Running your own business can be a very rewarding challenge, however do note the word “challenge”. Managing the day to day operations of your business is a full on task. Naturally, you want the phone to be ringing off the hook with business enquiries, however if it does, are you equipped to take all of the calls and land new business while attending to all of your other management activities too? More often than not, you’ll find that you aren’t. However, not to worry help is at hand! Many business owners are turning to virtual receptionists as a means of managing customer calls efficiently. A virtual receptionist is a person who performs the same duties of an on-site receptionist while working in another location. They are a real, fully trained receptionist; they’re just not located in your office! Here are 5 key benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist for your business. #1. Professional Image Having your calls answered by a business “receptionist” portrays a professional image. It portrays your business as a well-run, professional operation, not just a one man show. Hiring a virtual receptionist ensures that your calls are answered quickly – customers do not like to have to consistently call a business or leave unanswered voicemails. In fact, you’ll find that any potential client, whether in the B2B or B2C space, will have a pet hate about having to call continuously to make a business enquiry – it is a major turn off and looks unprofessional. Ensure to let your receptionist know the times when you will and won’t be available so they can avoid re-routing a call through to you only to have to return to speak to the caller again. #2. Superior Customer Service When you hire a virtual receptionist, you hire a fully trained, experienced and often even certified customer service representative. You can trust a virtual receptionist to deliver a superior level of customer service. They will take the time to learn about your business to ensure that they can respond to queries in as knowledgeable a manner as possible. Superior customer service can go a long way for any business and you can be assured that all customer queries, even complaints, will be dealt with in a courteous, professional manner. Even if a caller is looking to speak to you directly, they would much rather reach a receptionist who can tell them when you will be available to take a call or who will take a message from you to be passed on rather than ringing you directly only for the phone to consistently ring out and reach a voicemail. #3. No Missed Business Opportunities One of the key reasons to hire a virtual receptionist is to simply ensure that no call goes unanswered and in turn, no business opportunities are missed. A missed call or unanswered voicemail could very well mean that you miss out on a golden business opportunity. Your phone might go unanswered but your competitors might not! What does it say to potential customers who call your business but don’t get an answer or reach a receptionist? It says that your business is simply not big enough to have the phone answered on the first attempt, it isn’t organised, it isn’t efficiently managed and maybe even that you don’t care about your customers. The average person will call a business a maximum of two times before deciding to take their business elsewhere and one out of five people will call a business only once. Many business owners hire virtual receptionists to take any incoming calls outside of business hours which is especially important if a business services international customers as due to time zone differences, many calls could potentially come in after your normal business operating hours. #4. Increase Your Own Productivity By hiring a virtual receptionist to manage calls and incoming business/customer enquiries, you can free up a lot of your own time. Your time can then be better utilised to drive your business forward, manage accounts, direct marketing activities and business strategies, develop new product ideas and develop new business. As a business owner, your time is incredibly precious so you need to ensure that it is utilised wisely – or risk having to work crazy 60/70 hour weeks! You would be amazed how much time can be taken up taking calls and trying to tease out exactly what the customer enquiry is. Having to take calls while trying to complete accounts, manage payroll or design a new product can completely disturb your workflow and these are the kind of important tasks with require your full undivided attention. Hire a virtual receptionist and you can solely focus on growing your business. #5. Cost-Effective Solution Hiring a full time in-house receptionist for your business can be expensive and not entirely cost effective if your business is in its early days. The cost of recruiting, employing and training a full time member of staff all adds up. While hiring a full time in-house receptionist might not be a financially viable option for your business right now, that does not mean that you have to miss out on availing of the services of a receptionist altogether. Virtual receptionists can be hired on an ad hoc basis, where you pay a flat fee for an agreed term. If there are certain times of the year where call volumes are particularly high or your current staff member is away on holidays, hiring a virtual receptionist can prove a very flexible, cost effective solution to your problems. So there you have it, hiring a virtual receptionist can make a business owners life a lot more stressful. Hiring a virtual receptionist can result in increased productivity and flexibility for the business owner and better customer service and business image in the eyes of the public. Even better, you can achieve all of this without breaking the bank. Have you ever hired a virtual receptionist? What benefits did you find doing so had on your role, your life and your business? Images: “Happy businesswoman with pictures interface in front of laptop on world map background/Shutterstock.com“ ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.