A virtual office is a tool that allows you to give your organization a physical address and phone number. For most folks, an office is by far the most closely associated thought when they hear the word "workplace." People expect certain things in a workplace environment, even though it has evolved so much that you can have it anywhere. One can also run an "office" entirely from home using nothing more than a laptop!
These days, many startups use virtual offices to give them a competitive edge by simply having an address in a proper business location. But, what’s the use of having a virtual office telephone number if there’s no-one available to answer any calls?
As you can imagine, first impressions count and can literally make or break a new brand in the market. With that in mind, it’s worth considering a virtual receptionist. Take a look at these seven reasons why that can be an excellent idea for your startup firm:
Let’s face it: you can’t sustain a business if it isn’t able to sell anything! The basic premise of business is to sell products and services to generate turnover and make a profit. Sure, your potential customers can contact you by email or even filling in a contact form on your website.
The thing is, many people still prefer to pick up the phone and speak to a human as they’ll get an instant response. Some individuals prefer to discuss their concerns and needs with another person as they feel it’s easier to communicate in such a direct method. If your startup has a virtual receptionist to answer calls, you’ll never miss a sales call again!
If you had to hire a person to sit at a desk and answer your calls at your home, office, or wherever you work, the costs can soon mount up. Believe it or not, it costs businesses a lot of money to hire an employee, even if they only get paid a minimum legal wage. You have to cover all kinds of associated costs like insurance, benefits, sick pay, holiday pay, and so on.
With a virtual receptionist, you are just paying a set price for the service. There are no hidden costs; you know exactly what your bills are each month. And you don’t have to worry about complying with any employment laws.
The notion of a business taking calls from customers even when they have closed for the day sounds rather radical. But, that’s exactly what you can do when you use a virtual receptionist! Your firm can be ready to deal with inquiries and sales orders 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If needed, it can even offer a 365-day service to customers, giving your brand the ultimate competitive advantage!
Your customers will no longer have to wait until the next business day to contact you, especially if they have an emergency that demands your attention. It’s also useful if your customers are scattered across the globe, and can contact you regardless of their timezone.
One downside to dealing with customers by telephone is that it can often take up a lot of your time and resources. What that ultimately results in is slower business growth. But, what if there was a way to free up time spent on telephone calls and divert that attention to other areas of your business?
Well, that’s exactly what you can do when you use a virtual receptionist! One of the biggest benefits of a virtual receptionist is that someone else can filter and forward on telephone calls. That way, you only need to handle calls that have been qualified by someone else as demanding of your attention.
If your startup business depends on sales leads booking appointments with you, that’s another way a virtual receptionist can help you. They can help by booking, re-arranging or canceling appointments using shared online diary software. All you have to do is make contact with your sales leads at the arranged dates and times!
There is no denying that having a full diary means you are busy and, most importantly, growing your business with new customers and sales. If you had a mostly empty diary, your startup business is unlikely to grow or even be sustainable for long. Also, as mentioned in point four, you can deal with international callers. That means you can arrange for people local to those callers to make contact with those people in their timezone.
You don’t have to worry about virtual receptionists sounding unprofessional or confusing to your callers. They will greet anyone calling your telephone number with your brand name and whatever greeting you wish them to speak. As mentioned earlier, first impressions count in business, and virtual receptionists will always provide a memorable impression to your customers.
You can provide virtual receptionists with a script so they can effectively communicate with your client base. Having scripts prepared for virtual receptionists also helps them deal with an array of queries that don’t necessarily demand your attention. Scripts could be anything from answering commonly-asked questions through to providing payment details for customers to pay invoices electronically.
Last, but not least, you can portray the image of a larger organization to callers as they’ll assume you have a team of workers. Good brand perception is key to consumer confidence. When people call an organization, they want to feel confident knowing they are dealing with a business that is capable of serving their needs. That is especially important if your target market includes large corporate and international companies.
You could even have a team of virtual receptionists to answer and filter calls for different departments within your startup business, such as sales, technical support, and accounting.