Frequently Asked Questions About Answering Service Now Answered (Virtual Receptionist, Cost, and More)
What is a virtual receptionist?
A virtual receptionist is someone who answers phones on behalf of a company while not being physically present at their place of business. Significant improvements in telecom have made it much easier for employees and contractors to work remotely yet still give the perception that they are present at the place of business.
Some of the benefits that a business may realize from hiring virtual receptionists are:
1) Access to better talent than available locally
2) Potentially lower TCE (Total Cost of Employment)
3 Ability to staff 24 hours a day without having their actual place of business open
4) Reduction in management needed
5) Reduction in office space needed
6) Can reduce wages or hourly equivalent expenses
7) If outsourced, then more flexibility in staffing hours — lunch hour only, half-day, full-day, 24 hours and even weekend staffing.
8) If outsourced, then reduced payroll expenses.
9) If outsourced, then reduced employment taxes, insurance, workers compensation, benefits, and other indirect expenses.
10) If outsourced, the ability to pay only for when calls are received and only for the duration of the call.
11) If outsourced, you also do not need to spend your time recruiting and searching for a receptionist.
Do receptionists work remotely?
Virtual/Remote receptionists do work remotely. There are many benefits to this as a virtual/remote receptionist does not require on-site support or resources in order to function. Using VoIP, a virtual receptionist can be anywhere in the world while still answering calls on behalf of your company.
Depending upon who you hire it is possible that you can find someone with an excellent phone voice and etiquette at a very affordable rate.
How should an answering service answer my calls?
An answering service should answer your calls however you’d like them to. It can be as simple as: “Thank you for calling ‘MY COMPANY’. You’ve reached our answering service. If you’d like to leave a message it will be forwarded to us immediately and we’ll respond as soon as we are able to”.
Alternatively, good answering service can also take any script (short or long) and follow them step by step so that you can filter calls. It could be 1 question, or it could be 50 questions. Some businesses have outsourced their entire customer service or dispatch centers due to the cost savings
What is considered “after hours” with an answering service?
Most answering services are 24 hours a day so to the answering service itself, there are no after-hours. However, for a business that is open a set amount of hour then after-hours would be any time that they are closed. As for Blue Check Communication’s centers, we are open 24 x 7 x 365. You can learn more about our services and solutions here.
After-Hours Answering Services
After-hours answering services will answer the phones when the business is closed and there is no-one available to answer the phone. This is perfect for when a business has calls coming in after they’ve closed yet the volume does not justify hiring someone on their own. Some examples are non-24-hour medical facilities, plumbers, tree removal services, property managers, dental offices, etc.
For example, a tenant experiences a water pipe burst in their rental and needs to reach the property manager to find out what to do. Depending upon the size of the property this may happen once a day, once a week or even once a month. If their normal operating hours are 8am — 5pm M-F then that means all the other hours are considered after-hours. There are 672 hours in 4 weeks. If the operating hours are 180 in those same 4 weeks then that means there are 492 hours that are not covered by an employee. Having an employee available to answer that one call or even a few calls would easily cost more than $4,000. Now if a business can have an answering service cover the same times at just $20 a month then it’s a no brainer! That’s the same thing as paying someone $0.04 per hour to answer phones.*
- disclaimer: assumes that the business does not receive more than 10 calls after-hours in a given month based off of Blue Check Communications current Basic package.
Can you use landline phones with an answering service?
Of course! Just forward your landline to a number provided by your answering service and you’ll be up and running in no time.
What is the average cost of an answering service?
The average cost of an answering service varies depending upon who you use and how much you use them. Most answering services will charge you per minute of talk-time so the best way to answer this would be to take the cost per minute and multiply it times the total number of minutes you anticipate being used in a month. Check out our pricing to learn more.