Small business owners across the UK who are looking to scale up, or even just start up on the right foot, need to keep costs down wherever possible. Hardware installation, employee salaries and operational bills all contribute toward the significant outlay associated with getting a company off the ground and competing within an increasingly competitive business landscape.
One service which has grown in popularity in recent years due to its ability to bring down all three of these costs is virtual receptionist software. Below are some of the reasons why these services have become so popular:
Building a positive customer experience
Businesses can rely on virtual receptionists to handle overflow of calls or respond to client inquiries during “off-hours”. In practice, this means that calls can be rerouted to an external number (e.g. a mobile phone) or to a specific person or department which is well-positioned to handle such queries. In the event of voice messages being left, the virtual receptionist can automatically transcribe the voicemail and send it on via email or text message, meaning the message can be accessed easily from anywhere.
It may not seem immediately evident, but customer experience is a huge aspect of business success, opportunity and long-term viability. In fact, 62% of customers stopped doing business with a company after receiving ‘poor customer service.’ And 76% of customers believe the service they receive shows how much a company values them. This leads to an incredible $62 billion dollars in lost revenue for companies in America alone each year. While the stats for other regions are not as well documented, it is reasonable to assume that customer attitudes are similar the world over.
With numbers like these, it’s evident that a virtual receptionist can be a pivotal addition to your team, especially when it comes to customer experience. By ensuring that all calls do indeed make it to someone who can help with their query, customer satisfaction levels are boosted
In addition to the saving, a virtual receptionist service brings to the table (in terms of operational costs), it will actually help toward bringing in even more revenue. It’s a subtle business-approach shift that can pay real dividends.
Flexibility is key
Think about why you started your own business. It could have been a combination of any number of reasons.
Maybe you wanted to run and set your own schedule. Maybe you wanted to be your own boss and take on projects that were interesting to you. Maybe you dreamed of leading a successful team on your own. Maybe you want to work remotely from a beach in Bali.
Let’s take this last one: In order for your business to operate under a lean working model, you’ve got to have a process in place that is equally as flexible and remote.
Businesses that use a virtual receptionist service obviously realise that there are a whole host of cost reductions and savings to be made from minimising a receptionist’s role to a “need-only” basis, allowing the virtual software to manage the nitty-gritty business of managing and diverting incoming phonecalls.
Perhaps most importantly of all, a virtual receptionist programme allows you and your team to work remotely, communicate together and still give the experience of a real, physical, brick-and-mortar business to your customers.
Similarly, if your team relies on making sales that require travel, you can rely on a virtual receptionist to maintain the daily operations of your business, regardless of time zones or out of office hours.
If you’re promising your customers an “end-to-end” service, do you actually have the manpower to follow through?
A virtual receptionist is a trigger in any number of workflows that need to occur in order for a business to thrive. More often than not, they’re more than gatekeepers. Once the right processes are in place, a virtual receptionist can end up handling almost all of those essential first touchpoints, acting as a scheduler, troubleshooter and customer support as well.
“We’re open for business… 24/7!”
Where traditional waged receptionists are confined to their contracted operating working hours, virtual receptionists are not, never tiring, falling ill or needing time off work for annual leave. If the nature of your business demands 24/7 customer access, then going down the virtual route is the only logical option!
It’s just one more way a virtual receptionist can help your business go above and beyond. 74% of consumers say how quickly a business responds when they’ve made a complaint or inquiry is a ‘vital element in the overall customer experience’.
The numbers speak for themselves, don’t they? With that in mind, it might be time to consider using a professional virtual receptionist service such as the market-leading eReceptionist to speak on behalf of your business and help you concentrate on delivering the level of service or standard of product that makes you worthy of your customers’ valuable time and hard-earned money.