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Live Receptionists vs. Virtual Receptionists

At a time when remote work, cloud-based tools, and lean business are on the rise, virtual receptionists are becoming increasingly popular. Whether you’re looking at cutting costs or increasing your flexibility, you may be wondering how a virtual receptionist compares to your in-house receptionist. Is it truly cost-effective? How will it impact your clients? We’ve decided to pit virtual receptionists and in-house receptionists head-to-head. Let’s see who comes out on top:

Round 1: Cost

In-house receptionist: The annual median wage of a receptionist is $28,430. Factor in of insurance, overtime, workman’s compensation, and other benefits, and the cost skyrockets. That’s if things go smoothly. Sick days and absenteeism (which are MUCH more likely in an office setting) accounted for $8.1 billion dollars of annual productivity in the U.S.
Virtual receptionist: A live answering services can be had at one flat rate. No overtime, no overhead, no extra costs. If they’re a high quality answering service (ahem, like ours), there are no extra charges for holidays or after hours calls. Plus, they’re flexible. Increase your plan during business spikes. Decrease if you find you’re not using it as much as you thought.
The Winner: The dollars speak for themselves. Definitely the virtual receptionist.
Virtual Receptionist: 1
In-house Receptionist: 0

Round 2: Customer Service

In-house receptionist: If you’ve hired good staff, the in-house receptionist can hold their own in this category. We’ll admit, there’s no replacing a smiling face in your front office. Plus, familiarity breeds excellent customer service.
Virtual receptionist: But here’s the thing. A virtual receptionist is more than just a voice on the other end of the line. A dedicated virtual receptionist can know your business inside and out. And most importantly, the #1 customer service killer is long hold times. Studies show 58% of callers reported frustration at being placed on hold. And 67% of customers would rather hang up than go to voicemail or an automated phone tree. With a live answering service, your calls are guaranteed to be answered quickly. That’s a customer service trump card.
The Winner: It’s a draw.
Virtual Receptionist: 2
In-house receptionist:1

Round 3: Availability

In-house receptionist: You can have the best receptionist in the world. But they’re only yours from open until closing time. And if Mother Nature turns against you, or your tech fails, you’re dead in the water. When Boston experienced heavy snow in 2014, closed stores added up to $10 million a day in lost business.
Virtual receptionist: Here’s where virtual receptionist has in-house beat. Day or night, during business hours or after, during holidays, your virtual receptionist is available to capture every single call or potential lead. The secret weapon? Distributed workflow. We have virtual receptionists in every time zone. Disaster hits the East Coast, our West Coast agents pick up the slack.
The Winner: When it comes to availability, in-house receptionists can’t hold a candle to virtual.
Virtual Receptionist: 3
In-house Receptionist: 1

Round 4: Convenience/Efficiency

In-house receptionist: While being able to talk to your receptionist a few feet away is convenient, how are they at multitasking? Can they handle multiple roles at once? Can they automatically get your message to you the moment they’re received, no matter where you are?
Virtual Receptionist: Virtual receptionists have the Cloud at their disposal. They can be your appointment-setters, lead-capturers, and call-handlers all at once. Have calls transferred to you (or a colleague) and get messages sent to your inbox or smartphone. Get instant updates anytime, anywhere.
The Winner: Virtual receptionists win again.
Virtual receptionist: 4
In-house receptionist: 1

There you have it. In most categories, virtual receptionists have live receptionists beat hands-down. Still not convinced? Here’s the great thing about going virtual. You don’t have to make the complete switch. Try complementing your live receptionist with a virtual service! We’re betting you won’t go back.

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