How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Consulting Firm

Sean Lund-Brown

In the business of consulting, relationships and communication are everything. Your entire firm runs (and hopefully, grows) on the ability of your staff to deliver advice and assistance in various forms, for whatever industry you serve. Wouldn’t it make sense that you’d also want to have the right people to greet visitors and handle the day-to-day routine?

That’s where a receptionist comes into play. Hiring the right one might take a little more work than you realize, but that’s why we’re here. Think about what you want from a receptionist. More importantly, think about what your firm could gain from hiring a receptionist. That will tell you a few different things:

  1. What type of receptionist best suits your consulting firm
  2. Whether you’ll hire onsite or outsource
  3. What solutions receptionists could provide to free up your time and streamline your firm’s operations

Now that you know these elements, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and find the best receptionist for your firm, no matter what you have in mind. 

The Internet has created a world where people have come to expect on-demand answers, instant responses, and access to anything and everything they could ever need. If your firm isn’t on board here, you’re going to miss out. Not only that, but you’ll potentially turn away an entirely new audience of clients, peers, and others that could help your business grow and thrive. Make sure that you take the time to explore your options and find the receptionist that delivers what your consulting firm needs. 

We’ll help you get started on that quest by covering things like the cost of a receptionist, features to look for, the debate between outsourcing and hiring an employee, and more. We’ll even close with some helpful FAQs that will sum everything up and make sure that we didn’t miss a beat. First up, let’s talk about the cost of a consulting receptionist, depending on how you source them, and other factors. 


The cost of hiring a receptionist 


Everyone worries about money, and for good reason. As with anything, you probably know that you can’t just hire a receptionist based on cost alone. However, you do have to be aware of the investment that you’ll be making. There are a few different ways to go about sourcing a receptionist and that will impact what you spend. Usually, hiring in-house is the most expensive. 

Currently, in the United States, a receptionist earns between $11 and $14 per hour at the entry-level, and closer to $14-$18 per hour for professional and executive-level positions like working for a consulting firm. Of course, if you’re hiring locally, what you pay will depend on where you do business, what kind of talent is available, and so forth. That’s the reason that a lot of people choose to outsource, but we’ll get to more on that in the next section. 

Another consideration that you have to factor in is the cost of sourcing, hiring, training, onboarding, and housing that employee—and don’t forget overhead, benefits, and so forth. It can add up quickly, with the current onboarding cost for a single hire in the U.S. at a staggering $4,000. You’re probably already crunching numbers and you haven’t even decided how to proceed yet. 

Don’t panic, though, because hiring a receptionist this way isn’t the only way. In many cases, it’s the least common option for businesses today. After all, the pandemic taught us that a lot more can be done remotely than we expected when it comes to business. For some, it's opened up a whole new world of opportunities for getting help when they previously were unable to afford it. 

Speaking of affording things, don’t forget, also, to factor in the cost of bringing an employee on board, keeping them on board, and paying all the other expenses. When you’re doing the math, you don’t want to forget something important and get into more than you can handle. Ultimately, outsourcing or hiring an independent or remote receptionist could be the more financially prudent option. 


Outsourcing vs. hiring receptionists onsite 


The biggest debate when you are looking for a receptionist is going to be how you source them. After all, you have to decide whether you can afford to (or even need to) bring someone on as part of your firm. The other option is two-fold: outsourcing by hiring an independent contractor or by partnering with a third-party receptionist service (like the team here at Smith.ai). 

In figuring out how to source your perfect receptionist, you’ll want to consider the needs of your firm. Do you require temporary services or only need an after-hours receptionist? Perhaps you’re looking for someone full-time to be the face of your business. Maybe you’re not sure what you want (or need), but you know the need is there. 

Start by asking yourself the following:

  • Do I need someone in-house on a full- or part-time basis? There are some instances where firms might not even need an in-house employee. In this case, you could save a lot by contracting or choosing to work with a third-party service for the receptionist solutions that you need. 
  • Can I afford to hire an employee? What about your budget? The long and short of it is that you may just not be able to afford a regular employee hire. Thus, outsourcing may be the better way to go. Besides, you can usually get a lot more for your money when you outsource or hire a contractor, too. 
  • What kind of receptionist services do I need? Your firm might have a different idea of what a receptionist could (or should) do, so you’ll need to consider what you want. You may have more dynamic needs than you could get from a solo receptionist, for example. In another instance, you might decide that you need a temporary receptionist for a short period or a certain set of tasks. That will also impact who you hire. 
  • Do I want more options or better talent at a lower cost? When you outsource, you can typically find better talent for less money. Hiring someone locally means being limited to the talent that you can find and the available rates. When you go virtual, you’ll open your firm up to a whole new world of resources. 

These are just a few considerations to get you started, but once the wheels start turning, you should have no trouble figuring out what’s going to be best for your consulting firm. 


What can a receptionist do for my consulting firm?


Several different benefits come with hiring a receptionist for your consulting firm. For starters, it depends on how you utilize them, and since you can have them do just about anything that you need, they’ll certainly help your firm improve day-to-day operations, communications, and more. 

Hiring a receptionist gives you someone to fulfill a dynamic role (or a group of someone’s, if you outsource to a team). You will have a dedicated resource for things like:

  • Answering and routing phone calls
  • Taking messages 
  • Making outbound calls and follow-up calls
  • Handling data entry and admin tasks
  • Managing the physical and/or virtual office, including files, equipment, supplies, etc. 
  • Screening leads and making appointments
  • Managing meetings and other events
  • And so forth

Ultimately, the list could go on for as long as you can come up with tasks for people to do. And in your consulting firm, that’s going to be valuable in several ways. Imagine not having to leave a client meeting to go look for a file because your receptionist can email it over (or perhaps they did ahead of time in preparation for the meeting, which is even better). But you get the point. When you hire the right person for the job, there’s a lot to gain. 


Qualities to look for in a receptionist


Of course, no two receptionists are created equally. Additionally, no two firms will have the same needs. Therefore, your “right person” for the job might be a different solution than that of the next firm. That’s why we’re focusing so much on considerations where you’ll have to make the final call—it is your business after all. So, when you’re looking to add a receptionist in any capacity, consider their capabilities as far as soft skills go first. 

You can teach computer software, phone systems, company policies and processes, and so forth. You can’t teach someone how to be personable or how to multitask effectively. These are generally inherent skills that people either have, or they don’t. 

Look for qualities like:

  • Friendly, personable, yet professional demeanor 
  • Problem-solving abilities and conflict resolution skills
  • Communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Organizational skills and multitasking abilities
  • The ability to switch gears easily
  • High emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Active listening skills
  • Motivated, driven, self-starter
  • Positive attitude

All of these elements will get you a lot further in the quest for the best receptionist than any software or hardware competencies, or any other hard skills that can be learned over time. When you’re searching for the best help for your consulting firm, make sure that these qualities are at the top of your list. 


Hiring a receptionist: Common Q&A


Hopefully, by now, you’ve got a better idea of what to expect when you hire a receptionist. To summarize everything we’ve covered and make sure we didn’t miss anything, we’re going to close with a few popular questions and answers people have on this topic. 


When should I hire a receptionist for my consulting firm?

You should hire a receptionist as soon as you realize you need more assistance than you have available. If you’re missing calls and messages or just not able to get back to people quickly enough because you’re too busy, it’s probably a good time to ask for help. 


What if my consulting firm just needs overflow assistance?

There are professional receptionist services available that are uniquely designed to assist with overflow, after-hours, and even temporary receptionist solutions. You can designate exactly when you need help and how much help you need, and they will deliver based on the agreement that you make with them. It’s a great way to get help without hiring in-house. 


What type of receptionist should I hire?

Just as we can’t tell you when you should hire someone, we can’t tell you who to hire, either. Look for someone who meets the qualities listed above, and that feels like the right fit for you. This is often a matter of personal taste, so make sure that you explore the options and get the ideal solution for your firm. 


What’s a virtual receptionist?

A virtual receptionist is someone (or a team of people) who provides receptionist services via the Internet from a remote location. They work out of their own office (or in some cases, their home office) and can deliver all of the same services as a traditional receptionist, plus more in some cases. They can handle phone calls, live chat services, social media messaging, and more. Plus, they can integrate with your software to keep everything streamlined. It’s often available at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone, which makes it a convenient choice for several firms. 


Speaking of convenience, find out how a partnership with Smith.ai can deliver even more for your consulting firm


You’re in the business of consulting, not answering phones, and managing the office. And still, these are tasks that need to be handled in any business. If you don’t have time to do them, but you can’t quite afford to hire someone to fill the role in-house, give us a call. The dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can deliver 24/7 solutions for all kinds of communications and administrative needs. 

We can field after-hours phone calls, staff your live website chat, and even handle things like appointment scheduling, payment collection, and lead intake. Plus, ask us about our temporary receptionist services and even how we can integrate with your CRM, and more. To top it off, we’ll help you create a dynamic strategy to manage it all so your consulting firm never misses a thing. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss how the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can revolutionize the way you think of receptionists by taking your firm to the next level. You’ll also find us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

Try Smith.ai now

Accelerate growth with live receptionists and AI. Get started risk-free for 14 days!

Accelerate growth with live chat agents and AI. Get started risk-free for 14 days!

GEt Started NOWGEt Started NOW

Contact our sales team today at (650) 727-6484 or schedule a call.

sign up for our newsletter

Thank you!
Your submission has been received.
Yikes! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Categories