With 80% of business conducted over the phone these days, a simple phone call can make or break your relationship with your future customer. It’s no wonder then that business owners turn to virtual receptionist services that ensure that all calls are answered promptly, in a professional manner and with the information needed to satisfy the callers’ immediate needs. But how to find a company that offers exactly what you need and at the right price? That’s where we come in — we’ve ranked the best agencies in the industry with the help of our custom methodology. So, read on for all the details we took into account and don’t forget to check out our buying guide to help you choose the ultimate partner for your business.
We always rank companies with your business needs in mind. Our purpose is to provide you with a comprehensive guide and knowledge you can then apply to choose the best option for your business. So, read on to learn more about the criteria we took into account when ranking the best of the best on the market.
The top virtual receptionist companies are not limited to a single service but offer a string of solutions. In the right combination, these can provide and even exceed the expected results. What follows is a list of services that we expect from the top agencies in the industry.
Warm transfers, otherwise known as call screening, are the most common service offered by this type of company. When a customer calls and asks to speak to you, a virtual receptionist would gather information about the caller such as their name, affiliation, and purpose of the call and would relay the information to you without delay. If you decide to accept the call, the receptionist patches you right through to the caller. Should you decide to decline it, or if you are unavailable at the moment, the receptionist will take a detailed message, so you can return the call at your convenience.
This is the closest you will get to having a secretary in the literal sense of the word, but the benefit of a remote receptionist is that there is no requirement to provide working space at your office (especially if your business is remote to begin with), appropriate working conditions, and go through the agent hiring process as that is all covered by the partner company you choose.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may not available at all times, and as a result, are unable to maintain steady communication with your business partners or customers.
A virtual receptionist agency meanwhile can relay messages in real-time letting you to promptly address emergencies and respond proactively to any customer needs.
This type of company can also stay on top of lead generation and collection for you by gathering information from interested parties calling you, keeping track of them, and following up per your preference. They can also update your CRM or any other customer database you may have in place with the information the agents gather for you.
Virtual receptionists are usually able to work with any scheduling software you have in place. They can take calls from clients and schedule, reschedule, or cancel appointments as needed.
The reputation of the company you are considering for any outsourcing services can be the tipping point for your decision to hire them. Among the metrics we use to compare virtual receptionist services are any peer referrals they’ve received, reviews in company directories or on social media, the extent of company experience, as well as potential issues and unsolved problems with a history of repeating.
Information security is no joke in this day and age, so having a business partner that takes it seriously is essential. We only list companies that have proven to have their clients’ best interests in mind, so we consider the ones that are proactive instead of reactive and have taken the security measures necessary to prevent data breaches wiretapping into conversations.
It’s important to know how a virtual receptionist firm trains its employees and treats them after hiring, as those are some of the things that can affect the way they handle sudden surges in call volume.
If your callers have to wait a long time for a response or have to deal with impolite or unprofessional receptionists, that would reflect on your business. Also, if your designated receptionist constantly changes or doesn’t know how to handle your specific calls, you may end up having bigger problems than just customers dissatisfied with the receptionist service.
The good news is that you can avoid such problems down the road if you inquire about the types of training the agents go through, the company’s service culture, as well as what kind of qualifications your prospective business partner looks for when hiring and retaining their employees. That is important since they will be the first line of communication with your potential and current customers, so make sure you don’t skip it.
A very important factor when ranking companies and hiring one for outsourcing phone answering services are their pricing models and policies. To make it easier for you to choose the right one for you, we make it a point to not include only the cheap virtual receptionist companies, but instead, look for agencies that fall within the industry standards and provide good value for money.
The companies may offer any or all of the most popular pricing models — per call, per minute, flat-rate or pay-as-you-go. The prices may also differ based on your industry (healthcare and legal may be pricier) or requirements (bilingual services or 24/7 availability usually cost more). By identifying the pricing plan that matches your needs, you will get a clear picture of the costs before committing to a service.
We rank specialized companies to help you find the best possible business partner in the long run, one that checks all your requirement boxes and won’t break the bank. That’s why we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to help you choose a provider and form realistic expectations about your future collaboration.
Every time you choose a service provider, be it one of the virtual receptionist companies listed here or not, it’s important to examine your needs. That way, you won’t allow yourself to be pushed into services or a plan that doesn’t match what you need to further your business.
As the scope of services can vary from one provider to another, you might want to extend your search accordingly to those that can process phone orders, take payments through your own online system, forward calls to your mobile, manage your diary, arrange despatch of your goods, offer a virtual telephone number, and more.
Having a clear idea of the way a virtual receptionist service can bring positive changes, improvements, and support your business is only the first step in finding the best partner.
Determining the amount of money you are willing to spend will help you remove the providers that are outside of your budget. Take into account your potential investment and expected ROI, and the bottom line will hopefully leave you with at least one perfect match.
When you speak with a company you want to hire for live receptionist outsourced services, you should ask about their previous and current clients. Not only will that give you valuable information about their relationship, but will also help you understand the extent of their experience.
Whether you operate in a highly specific industry or not, you need to know that they will be able to deal with the respective challenges. Communicating with customers is not always an easy task, so you need to make sure the agency you hire can handle it in the best possible way.
If you are outsourcing virtual receptionist services, it’s important for the agents to be proficient in your target language. If your particular business requires extra languages because of your customer base or location, then you must hire a company that can provide them.
Some languages other than English may be easy to find, like Spanish, for example, but others may prove a bit more difficult. Either way, you need to find a company that can provide the necessary languages, and at a level which will ensure successful collaboration.