14 October, 2019

What is a Virtual Receptionist & How Can They Help Your Startup

Having virtual receptionists to handle your calls is the most cost-effective solution for new startups. If you have just set up your business and want to appear professional to clients or customers, a reception team can help you do that. But hiring call handlers to work for you full-time can be a huge cost outlay. And during a time of growth and uncertainty, you may be reluctant to invest.

Here we explain the role of a virtual office receptionist and how they can benefit your business. 

What does a virtual receptionist do?

A virtual receptionist is just like an in-house receptionist in many ways. They are the voice that greets your customers when they call, and they are the ones who relay important messages and manage your call forwarding. 

The main purpose of virtual call handlers is portraying a professional image. To callers, it’s just as though you have a permanent member of staff working in your office answering the phone. This helps to instil confidence in potential customers or clients, and can help busy entrepreneurs manage their workload better. 

Virtual receptionists help you create the right impression at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone on a full-time basis. They ensure:

  • That you never miss an important call again
  • Won’t be interrupted by nuisance calls or sales calls

Key benefits for startups

For new companies looking to reduce their overheads, remote working and virtual services can be ideal solutions. Not only do phone receptionists make your business appear professional to callers, but they can filter your calls and only put through the people you want to hear from.

Other benefits for startups include:

  • A more personalised alternative to automated systems
  • Save on the cost and stress of recruitment 
  • Have presence in the UK if you are located overseas
  • Work remotely without the need for an office 
  • Pay per month and cancel your plan anytime 

Is it the same as a call centre?

No, not at all. Unlike a call centre with hundreds of different agents on rotation, a virtual receptionist is a personalised service that sounds and appears to be based in your office, working solely for you. Virtual PAs will function as part of your team. They do this by getting to know you and your business, and will represent your company as best they can. 

With a call centre, it’s unlikely callers will ever get to speak to the same agent again, making it very hard to have any continuity of service. Our telephone answering service ensures that every call and every conversation remains on-brand and within your guidelines. 

How do virtual receptionists answer your calls?

A team of dedicated receptionists will answer your calls using your company’s name. This means that callers will not know that the service is a virtual one. They will think they are talking to a member of staff in your office. 

This is how it will work: 

  1. You get a dedicated telephone number that you can give out to your contacts and display on your company website. This can be geographical to show local presence (including London 020 numbers). 
  2. Callers will be transferred to a dedicated team of receptionists who will answer calls with your company greeting.
  3. Have your calls forwarded to your mobile or landline, or have your virtual team take messages instead. 

    Find out more about the Receiver Live Receptionist Plan available through Hoxton Mix. 

Virtual office receptionist vs. hiring  

For a startup business, recruitment can be expensive. But there are other advantages of having virtual PAs over an in-house hire. These include:

  • Low risk compared to hiring in-house

When hiring a permanent staff member, there are no guarantees that it’s going to work out. They may not be the right fit for your company, or they may not intend to stay in the role for very long - leaving you with the task of re-hiring. 

  • No need for training

As well as reducing your level of risk, virtual services allow you to access a fully-trained, expert team of receptionists. You won’t have to bear the cost of doing your own training. 

  • Scale your business 

Being able to scale your business effectively means keeping costs low. By using virtual call handlers, you can minimise overheads and focus on growing your service, not your premises.

In addition to answering your calls, our receptionists can also provide a face-to-face service when you decide to hire out our meeting rooms. They will greet your guests at the front desk and escort them to the right room for you. This ensures that our virtual office users have continuity in the physical world too. 

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