If you have a small office or work alone, you may not have the need or budget for a full-time receptionist. However, answering the phone yourself is a mundane activity that can easily derail what you’re doing or keep you from getting important work done.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may consider using a telephone answering service. However, there is another option that provides a similar service, but with some added benefits: a virtual receptionist.
There’s nothing “virtual” about a virtual receptionist, it’s a very real person; the name comes from the fact that you don’t share an office with a virtual receptionist. Heck, you might not even share a city or even a state with them.
Let’s examine some of the key differences between a telephone answering service and a virtual receptionist.
A live body vs. a phone voice
A phone answering service and a virtual receptionist are both living breathing people who can answer the phone for you and take messages – but while you’re unlikely to ever meet whoever handles your calls at the service, you know exactly where to find the receptionist. A virtual receptionist is associated with a virtual office building, and they can be found there during regular working hours.
A series of operators or a lone voice
Phone answering services have a slew of operators working, which means you never know who is answering the next call. With a virtual receptionist, you get the satisfaction of knowing the same person will always answer your call. And because they work at a single office, the receptionist can have some familiarity with your business.
Telephone answering services are often available 24 hours a day, with a live person there to answer your call. Virtual receptionists are typically only available during business hours. If after-hour calls are important to your business, the answering service has a leg up in this aspect.
Additional services available
With a telephone answering service, you’ll definitely have your calls answered; but nothing more. With a virtual receptionist at a dedicated virtual office, you have the opportunity to add more services as you see fit. Need some office space for the day? Or a conference room to meet with some important clients? A virtual office can provide the help you need. And since you already have a relationship with a virtual receptionist, you’ll have a smooth path ahead; the receptionist will have the information and access to get you set up with additional services easily.
If you just want a live person answering your calls, a telephone service and a virtual receptionist can both get the job done. But a virtual receptionist can you give added flexibility to deal with the ever-changing needs of your business.