How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Financial Planning Firm

Samir Sampat

For financial planners, the value of having the right strategies in place to manage the rest of your business just makes sense. You spend your career helping others plan their finances and prepare for their futures while still enjoying their lives now. It would only make sense that you’d set your firm up for success in the same ways. One of the things you can do is to invest in a quality receptionist that can handle administrative tasks and communications so that you don’t have one more thing to do. 

If you’re doing well in your career, you are far too busy with your clients and handling day-to-day matters to field every phone call or message that comes into your firm. Not only that, but you shouldn’t have to divide your time and attention in such a way. Especially since receptionists exist for that very purpose. And when you take the time to hire the best receptionist, your financial planning firm will see improved administrative operations and communications across the board. 

Do your co-workers or employees have time to spend answering all those calls and messages themselves? What about things like scheduling, screening and qualifying leads, collecting payments, and other tasks that come up throughout the day? Those are a lot of the things you can get out of the way when you choose a virtual receptionist or any other type of receptionist to help your business become more efficient. 

Today, professional services like financial planning firms can find solutions in a few different ways, which is making it a much better and easier investment. It’s also changing the way that businesses think about doing business. In part due to the pandemic, and, in part, simply due to the growth of technology, remote work is becoming much more popular. Thus, some companies may decide to hire a virtual receptionist or remote contractor to handle these tasks rather than hiring someone in-house. 

Perhaps you’ll decide to add a virtual receptionist to supplement the efforts of your existing front desk staff. In any case, you’ll want to make sure that you know what factors are involved, what to expect from this investment, and how to find the right solution for your firm. Let’s start by talking about sourcing. 


Should you hire someone or outsource a virtual receptionist?


There are several factors to weigh in this decision. Of course, the major perk is that when you outsource, you’ll get access to professional receptionist services that specialize in delivering premium service and support. You can try to find that in an in-house employee, but it will be a bit more difficult. You should also consider what you’re searching for in a receptionist and whether that impacts how you source them. 

Think about things like:

  • Do you need an employee that works full-time in your firm, either physically or via work-at-home provisions? Some businesses just don’t need a payroll employee because their communications and admin needs are minimal. If this is the case, or if you’ve already got that role filled and are looking for something supplemental, outsourcing could be the way to go. 
  • Can you afford to hire someone? Don’t forget to include training costs, overhead, and so forth. We’ll discuss the actual costs a little more below, but just take a look at your budget. Often, for a fraction of a salary, you can get great solutions from a contract receptionist or third-party receptionist service (like the team at Smith.ai—more on us later). 
  • What kind of services or solutions are you looking for? You might want a more dynamic solution than a single in-house receptionist, which is where you can benefit from choosing to work with third-party services. You will often get robust communications solutions that come with a full strategy so that the team can manage anything and everything that you need. And again, you’ll usually get it for much less than the cost of hiring an employee. 
  • Do you want better talent? You will have access to receptionists and admin professionals around the country, and the world, when you outsource instead of hiring someone locally that has to be physically present. If you want to expand your options and give your firm the chance to get a better receptionist, outsourcing or at least hiring remotely could be the way to go. 
  • Do you have the time and means to micromanage, delegate, and otherwise handle the person working for your firm as a receptionist? They need leadership and when your plate’s already full, that’s going to be hard to provide. When you outsource, you can get a self-managed team that will ensure that everything is handled and they’ll keep you in the loop every step of the way, too. 

These are just some of the things you’ll want to be considering when looking into getting a receptionist for your financial planning firm. 


What does a receptionist cost to hire?


Although rates vary, the average cost of a receptionist in the U.S. is around $10 to $14 per hour. If you choose a professional-level receptionist or someone with dedicated financial experience, you may pay as much as $13 to $18 per hour for quality assistance, but again that varies. These numbers are just to help you get a ballpark idea of what to expect when choosing your path with the receptionist you need. 

Then, there’s the cost of sourcing, hiring, and training the employee, which is reported at around $4,000 per hire in the U.S. Plus, you’ll have the overhead of having to host the employee and provide them with an office, technology, and other needs, physically or virtually. It’s a lot to take on. For some firms, it’s expected and worth every penny. For others, options like outsourcing start to look better and better. 

This is why you need to start looking now. Get an idea of what your options are so that you can figure out how to best utilize your budget when investing in a receptionist. You will also want to consider if you want to pay a premium, in any capacity, for a finance-specific receptionist, but that might not always be essential. 


What can a receptionist do for my financial planning firm?


Another common question people ask is: what does MY business get out of this investment? We’re happy to provide the answers because there are plenty of them. For starters, a receptionist can do just about any task you require in terms of communications, administration, or even sales and marketing work. Some companies hire receptionists to answer phones, emails, and messages and also manage their social media, for example. 

A receptionist can do the basic things that you’d expect, but they can also deliver solutions for things like:

  • After-hours and emergency client requests
  • Answering questions about your firm’s services for general inquirers
  • Creating newsletters, website content, social media posts, and other content and correspondence as needed
  • Scheduling appointments, consultations, meetings, and other events or services
  • Building and fostering relationships with clients, colleagues, vendors, and others
  • Managing your online image and social media presence
  • Running the live website chat feature that you offer (Don’t have one yet? Get one!)
  • Maintaining the physical and/or virtual office space, including client files, and keeping everything in line with regulatory compliance, security, and other protocols

Of course, in this industry especially, it would behoove you to take the time to screen a potential receptionist to ensure they have a reputable background and the capability to work in a sensitive industry like finance. Some people aren’t made for that role, or simply don’t know how to handle the sensitive nature of the industry. 

When you hire the best receptionist, you’ll get all of this and more. Imagine how much peace of mind you’ll have in knowing that you can focus on your clients and the parts of your firm that need your attention while someone else is taking care of calls, chats, messages, and other communications so that your audience gets the service and solutions that they deserve, even when you’re not the one delivering them. 


So, what should I look for in a receptionist?


In financial planning, it’s always better to hire someone who at least has some experience in the financial industry or another professional sector. Entry-level employees or contractors may be able to get the job done, but they won’t always provide the level of service that you demand. Make sure that you choose a receptionist that is:

  • Well-versed in securities and financial industry topics
  • Aware of and familiar with privacy and regulatory compliance issues
  • Able to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Able to multitask and switch gears easily
  • Capable of delivering a higher level of service to your audience than they currently get
  • Friendly and personable, and capable of building and maintaining good relationships as the face of your financial planning firm
  • Flexible and able to adapt easily to changes
  • Confident and able to take charge if necessary
  • Eager and quick to learn new skills, industry information, etc. 


These are the factors that will help you the most when it comes to hiring your next receptionist. The other skills and assets they offer are a great bonus, but you’ll have a much better foundation with skills like this in the solution that you choose. 


Hiring a receptionist: FAQs

Now that we’ve covered a lot of information in a short time, let’s recap and make sure that we didn’t miss anything. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about hiring a receptionist for financial planning firms. 


When should I hire a receptionist?

There is no right time, but if you feel that your financial planning firm needs the help, then you’ll want to get someone on board right away. If your budget is limited, outsourcing to a third-party service can be a great way to get what you need for less without compromising on quality. 


Does my receptionist need finance experience?

Experience is always helpful, and in this industry, it is preferred. Some receptionists can learn on the job, but the finance industry is one with laws, compliance guidelines, regulatory groups, and so forth. Having someone already familiar with these “hurdles” will make things much easier across the board. 


What does a receptionist do?

A receptionist can do just about anything that you require, from communications to admin and even handling randomly assigned tasks related to one-time events or needs. Typically, they handle things like phone calls, emails, messages, scheduling, follow-up calls, and so forth. However, today’s receptionist can provide an array of dynamic solutions that include advanced solutions like social media management, and more. 


Why is a virtual receptionist better?

For some, an in-house receptionist is a must. However, others find that virtual receptionists offer more dynamic solutions and lower costs without compromising on the services that they deliver. Virtual receptionists know how to handle all of these tasks because it’s what they do. You’ll have fewer costs related to overhead and in-house hiring and you’ll get a dynamic strategy to handle everything your financial planning firm needs. 


Let Smith.ai be your virtual receptionist service and watch your financial planning firm thrive


While you’re building your business and helping your clients build wealth, let us build a strategy to ensure that all of your communications and admin tasks are handled. Our 24/7 virtual receptionists can deliver top-rate service around the clock to ensure that your clients, prospects, and everyone else gets the attention and answers that they need. 

We can handle everything from phone calls and live website chat to scheduling, lead intake assistance, payment collection, and even Facebook message answering, and so much more. You’ll even get a customized strategy to manage it all when you choose to work with us. 

To learn more, schedule your consultation and find out what the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do to improve your firm’s admin and communications efforts. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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