Today, Spanish is the second most common language spoken in homes around the U.S., which ranks the U.S. third in the world for Spanish-speaking populations. If you don’t see the need for bilingual customer service, you haven’t been paying attention.
Everywhere you turn, more companies are working to improve their customer service efforts and break down language barriers. It’s no longer just major corporations, hospital networks, and government offices, either. Small businesses are getting on board, as they should, and making sure that they’re able to answer all of their customers and visitors, at all times.
Receptionists are the face of your business. They’re the first ones people interact with, typically, and they need to be able to deliver the level of service that you want to represent your brand.
Although it’s been decades and the role has evolved extensively, many people still picture the 1960s or 1970s receptionist—a youthful female that’s conventionally attractive, well dressed, wears nice makeup, and has stylish hair, and that can take calls, messages, and more, as needed. She’s always friendly and seems to be able to handle just about anything that comes her way.
Of course, receptionists today come in all types and there is a lot more to it than just hiring a friendly face to answer the phones. In the guide below, we’ll go over how to choose the right receptionist(s) for your business, including whether you should hire someone in-house or choose an outsourced partner, as well as the pros and cons of each.
We’ll also discuss the value of investing in bilingual receptionists and what the dedicated team of receptionists at Smith.ai can do to help your business serve your clients better in every way.
First, let’s talk about what you need to look for when it comes to hiring a receptionist.
There are several features that you might want to consider when you are in the market for a receptionist. Although you might have some specific concerns in mind for your company, some general guidelines can help you find the right person or people for the job.
That’s right—you might end up deciding that a team of receptionists that you outsource is a better solution. Part of evaluating the “right” solution is choosing between that and hiring someone that’s part of your staff. We’ll cover that in more detail next. For now, let’s talk about the qualities to look for in receptionist(s) for your business.
Communication skills: Nothing is more important than their ability to communicate effectively and in a way that customers can understand. If they can’t carry conversations, aren’t able to “smile” with their voice, and don’t have things like empathy that come naturally, they’re not going to provide the best experience.
Multitasking abilities: A receptionist doesn’t just answer phones. They do a lot of different things, and they should be able to do a lot of different things for your business. They should be able to handle calls, chats, incoming emails, admin tasks, and anything else that you need. At the same time, they should always maintain the high quality of their emails by lexical and grammar views. For this aim they can always apply various useful proofreading tools like Grammarly or Essay Writing Service to provide their content with high rated writing. This is often where it can be beneficial to outsource because you’ll get a team instead of just one person for the job.
Organizational abilities: Receptionists need to be organized. Even with all the tech available today, it’s important to have good organizational skills and the ability to keep things streamlined when taking care of business. This makes their job, and everyone else’s, much easier.
Professionalism: They should know how to convey the appropriate level of professionalism to the people with whom they communicate. For example, a more casual tone might be possible with a coworker, but if a client calls a law firm, the receptionist should have a professional demeanor when answering the phone.
Ability to switch gears easily: Along with multitasking, effective receptionists can switch gears and go from one thing to the next without a lot of hesitation or planning. Some people can do this, and some can’t. It’s more an inherent trait than a learned skill, but it’s an important one to have.
Technical aptitude: Today’s receptionist needs to be able to keep up with technology, as well as to provide your business with the tools and solutions that it needs via automation and AI. If they can’t handle the tech tools, they aren’t going to be able to deliver the best service.
Then, there comes the question of how to staff your receptionist needs—do you hire someone and take on the expense of a salary, benefits, and other overhead? Or, do you outsource and partner with a company that provides virtual receptionists that can act as the face of your brand for what amounts to a fraction of the cost of an in-house staff member?
For some companies, in-house makes sense. It can be helpful to have someone on hand to field calls and be in the business when things are needed. However, it can also be just as easy to outsource to a team of experts who can handle just about anything and keep you apprised every step of the way. Plus, if anything requires your attention or needs escalation, you’ll be the first to know.
When you hire someone for your staff you’ll have to:
This could be a great investment for some companies. For others, it might just be too costly at this point. It could just be that the type of business you have would benefit more from outsourcing. There are even a few small businesses and entrepreneurs who have no choice but to outsource due to a lack of resources or other constraints.
For them, the focus is more on finding the right receptionists to work with. What does that mean? Well, for starters, you want to make sure that your receptionists are experienced and capable of delivering the support that your customers need. This includes bilingual service, along with things like:
When you find a partner with these assets, you’ll be able to build a relationship that can take your service further than you might be able to go on your own. Outsourcing can be the more affordable option that allows you to get more for your money with a dynamic solution for virtual receptionists that can deliver exactly what your brand needs.
Small businesses are always looking at a tight budget. That’s where outsourcing can be a valuable tool. In the past few years, more companies have started realizing and embracing the potential of virtual receptionist services that can deliver everything that an in-house employee would offer and so much more. This helps them improve the level of service the company provides and improves sales opportunities, and so much more.
Outsourcing your receptionist needs to a virtual receptionist service will:
Help you better manage time: When virtual receptionists are handling all of the calls, chats, social media messages, and even things like scheduling and lead intake, you’ll be able to spend your time on other efforts and tasks. That includes more face time with your customers when it counts, helping you deliver a better experience with the time that you’re saving. You can get more organized with other tasks and areas of your business knowing that your receptionist-related services are under control.
Save your business money: Outsourcing is a lot cheaper than staffing your own receptionist, in the long run. After all, you’ll get a lot more features for the money, and for a fraction of what you’d spend on an employee, you can get an entire team of people to act as the face of your brand when it comes to communication. When you can save money and get better solutions, it just doesn’t make sense not to consider it.
Give you professionals that are expertly trained: Virtual receptionists have been trained in professionalism, customer service, and handling various issues. They know how to do the job and you won’t have to invest in their training on your own. You won’t have to worry whether they can handle the work, either, because this is what they do for a living, every single hour that they’re on the clock.
Give your brand 24/7 availability: Today’s customers demand instant answers and constant availability. To them, the Internet never closes and that means that your business should never close, either. Of course, when you can’t afford to run 24 hours a day, virtual receptionists can be there to pick up the slack and make sure that no one gets missed, even when you’re getting some shut-eye.
Today, Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States, and it is quickly growing in popularity even as we write this article. It’s expected by 2050 that there will be more than 138 million people who speak Spanish as their primary or native language in the United States, and many businesses have already gotten on board with catering to the ones already here.
Here's what the current statistics look like:
If you haven’t, now is the time and the best place to start is with bilingual receptionist services. Offering bilingual service gives you an entirely different audience and ensures that there will be no communication barriers between you and your customers, no matter who answers the call (or live chat, for that matter).
That’s right. Bilingual receptionists are available that speak English and Spanish, but there’s another solution, too. Modern bilingual translation software offers near-100% accuracy to translate conversations in real-time and ensures that both ends of the conversation are understood and properly interpreted, even if the agent doesn’t speak Spanish.
You need bilingual service because there’s almost always a portion of your audience that could use it. Plus, when word gets out that you offer this service, some people might come to your business specifically because it’s a hard thing to find. Of course, you can’t just implement a basic translation tool and call it a day.
You’ve got to find the right bilingual customer service tools and resources, including a staff of virtual receptionists if you choose to go that route so that your customers get the communication that they deserve. When you do that, you’ll open yourself up to more opportunities and an improved brand reputation because it shows you care about your customers and what they need.
We know you’re already running low on resources as an SMB. However, we also know there are some things that your business just shouldn’t go without. Bilingual customer service and support tools are on that list, and those are just a couple of the things that we can provide. Our 24/7 virtual receptionists can also help with lead intake and scheduling, live chat, phone answering, Facebook and SMS message answering, and so much more.
Plus, we’ll help you create a strategy to handle it all and ensure that your customers’ needs are handled with our state-of-the-art customer service software and translation tools. We know you’ve got a lot on your plate, and this is one way we can help you grow while letting go of some of the work.
To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss how the bilingual service at Smith.ai can help you step up your customer service game and more. You’ll also find us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 727-6484.
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