Starting a small business can be one of the most difficult things anyone can do. Scaling a business and keeping it successful can be even harder.
Just when you feel like you’ve got things figured out, with a solid schedule in place and a growing roster of clients, you’ll likely find that things need to be restructured. If you’re sending out more products, you may need to find a new manufacturer that can work at a larger scale, or add more customer support people to your staff to keep your ever-growing client base happy.
As you’re scaling, one of the first things you should look at is hiring a virtual receptionist for your business. They’ll make the scaling process much easier, and with someone always on the other end of the phone to help your clients with most of their needs, you can rest easy knowing that customer support won’t take a hit if you experience some growing pains.
Wondering how exactly a virtual receptionist can help you? In this post, we’re going to take a close look at what virtual receptionists are, how they can help your business scale, and how to find the right service and set them up for success.
What Exactly Is a Virtual Receptionist?
Virtual receptionists are trained agents that you can hire as contractors through an outside agency. They’re experienced in customer service support, and they can take any calls you want to send their way.
Virtual receptionists at high-quality agencies like PATLive will be able to do more than just answer a call, too; they’re also capable of taking lead information, processing sales or registrations, booking appointments, and even answering basic customer inquiries.
If you want to only have calls sent to the virtual receptionists during work or after hours, you can do that. If you want them to answer every call after the third ring, that’s an option, too, but you can also have every call that comes to your general business number routed to them as the first line of defense.
Why You Need Virtual Receptionists to Help Your Business Grow
As your business grows, it can get tricky to keep up with all the tasks at hand. Answering calls and managing customer support is one of those major tasks that you can’t afford to let slide when this happens.
If someone calls to ask about your business’s support policies and you don’t answer, they may call your competitor next instead — and they may answer.
Virtual receptionists will be able to answer every call that you can’t take yourself, and they’ll even be able to handle a significant chunk of the calls themselves without ever interrupting your workday.
Imagine having someone else be able to answer calls about people who have forgotten what time their appointment is or who just want to know your return policy; your entire team will get significant chunks of their day back, improving their productivity significantly.
They’ll also be able to help your customers around the clock. You don’t want to have to staff an in-office receptionist or customer support team during graveyard shifts or on holidays, but virtual receptionists at agencies like PATLive will be available and answering calls 24/7, 365 days a year. This will ensure you never miss a single customer over a missed call.
How to Find the Right Virtual Receptionist & Set Them Up for Success
Interested in finding a virtual receptionist that can help you scale your business and having them hit the ground running? Here are the four steps that we recommend you take to choose the perfect agency.
Look For Agencies That Highlight Well-Trained Agents
Not all virtual receptionist and call answering services are created equal. High-quality agencies will only hire experienced customer service agents that they then put through rigorous customer-centered training. PATLive, for example, only hires around one out of every fifty U.S. agents that apply to work with us. We look for the powerful combination of great experience and the right attitude, and then we give them training to offer the exact same support to your customers that you would.
Choose an Agency That Offers Full Support
Right now, you may only need someone who can answer calls and tell people your business’s hours or pricing for services.
As you scale, though, you’ll likely need increasing support, like the ability to securely process payments or process lead information. You want to start with the right agency that can offer full support later, even if you don’t think you’ll need it now. Consider what features you may benefit from down the line, and even if your plan doesn’t include those features now, make sure they’ll be available later.
Help Set Up the Scripts You Want Agents to Use
The best virtual receptionist agencies aren’t just going to answer phones; they’re going to act as a true extension of your business. This means that we want to know about your processes and how you want your customers to be treated.
We may ask for your help or input when creating scripts that our agents will use to serve your customers. Think about custom greetings you want us to use, the information you need to qualify a lead, and how you want us to answer common customer questions. This will ensure that we’re treating your customers exactly as you would, allowing you to get the most out of our service.
Find a Plan That Scales Well
Some agencies are limited in the scope of work they can offer you, due to their own limited availability or pricing plans that jump to unsustainable levels as you increase the number of calls you need them to handle.
This is the last thing that you want. You want to find an agency that has pricing plans that are both affordable now and scalable as the scope of work increases. Even if your call volume is low, missing the wrong phone call can cost you greatly. PATLive, for example, offers pricing plans that increase based on the number of minutes you use. We even offer a basic message taking plan that is “pay as you go”, so you’re not paying for minutes you don’t use.
Growing a business can be downright challenging, but there are certain steps you can take to ease growing pains. Hiring a quality virtual receptionist through a trusted, reputable service is one of the best choices you can make as you scale your business. They’ll offer the support both you and your customers need while you find your footing and expand further, ensuring that no one slips between the cracks.