Receptionists are a great asset. Of course, like anything, you have to make sure that they’re working efficiently to deliver the solutions that you need. A receptionist can answer a lot of phone calls in a day—some field hundreds of calls. Others may only take a dozen or so. Ultimately, it depends on the type of receptionist that you have, the type of calls involved, and so forth.
For example, a receptionist that is solely routing calls and answering general inquiries can answer a lot more calls in a day than one that’s scheduling appointments, qualifying leads, and so forth. Fortunately, there are a lot of different solutions available today that ensure that everyone has the right fit for their needs. Today, your customers demand better service than ever before. That means using the resources that you have to create a better solution—ergo hiring a receptionist.
The other option is to outsource to a third-party receptionist or service that can field any and all calls and other needs that you have. We’ll cover that later on in the article, too. First, though, we’ll tell you from the start that it’s really hard to determine just how many calls a receptionist can answer each day because there are so many variables. From the types of calls to the length of them and their complexity, you could have so many different things to consider.
What’s more is that the number could change from one day to the next. While productivity does matter, it’s also important for you to make sure that you find the right people for the job so that no matter what the call volume is like, they have things under control.
This is kind of like asking how much a receptionist earns—you can’t pigeonhole one number based on the general consensus. Some answering services and receptionists field 10-20 calls per hour. Other receptionists at small companies might only field 20 calls in an entire day. Essentially, they will need to be able to have ample time to answer questions, provide solutions, and otherwise address the caller’s needs without missing any other calls or having to put people on hold.
Of course, we’re talking about an ideal world that doesn’t really exist here—and most companies know that. Rather than focusing on how many calls can be taken in a day, instead, focus on the kind of support you need for the call volume that you have. For example, if you have a lower call volume but you can’t handle it yourself, you might want to choose a part-time or contract receptionist to help.
If, on the other hand, you have a major call volume on a regular basis, you may need an entire team of receptionists to handle the job. Some people also work at different speeds, so that will play into your decision here, as well. If you ask the Internet, you’ll get answers ranging anywhere from 20 to 40 to 200 or more if they’re quick calls. Of course, while volume is important, you really should be more focused on how well your receptionist can field phone calls, not just how many calls they can fit into a day.
Then we move into the next big issue: do you really want people answering more calls if they’re losing quality in the process? Sure, having more effective people might seem like a good plan, but their “efficiency” may come off to customers and callers as being short or not giving dedicated attention, which can cost you dearly.
That’s why your focus shouldn’t be on how many calls can be answered, but how well those calls can be answered. Today’s customer demands a much better level of service when it comes to contacting companies that they do business with. And thanks to the Internet, they often expect instant answers and want someone available on an as-needed basis. They also expect a personal touch that makes them feel like they’re a valued asset to your business.
If you have customer service agents or receptionists that are rushed and trying to hurry people off the phone, they’ll notice. If you have people who are forced to adhere to call volumes and times and are not given the freedom to deliver the level of service that your customers demand, it will show. No matter how much you want to deliver efficient call solutions, you can’t compromise the quality of the service that you deliver.
All of these things are far more important than the actual number of calls that your receptionist can take in a day. Yes, you need to cover the call volume, but you need to deliver a higher level of service first and foremost, or your call volume won’t stay high for very long. After all, it’s far better for your receptionist to take 10 great calls in a day than to take 100 calls that are rushed, impersonal, and feel too scripted or robotic. Leave those to the people who insist on using automated answering systems to route their phone calls—they’re already giving up on service anyway.
When you have a real person answer the phone, that quality will trump any call volume expectations.
If one receptionist can take 10 or 20 calls each hour, then imagine what an entire team of them could do. Of course, even if your “team” only has three or four agents, you could still gain a lot more value from your communications by outsourcing than hiring one person as part of your payroll. Not only is it usually cheaper to outsource, but these pros can take calls upon calls so that you’ll never have to worry about the volume. You’ll just know that everything is taken care of and that you have the right people fielding the calls.
Outsourcing also offers a lot of other perks if you’re in the market for a receptionist. It’s great for when you need help but:
Granted, receptionists are good for the investment. They provide you with a great service and ensure that all of your callers get the dedicated attention that they deserve. Today’s receptionists can even handle answering online messages, fielding social media accounts, and other tasks (but more on that in a bit). Still, people tend to get hyper-focused on things like productivity and budgets, so to ease your mind, we’re going to look at the basics.
For starters, the average receptionist earns between $10 and $14 per hour at the entry-level in the United States, but those with experience or specialty training could earn far more. Then, you’ll also have to factor in any benefits that you provide, such as health insurance or 401(k) contributions. If you give your employees paid time off or other perks, those go into your budget, too. There’s more to paying an employee than just their hourly salary.
Next, you’ll have to consider the cost of overhead. How much are you spending to have that employee on your payroll? You have to have an office, supplies and equipment, technology, etc.—it can all add up very quickly. Then, there’s the cost of sourcing and recruiting a candidate. You’ll have to pay for job postings, interview expenses, etc. These aren’t major expenses on their own but when they start piling up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
What about training and onboarding? Some companies spend thousands of dollars here. That doesn’t have to be the case, but you have to pay attention to what you’re spending. At the very least, you’re going to have to cover the costs of training and make sure that you can afford to get them up to speed until they’re fully productive for you.
This is one of the reasons that some people end up outsourcing. Even though an employee can be a great investment, it may not always be the right investment for every business.
Receptionists can fulfill several roles beyond answering calls. They can also handle after-hours and emergency requests, answer questions that don’t require your specific expertise, and so much more. You can rely on a professional receptionist to handle:
The list could go on and on, but you can clearly see that there is a lot more to a receptionist than just someone to answer the phones. Take the time to find the best solution for your business, whether that’s someone who does it all or just someone who takes the most stressful tasks off your plate.
As mentioned, modern receptionists are a Jack-of-all-trades, of sorts. They are basically the face of your business and they are responsible for manning the front lines of communication at all times. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have the right people for the job. What do you need a receptionist to do? They can probably handle it, no matter what “it” might be.
When you partner with the team at Smith.ai, you’ll be giving your business the chance to get ahead in a whole new way. Don’t worry about how many calls someone can answer because our dedicated virtual receptionists will answer every single one of them and field them appropriately, making sure that calls get routed to you if and when necessary.
Our team of agents can deliver 24/7 solutions for all kinds of communications, including regular and after-hours phone answering, live chat, and even SMS anWe can also assist with lead intake and qualification, scheduling, payment collection, and so much more. Plus, we’ll ensure that everything is streamlined, and you never miss a thing, no matter how busy your phone lines might be.