How many unanswered calls have you had today whilst working? How many of these potential clients have moved on to competitors due to a missed call? Chances are quite a few, and you may not even notice. In fact, 80% of customers won’t leave a voicemail and will call your competitor their call is not answered. That is a lot, right? And over time, this can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
A solution is needed to ensure no phone falls silent, no question goes unanswered, and no customer goes without hearing about your amazing company and the services you provide.
A virtual receptionist can answer your calls, manage bookings, and assist your customers & patients to ensure they have the best experience with your business whilst you focus on what you do best.
Sounds amazing, but how does it work?
Before we can answer your customer’s questions, chances are you’ve found this article as you are considering a virtual receptionist but have a few questions you want to be answered first.
Our article answers all the FAQs and more about virtual receptionists: how they work, what services they offer, and how to get started, so you can gauge if they are the right fit for your business. We have gathered the key information from our experience of over 23 years, so we know the critical factors to consider in your decision for a Virtual Receptionist to ensure you provide the best experience for your customers & patients.
What is a virtual reception service?
The first question and the most important question to answer. A virtual receptionist handles all the brief exchanges, detailed conversations, essential tasks, and queries over the phone. Gone are the days when you need to be at the end of a phone; a virtual receptionist takes the stress out of day-to-day tasks so you can focus on what you do best. Virtual receptionists can also help create and manage bookings, provide information about your services / treatments, and qualify potential jobs by checking if your business offers specific services to specific locations.
A virtual receptionist is a practical, cost-effective solution to manage your new opportunities and lasting relationships with valued customers / patients.
Many virtual receptionists are specially trained within key industries such as medical, law and accounting and can support your customers / patients with key questions they face on the call.
What tasks can a virtual receptionist do?
A virtual receptionist carries out all the duties of a traditional receptionist and has specialist, expertly trained industry knowledge in specific sectors such as technology, financial services, law or health care. Unlike a call answering service, a virtual receptionist can have a complete suite of services for call and booking management whilst carrying out all activities to showcase your business in the best light.
A virtual receptionist’s role includes the following duties:
• Managing contact lists and customer spreadsheets
• Maintaining a calendar and setting up meetings
• Taking transcription and handling correspondence
• Making travel arrangements
• Handling billing and accounting
• Sending out the requested information to customers
• Handling client inquiries by phone or e-mail
• Answering incoming calls
• Following up on voicemails
• Providing information about your services
• Providing indicative prices
• Booking jobs
• Answering FAQS
• Qualifying potential jobs (if you provide service/service location)
• Live answering
• Message taking
• Patching and call transfer
• Creating and sending invoices
• Processing booking/upfront payments
How can a virtual receptionist streamline my operations and my schedule?
A virtual receptionist can help bring their specialised knowledge to help review your existing systems and improve your existing processes, including recommendations on methods or technologies to help your business grow.
Calls are diverted from your business number (or mobile) to the virtual receptionist team, where an experienced customer service professional will respond to all queries confidently and accurately, using their experience in major trades to deliver a personalised experience to your business associates and customers.
What’s more, a virtual receptionist helps you streamline appointments across multiple teams and staff members creating a unified appointment-setting process, keeping everyone up-to-date so you can focus on other essential tasks, and getting together to collaborate and grow your business in different ways.
A virtual receptionist can also help save time and plan ahead by responding to meeting requests, scheduling appointments and keeping you informed about upcoming events.
Deliver appointment reminders to customers / patients to reduce last-minute cancellations, no shows and keep stakeholders up-to-date with shared calendars and automatic notifications.
How are virtual receptionists expertly trained?
A virtual receptionist carries out all the duties of a traditional receptionist and has specialist, expertly trained industry knowledge in specific sectors such as technology, financial services, law or health care.
Virtual Receptionists are trained in Admin and IT support with basic admin duties such as Outlook, Google Suite, and Microsoft Suit, Sending Emails and SMS to more advanced IT and tech support duties such as updating your CRM platform.
When you engage with a Virtual Receptionist of Soi, your Virtual Receptionist will also have experience in your industry to ensure the best-possible experience for your customers & patients. Including experience with: Halaxy, Best Practice, PPMP, Powerdiary, Clinko, Nookal and Prac Suite.
What are the main features of a Virtual Receptionist and Live Phone Answering Service?
- Calls are answered how you choose. Calls are answered in your business name and will represent the business with the required know-how, practices and professionalism your company deserves.
- Virtual does not mean robots! Calls are answered by an Australian-based real human.
- Grow your sales by capturing more calls and business
- Flexibility- need more time, need less time? Turn the service on during busy periods and off when required.
- It’s fast and simple to setup, integrating with your business processes and manner.
- What’s more, it can work with your existing setup, including helping your current team, including your receptionist or can be used as a standalone service to help with the burden of call-answering.
Why do I need a virtual receptionist, and how can a telephone answering service help my business?
Still unsure if a virtual receptionist is for you? Check out these ten benefits by choosing a virtual receptionist.
- Deliver A Better Customer and Patient Service
We always strive to deliver a better, faster and complete customer service experience, but with a growing pressure on businesses to perform and growing economic pressures, it is easy to forget that the customers are at the forefront of all priorities. So often, customers feel neglected as we push to meet targets and marketing stats.
Let’s face it, most times, we are forced to wear many hats and are stretched thin. Sometimes it is required for us to be a marketing expert, account manager or mediator, not to mention meeting government regulations that can halt business if not kept up-to-date.
All this pressure mounting and the bigger picture being at the forefront of priorities can result in neglecting the small touches that let your customers know they count—counting not just as stats and money but as a relationship.
Let’s be honest. After working hard with complex tasks, you will unlikely be at your best when answering calls. Calls are tedious and take you away from other things, with one call a great lead, the other a butt dial and the rest from telemarketers trying to sell you solar panels or the internet.
Never be in a difficult conundrum on choosing between business and your customers. Choose both. Virtual receptionists make business sense and can help with scalability.
Let us grow with you. As your company grows, so will your business needs. Scaling is a fantastic feeling, followed by the panic of how to expand operations to suit your new amazing growth. Sure, you can employ staff which is often time-consuming and costly to scale back or up—the endless interviews, advertising, not to mention the unforeseen circumstances such as staff illness. A virtual receptionist allows you can scale up or back whenever needed.
3. Maximum flexibility to suit your needs
Match your business cycles and requirements. Scale up when you see an influx and down during slow periods. Is a new marketing campaign getting you a sea of traffic? plan in advance and look to a virtual receptionist. A virtual receptionist gives you the flexibility you need to scale, to conquer and to deliver.
4. An answer to staff shortages and Australia’s growing tech shortage
Let’s face it, the last few years and Covid19 have been hard on businesses economically and due to unforeseen daily staff shortages.
A virtual receptionist can be used and altered to your requirement, unlike a traditional receptionist, including full-time during business hours, casually when you are unavailable, or to cover maternity leave, leave or staff shortages.
Staff and tech shortages have been prevalent throughout all Australia. In fact, Australia has a well-documented, low unemployment and tech skills shortage. In 2022 it was said that the complication of visas, hiring overseas, and unfilled vacancies have meant it has never been more challenging to find IT specialists or talent, fill admin roles, and IT support positions.
A virtual reception can also relieve the burden on you and your team to concentrate on growing your business, upskilling in other areas, and generating revenue.
5. Save Money
A virtual receptionist saves money with flexibility. Choosing flexible hours and only paying for the work performed to suit your business requirement and situations can help your budget considerably, cutting down on the full-time pay of a traditional receptionist, wage deduction, benefits and saving on payroll taxes (can cosy 26% of base salary).
6. Save time
Time is a valuable commodity, especially when it comes to business. A virtual receptionist saves you money and time to hire additional part-time staff, staff to cover maternity leave, leave or staff shortages or when you cannot be there with flexible hours to suit your business requirement and situations.
7. Reduce Stress and Get Back More Time
2023 is a time to focus on how to reduce stress. A Virtual Receptionist can pre-screen messages and handle the transferring of calls, bookings, reservations, message taking, call transfer screening and prioritise in order of importance so you can deal with urgent matters promptly and keep your reputation and valued customers/clients relationship strong.
8. Take Away the Menial tasks
Menial tasks mount up. Essential duties get pushed aside with all the ‘fluff’ tasks that matter to the business’s operations but can take you and your team away from your primary job. Virtual receptionists take away the menial tasks.
9. Spend more time In & On the business
That brings us to the main and major benefit of a virtual receptionist. We could all do with more time. Time for our business. Time with our customers and patients. Time for ourselves.
Answering machines are dead, and so will your call traffic if you pick up a reputation as the ‘one that never answers or returns calls’. And it’s so easy. Research has shown that 75% of callers will hang up and not leave a message if their call goes unanswered. The fact is that most people do not like to leave a message. Setting up a virtual assistant is a quick and sure way to ensure you answer every time.
A Virtual Receptionist helps improve customer satisfaction and experience, creating lasting relationships to enhance your callers’ experience from phone answering to scheduling appointments. You will not need to take time away from your jobs or business or call people back at the end of a long day as a virtual Receptionist will already have that handled, letting you focus on the tasks to complete your job.
10. Secure more customers & patients
Communication helps create quality leads and opportunities whilst providing relevant information about your service. Virtual receptionists can help qualify potential jobs by checking if your business offers specific services to specific locations, so if you’re away or busy with a patient, no potential leads go without a response. Perfect for small businesses up to enterprises, a virtual receptionist is excellent for businesses of all sizes and can grow as you do. For start-ups, a virtual receptionist offers a powerful tool that allows you to grow your business faster and answer any business opportunities, building your call list and reputation.
Virtual receptionists can handle everything you need to grow and reach the next level. A higher call volume is fantastic but can be challenging to maintain. A virtual receptionist helps you effectively manage your relationships and gives you the power to take the business world by storm.
Feel secure, secure more jobs, secure better working relations and don’t miss a single opportunity by never missing a call. SOI’s team is on your side, letting you feel ensured and secured knowing you are always connected with your clients and associates.
What are the things to look out for when considering a virtual reception service?
1. Receptionists are based in Australia
2. They deliver coverage in key times of business
3. They provide Fast answering speed (this varies considerably across providers)
4. They are a dedicated appointment booking team
5. They have industry endorsement.
SOI Virtual receptionist has all these amazing attributes and more. We offer 24 years of virtual receptionist experience Australia-wide and can cater to your business no matter where you are! We offer seamless, virtual receptionist services for Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth that will cater to your business needs.
We are always available throughout the workday, meaning this crucial but tedious part of your business is always taken care of!
How does a virtual receptionist work?
- A virtual reception service diverts your calls from your business line or mobile
- A live answering virtual receptionist answers the phone under your business’ name
- Using the information provided, the virtual receptionist converses with the caller, takes a message, and/or advises them on your services, fees, opening hours, and answers all enquiries or questions.
- The message and/or lead is then passed on to you for a follow-up via any way you wish; by email, call, SMS or any other way you want to be contacted.
Can my calls be transferred to a mobile number?
Of course! Virtual Receptionists can transfer calls to any staff member on a mobile or landline phone. We are entirely flexible to your needs and offer out-of-hours service when you are available, out of service, or away for any reason. We record your preferences and cater to your business and team’s needs. Your request can be updated or amended at any time, including how you wish for us to contact you, what time you prefer, and the method you want us to contact you.
Can a virtual receptionist use my existing booking software?
Yes, a virtual receptionist is there to make your life easier, including managing your current technology platforms, shared calendars, and CRM platforms. Most virtual receptionists are proficient and experienced in using Microsoft and Google applications. Soi’s Virtual receptionist are also specialised in industry-specific software to ensure a smooth integration with your existing processes, including Halaxy, Best Practice, PPMP, Powerdiary, Clinko, Nookal and Prac Suite. Contact SOI today. We work with you and your current setup to ensure a fast, proficient service catered to how you like to do business.
How to get started
To get started, there are some steps required. Your virtual receptionist team will provide you with all information needed to kickstart your journey and start you on the right path.
You will be required to:
- Set up a call diversion on your business calls or mobile. If you are unsure how, ask your virtual receptionist, who can advise you.
- Provide access to job managing software, shared calendars and any other software required to book your meetings, take calls and carry out duties on your behalf, including your email inbox, payment platform and job management systems.
- Provide business collateral, teams lists, price lists, service descriptions and your availability. Anything relevant to taking a call and providing information for FAQs of clients.
- Any scripts, tones and how you want your calls answered and managed should be noted. We collate all relevant information, big and intricate, to personalise the service for you and the customers. All information will be reviewed, and further information will be asked if required to ensure no stone gets unturned or question gets unanswered.
- The setup generally takes around 3-5 business days whilst we set up, review information, finalise scripts and your plan and get familiar with the software and systems you have in place.
To get started, contact SOI today.
Who is SOI?
THE ANSWER TO ALL YOUR VIRTUAL RECEPTION & PHONE ANSWERING SERVICES NEEDS
Every business is unique, with its own journey and set of challenges. Our professional, Australian-Based virtual receptionist will help you address and grow through these challenges. Our experienced team will integrate with your existing processes and leverage their industry-specialist knowledge to provide the best possible experience for your customers and patients. Including messaging and hotline services perfect for out-of-hours, overflow, weekends, public holidays and transferring of urgent calls.
With over 23 years of experience, our in-house team are professionally trained in industries such as; Allied Health, Accounting, Real Estate, Medical, Law and Engineering (to name a few!). We will use our local knowledge and training to tailor solutions that best accommodate your business needs and take any volume of calls your business generates.
FOCUS ON YOUR BUSINESS GOALS AND TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TIME- LEAVE THE PHONE ANSWERING TO US
Your virtual receptionist will handle the brief exchanges, detailed conversations, basic tasks and queries so that you can focus on your business and what’s important to you.
We know that you are busy. We can help relieve the stress of handling day-to-day tasks and tedious phone calls, letting you handle the bigger picture.
Our complete suite of virtual services will support your business. We handle transferring calls, bookings, reservations, message taking, call transfer screening and virtual receptionist duties.
Choose between a basic phone answering service or an SOI Receptionist Answer. Calls are managed, distributed and updated on your CRM platform instantly!
CREATING QUALITY LEADS AND OPPORTUNITIES AND ENHANCING LASTING RELATIONSHIPS AND CALLER EXPERIENCES
We offer a practical and completely tailored solution to manage your major source of opportunities, bring in new business and create lasting relationships with valued customers.
A TAILORED, FULLY CUSTOMISED SOLUTION FOR YOUR UNIQUE BUSINESS REQUIREMENT, JOURNEY AND GROWTH.
Let us help you grow.
Contact us today. Our experts in live answering services will answer any questions and queries to find the best phone answering service for you and your business.