Do?
A virtual receptionist is similar to a regular receptionist when it comes to handling responsibilities. They perform administrative and customer service tasks remotely, usually from the comfort of their home or in a call center, and they work on behalf of multiple companies. Their only job is to take care of the customer. Which means, they keep the customers happy and loyal to the brand.
Financially, employing a virtual receptionist makes sense, especially for small businesses. You get the perks of employing a professional agent to handle basic inquiries, while also cutting down the cost of hiring a full-time employee, and onboarding expenses, given the virtual receptionists come pre-trained on how to handle basic customer queries, call forwarding procedures, and scheduling appointments. You only pay for the hours of support you require, and you can add or subtract hours at short notice.
What are the Benefits of Employing a Virtual Receptionist?
In addition to taking over basic tasks and letting you focus on important aspects of your business and organize your time better, virtual receptionists can actually help grow your business by nurturing leads throughout the purchasing journey and maintaining a healthy customer relationship.
#1 Virtual Receptionists will Indirectly Capture Leads for You
When it comes to capturing leads, time is very much of the essence. In their study, Harvard Business Review found that companies that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were almost seven times as likely to qualify the lead than those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later (and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.)
Virtual receptionists, while on their clock, can respond to prospect queries almost immediately, which isn’t possible for you to do all the time. They can ask for an appropriate time to get back and book a slot for you, which can come in handy for a proper call later.
In short, if you want to capture leads quickly but don’t have the time to respond to them yourself, a virtual receptionist can handle this part of the business on your behalf.
#2 Help you Grow your Customer Base
Virtual receptionists can also help nurture leads into fully-fledged customers by providing support and guidance along the journey. If required, they can log in the hours for full-time(or the time when they are actually talking) and act as the single point of contact for your customers and build a rapport with them, making them more likely to convert. During the receptionist’s off hours, you have the option to hire a similarly-skilled receptionist from the same or another company almost immediately– a flexibility you can not have with a full-time employee.
Establishing a relationship with prospects from the beginning is really important – ongoing conversations will help you, as a business, to better understand your customer’s needs.
#3 Foster Loyalty and Increase Customer Retention
According to the Harvard Business Review, investing in new customers is between five and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Virtual receptionists can maintain contact with existing ones and encourage brand loyalty.
Consumers really appreciate getting their queries solved by an actual human rather than automated messages, which are unreliable and can end up frustrating customers.
Chris Martin, the director of Colormatics, put it well in a testimonial he gave for a virtual receptionist company: “Having our own receptionist has elevated us within our market.”
#4 A Virtual Receptionist is a Valuable Team Asset
A virtual receptionist’s job is to compliment your brand and convey its values to everyone they communicate with on your behalf.
Though you’ll likely be hiring them through a third-party (like Moneypenny, Hubstaff, Answerforce, Abby connect, etc.), they’re still an intrinsic part of your workforce. Virtual receptionists pass on the important messages/queries to the appropriate teams and deal with straightforward tasks. This saves time for other members of the workforce, which makes the virtual receptionist a team player.
All you need to do is give them constructive feedback and keep them up-to-date with any changes in protocol or approach so that they can continue to deliver an on-brand experience to customers.
Maintaining a quality customer relationship is one of the primary reasons businesses opt for a virtual receptionist. Busy business owners simply don’t have time to do it themselves. In the early days, entrepreneurs will answer their own calls, of course, but as their company grows, it makes sense to outsource at least a portion of this aspect of the business.
Do you find yourself answering and responding to calls that could’ve been handled by someone else? If so, a virtual receptionist could be just what you need. It’s cheaper and often more convenient than hiring a full-time employee, and new and existing customers will thank you for it!