How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Marketing Agency

Samir Sampat

Digital marketing has changed a lot of things for the “traditional” marketing agency, but one thing is a constant: you’re always going to need someone to answer the phones and greet clients, vendors, and others. Not only that, but who’s handling all of your admin work? Surely, you’re not wasting your valuable marketing talent spending all your time behind a desk taking and making calls, scheduling meetings, running reports, and so forth. 

That’s exactly what a receptionist is for. If you don’t have one, it’s time to get one. Of course, that also includes making sure that you get the right receptionist for the job. Fortunately, there are a lot of great options out there today for marketing agencies, including in-house, remote workers, and even third-party virtual receptionist services like the solutions we offer here at Smith.ai. 

Think about all the day-to-day busywork that eats up your time—how much more could you get done to help your business if you had someone handling the paperwork, calls, messages, social media, and other needs of your agency? And how much more satisfied would people be because you’re giving them better service all around?

In this guide, we’ll talk about how to find the right receptionist for your marketing agency, as well as what you can expect in terms of options, financial investment, and more. Hopefully, it will help you on your own journey to finding the ideal solution for your business. Remember, too, that this is an investment, and it’s one worth making (stop thinking of it as an “expense!”).


How much will a receptionist really cost me?

Although we caution everyone not to focus solely on cost, we’ve decided it’s best to discuss the elephant in the room upfront. People cost money, and that’s just a fact of business. Hiring a receptionist, however you do it, should be seen as an investment, not an expense. And as for what it’ll cost, research shows that the average pay for a receptionist in the U.S. ranges somewhere between $11 and $14 per hour, depending on their exact position and expertise. 

You’ll also spend money hiring and training a new receptionist, which averages around $4K in the U.S. currently. This can be too much of an expense for some, but for others, it’s an investment well-made. It’ll be up to you to decide. 

The good news is that if you outsource, you’ll generally spend less. Whether you choose an independent contractor or a third-party receptionist service, you’ll be able to get a lot more services for a lower cost and you’ll never have to worry about overhead, benefits, or other expenses. Just pay for the services that you need and call it a day. 

If you want an experienced receptionist with marketing in their background, expect to spend $15 to $17, on average, to hire someone in-house. Again, though, if you decide to outsource, you can find receptionist solutions that also know the world of marketing for a lot less than you might expect. 


What types of tasks can a receptionist handle for my marketing agency?

When you hire a receptionist, you’ll find a lot of different perks. While you’re executing marketing campaigns or trying to brainstorm with your team, you won’t have to worry about being interrupted by phone calls, messages, or other tedious tasks that need attention. A receptionist can deliver a professional, personable face for your marketing agency, and can even help you screen and qualify new marketing leads. 

Of course, they can answer and route phone calls. However, they can also offer assistance with:

  • Handling general inquiries and questions from social media, your website, and email
  • Creating reports, memos, and other correspondence or content that your marketing agency needs
  • Coordinating vendors, clients, contractors, and others to build and maintain strong relationships
  • Welcoming visitors to the agency, when you hire an in-house receptionist
  • Scheduling and managing appointments, meetings, and other events
  • Maintaining the appearance of the office, including supplies and equipment (if onsite)
  • Maintain data and organization of files, documents, etc. in the digital space
  • Other communication, admin, or office-related tasks, as needed

Ultimately, there’s not much that this person (or team) won’t be able to do for your marketing agency. They will streamline tasks, save you time, improve communications and customer service, and more. And that’s just the beginning. If you choose well, they can do a lot more than you expect. Of course, choosing well is a two-part consideration. 


Hiring in-house vs. outsourcing receptionists

The first factor in choosing your receptionist is going to be what we just discussed in the section on pay: are you hiring someone to work as an employee, or are you going to outsource or contract the receptionist services that you need? There’s no “right” answer here—it’s about what your business needs. There are, of course, a few things you could consider to help you figure out what’s best. 

Think about things like: 

  • Does your agency need a full-time or in-house receptionist? There are some instances where companies don’t need that level of commitment or investment at first, or ever. If your company is one of them, you will probably find that outsourcing is the way to go, whether you contract or partner with a service. 
  • Can you afford to hire an employee? You might not have the budget for a staff member when you factor in things like training costs, onboarding, benefits, and overhead. Thus, outsourcing may be a better option in this instance, as well. 
  • What services or tasks do you expect your receptionist(s) to handle? If you want more than one person can offer, for example, you might find that it’s better to choose a third-party virtual receptionist service like the team at Smith.ai. 
  • Are you looking for better options and talent without spending more money? Fortunately, the Internet allows you to source receptionists from around the country and even around the globe, and they offer premium features and solutions. When you’re limited to your local region, you might not be able to find as much value. 

Taking a minute to look at general considerations like this will help you get your business pointed in the right direction when it comes to sourcing your receptionist, no matter what you have in mind. When doing so, you’ll also want to factor in the skills and qualities that they offer. More on that next. 


Qualities and skills of a good receptionist 

To a certain degree, your business will have its own needs when searching for a receptionist. However, there are some general skills and qualities that everyone is going to want to look for when they’re in the market for a receptionist. While hard skills like competency with software are valuable, those can be taught. You’ll ideally want to focus more on the soft skills at first and then go from there.

You can’t teach things like being friendly, being able to multitask, eagerness and independence, and other skills. These are essentially personality traits and skills that people either tend to have or not. Choosing someone who’s qualified means finding the person that has the skills that you desire. Communication skills, organizational skills, and even a self-motivated attitude can go a long way. 

Experience is helpful, as is reputation, but you don’t necessarily have to hire the most experienced receptionist on the market. You could find a quick learner or a newer service that has grown quickly and offers everything that you need. Ultimately, besides hard skills, you will want to consider skills and qualities like those below:

  • Personable, friendly demeanor
  • Motivated self-starter
  • Confident
  • Take-charge attitude
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Quick learner
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced setting
  • Independent while also being a team player
  • Capable of multitasking 

There are dozens of other things you could add to this list, but this is a good start to help you find the best solutions for your agency. Remember, it’s about finding people who deliver the services, but also the quality of service that represents your marketing agency and its professional image. 


Hiring a receptionist: FAQs

If you still have questions, that’s okay. We’ve covered a lot in this guide, but there’s a little bit more. To keep it simple, let’s recap and cover some FAQs that people have when it comes to hiring a receptionist. 

When should I hire receptionists?

Everyone wants to know when they should finally get a receptionist. If you’re asking, the answer is probably “now”. There are so many benefits that come from hiring a receptionist and if you aren’t able to keep up with all your communications and admin tasks, you’ll find that your business might not be able to continue and thrive without one. Look at the value that a receptionist can add and compare it to what your agency needs. You’ll quickly see that it’s high time to hire someone in the receptionist role, no matter how you go about it. 

Do I need a receptionist with marketing experience?

There isn’t necessarily a reason that you need someone with marketing experience. However, if they have it, it will work in your favor. Ideally, you’ll want to focus on the skills you desire and the services you need from receptionists, such as phone and message answering, scheduling and correspondence, and more. If you happen to find someone (or a service) that has both, you’ll just be setting yourself up for better success. However, it’s certainly not mandatory. 

Is it better to hire virtual receptionists?

Today, there is a huge market for virtual receptionists and remote contract workers. However, that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to go. Nor is it the best for everyone. Some people will do well to hire someone to sit at the physical front desk and greet clients, field calls, and handle other office needs. Other agencies and brands will benefit from hiring a remote contractor or virtual receptionist service that can provide all the solutions they need digitally. It’s often a more affordable, comprehensive solution for many companies. 

How much will I spend on a receptionist?

The exact investment you make here will depend on the service or type of receptionist that you choose, whether you hire someone in-house, and if you have to pay any additional costs. Every business will have a different investment here, but you should be able to find plenty of options that are within your budget. Remember also that this is an investment, not an expense, so it’s worth making every time. Work with someone who is transparent about their pricing and services so that you have peace of mind that you’re choosing the right people for the job. 

Where can I find a receptionist?

There are several different places you can look, depending on what type of receptionist you have in mind. Job boards will have postings for people you can hire, or you can search the Internet for independent contractors and receptionist services that are available. If you take the time, you’ll find what you need in more places than you expect. 


Get more from your receptionist solutions when you partner with Smith.ai

You’re in the business of marketing, not taking calls and making appointments. Sure, you might be able to handle these tasks at first, but if your agency grows properly, you’ll soon run out of time and resources. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to cost a lot—when you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you can get full-service receptionist solutions to meet your needs at a cost you can afford. 

We offer 24/7 support for answering calls, live website chat, lead intake and scheduling, Facebook message answering, and so much more. We can even assist with payment collection and other admin duties, and help you craft a strategy to manage it all. When you want a dynamic communications solution, we’ve got it all. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to find out how the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can improve your marketing agency with full-service solutions for all your needs. You will also find 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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