How To Get Started With Virtual Receptionists

how to get started with virtual receptionist

Are you at a point where you’ve read up on virtual receptionist services, and understand the benefits for your small business, but still haven’t moved forward? One of the biggest reasons for hesitation is because "getting started" may feel overwhelming. 

Here are four simple first steps: 

1. Share Your Business FAQs 

More often than not, callers will get in touch simply because they want answers to frequently asked questions. Your business may already have these answered on your website or social media, but not everyone will take the time to research the information themselves, which results in a phone call. Spare yourself the unwelcomed distraction and let virtual receptionists answer these FAQs. Simply provide a list of questions and answers to guide receptionists and they will be able to provide these responses to callers looking for information. 

You can even provide a list of questions for receptionists to ask interested callers to gauge if they're a potential client for your business, so that person who called just for a bit of information has the potential to convert into a new client! If the lead qualifies based on your requirements, virtual receptionists will conduct new client intake and schedule the call or meeting. All that's left for you to do is monitor your calendar. 

2. Start With Virtual Receptionists As A Backup 

Your business may work well with you handling most of your calls. However, a caller who gets your voicemail instead of you may feel disappointed or even unwanted. If they’re an existing client, they'll likely wait for a return call, despite the bad experience, but if the caller is a new lead, they're not going to wait around — they're already calling your competitors. Most times, the first person to answer the phone wins the business. 

If you're not quite comfortable with virtual receptionists answering all of your calls, at least let them prevent callers from getting your voicemail during business hours. It can be configured so that your virtual receptionists only answer your phone after two rings (two rings is standard practice). This way, you can answer if you're available, but if you're busy, in transit, or away from your desk, your caller speaks to friendly, professional receptionists instead of leaving a voicemail. Savvy business owners know this is the sort of simple, small change to a process that can lead to a lot more business. 

3. Provide Access To Your Calendar 

One of the biggest advantages businesses find in using a virtual receptionist service is the precious time that they can save from fielding calls that could potentially drag out and interrupt productive work. While some conversations are completed quickly, you’ll often need to schedule times for a call or an in-person meeting to either lock in an arrangement with a new client or discuss an ongoing project. 

By giving virtual receptionists access to your calendaring system, they can book appointments on your behalf while managing your schedule. You do not want to risk losing momentum and getting distracted by answering the call yourself. Virtual receptionists will collect all the details from the lead and schedule appointments according to your directions. They can also pre- qualify leads during calls based on your guidance. 

Once the appointment is locked in, you'll be able to view it on your calendar and in the summary notes provided after each call, which you’ll receive via email and SMS. 

Don't have a calendaring program? Calendly is great because it’s free, it's incredibly easy to use, and it works in collaboration with Google, Outlook, iCalendar, and Office365. 

4. Integrate Virtual Receptionists With Your CRM & Intake Forms 

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software makes it incredibly easy to manage contacts, accounts, business deals, vendors, and more. 

Your virtual receptionist service can integrate with many popular CRMs, including Capsule CRM, Clio, and Salesforce, to name just a few. By connecting any of these applications to your virtual receptionist service, you’re able to pass caller information directly into these systems, including contact information, call summaries and notes. 

Often, CRMs offer the ability to create forms, which can be embedded on your website or shared with leads and clients through a link. If you have a new client intake form, you can share it with virtual receptionists to complete while they are on the call with a potential new client. That way, you have all of their basic information ahead of your first meeting, so you can jump right in. 

With the uncertainty that 2020 has brought, it is time for your business to gain back time to focus on productive work uninterrupted while you have virtual receptionists answering your calls.


samir sampat smith ai

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. Smith.ai’s 24/7 virtual receptionists and live chat agents capture and convert leads by phone, website chat, texts, and Facebook. You can follow Smith.ai on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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