How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your MSP/IT Services Business

Samir Sampat

You’re in the business of helping other people manage their services—you should understand better than most the value of having the right people managing the right things. That includes having a receptionist for your MSP or IT services firm that can deliver the level of service and support that you need. You can’t just hire anyone, though. You need to make sure that you get the best person to fill the gaps that you’re seeing in your communications and your administrative duties. 

As far as that goes, you’ll want to look for someone to fill the gaps in any areas where your MSP or IT services business could be missing the mark. There is a lot that a receptionist can do for your business, and depending on the type of receptionist that you ultimately choose, you may be able to get more than you anticipated out of the investment. 

The key is in choosing the right solution, which is why we’re here. We’ve taken the time to gather the facts that you need to know and the considerations that will impact your decision when it comes to choosing your receptionist. By the time you’re done, you should have a much better idea of how to hire the best person for your business. And that will make it much more beneficial to you and your audience

After all, they’re what matters. And today, the consumer is more demanding than ever when it comes to getting service. They want instant answers, always-available support, and a personalized experience that feels catered to them no matter how much they’re spending. When you enlist in a receptionist today, they need to be able to do more than answer calls. They should be able to deliver premium solutions and act as the face of your business to give people everything that they need. 

The good news is that even if you’re a small business, you can still find plenty of solutions out there today. It is a better time than ever to be a small business, thanks to the Internet. You can find plenty of options in addition to hiring an employee as part of your company when you want someone to field calls, messages, and other client or visitor needs. You can choose an independent contractor, hire someone remotely, or even use a third-party virtual receptionist service to handle your communications and admin needs. 

Ultimately, the choice will be yours. It’s about what you can afford, what your business needs, and what kind of scalability you want for future growth and expansion. Let’s start by talking about what a virtual receptionist is, and why it needs to be an option that’s on your radar. 


Should you consider a virtual receptionist?


We know a lot of companies in the tech industry are looking at the available digital solutions today, including virtual receptionists. Your MSP or IT services company could very well benefit from hiring a virtual assistant to handle all the tasks involved in your business that need a little more attention than you can offer. You can choose to hire someone who works remotely, either on a contract basis or as a remote employee. Or, you can choose to hire a virtual receptionist service that delivers on all of your needs. 

Working with a virtual receptionist does several things. It gives you access to digital solutions that will do more than hiring someone in-house. It also frees up your time and gives you the chance to do more for your business while someone else is handling the details. 


What will a receptionist cost your MSP/IT firm?


Although there’s no single price involved in this investment, you should have an idea of what to expect. For starters, the average receptionist's salary runs between $11 and $14 an hour. In digital and IT services, the best receptionists could earn between $14 and $18 per hour, depending on their expertise and the solutions that they provide. Then, there’s also the cost of hiring, onboarding, and training an employee. Not every business is ready for that investment. 

This is where outsourcing might offer a better solution. It gives you the chance to get more talent for your money. You can generally spend a fraction of the cost of hiring an employee (which grows exponentially when you add in benefits and other details) to outsource a third-party virtual receptionist service that delivers more solutions for less. 

Keep these things in mind when making your decision about who to hire. 


In-house versus outsourcing


In addition to hiring a virtual receptionist, you could also choose to outsource to a contractor or independent receptionist that can deliver the services that you need. There are a lot of options out there today, thanks to technology, and you should take full advantage of them whenever you can. After all, it benefits your company to get the best solutions, even when it’s “just” for a receptionist. 

But that’s just it—it’s never “just”—a receptionist is a critical part of any business. They’re the face of your company, essentially, and normally one of the first lines of communication for many prospects, clients, vendors, partners, and others. Finding the right person, and hiring them in the right capacity, is going to make a big difference. 

Ask yourself things like:

  • Do I need someone working in-house or onsite at all times? It’s not an essential part of business for all companies, so that’s why virtual or outsourcing could be the better option. If you need a receptionist that goes beyond what you can get from an onsite receptionist, or just can benefit more greatly from choosing a virtual service, that’s what you should do. 
  • Do you want to find a better receptionist without having to be limited to the talent that you can find locally (or afford when hiring an individual)? Some virtual receptionist solutions are going to give you access to better talent and solutions than you’d find by hiring an employee. It may not be the right choice for everyone, but it’s great for those who want to get more out of their investment. 
  • What if you don’t have time to micromanage another employee? That’s also a good case for outsourcing to an individual or service that can self-manage and deliver the solutions that you need. There’s a lot to gain here, including the ability to get help that can manage itself and make sure that everything is taken care of in your absence or while you’re handling other tasks. 
  • And then there’s the final consideration: can you afford to hire a full-time onsite receptionist? A salary, plus onboarding costs, plus benefits, can all add up to more than most small businesses can afford. If you’re an MSP or IT services company working with a smaller budget, outsourcing might provide the opportunity to use a receptionist when you can’t afford one otherwise. 


These are just a few things to consider to help you decide where to source your receptionist. By taking the time to look into all of your options, it will be much easier for you to get what you need. The good news is that when you do it right, you can also often get a lot more than you expected. 


Features to look for when hiring your receptionist


Although there’s no hard-and-fast list of skills or qualities that will magically make the “perfect” receptionist for everyone, there are some things that may be more relevant to those in managed services and IT. Think about the obvious skills like communication, organization, and attention to detail. Worry less about specific skills and expertise, and more about hiring someone willing to learn, personable, and able to deliver the solutions you need in a professional, timely manner. 

You’ll want to focus on soft skills and traits like:

  • Personable, professional demeanor
  • Flexibility and adaptability to change
  • Able to build and maintain relationships with clients, vendors, and others
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution skills
  • Ability to work in fast-paced environments 
  • Multitasking skills and ability to switch gears quickly
  • Confidence and take-charge capability
  • Quick learning and able to take control of the communications and admin tasks for you


When you look for things like this, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re working with a receptionist (or team of them) who can deliver the experience and the assistance that your brand needs. It’s better to get someone capable of delivering that level of service than it is to focus on someone with hard skills like software capabilities and other things that you can train people on more easily. 



Roundup: Some FAQs for hiring a receptionist

To close, we want to answer some of the most common questions that people have about hiring administrative and communications support in the modern business world. Some of it summarizes stuff we’ve already covered, and some is new information. In either case, it will certainly assist you in making the best decision. 


When is the right time to hire help?

There is no “right” time to hire a receptionist, or anyone else, for that matter. If you find that your business has a need, it needs to be filled. If you realize that tasks are going undone or not getting done correctly, you might want to invest in a receptionist or other assistance. And of course, if you’re getting complaints from people, you need to address the issue and get help ASAP. 


What about their experience? Do they need an IT background?

You don’t necessarily need to hire a receptionist that has experience in IT or managed services, although that could be a valuable asset to have. It’s not essential, by any means. It’s better to have a receptionist that’s skilled in their duties because you can teach them industry elements if necessary. However, if you want to do less teaching and get more out of your investment, consider adding experience to your list of must-haves. 


What should I look for on resumes or with receptionist services?

There are a lot of different considerations, as we’ve discussed throughout the article. The main thing to consider is the type of services they offer as compared to what you need, and whether they can provide a dynamic, comprehensive solution that doesn’t require a lot of micromanaging on your part. In many cases, that leads to outsourcing being the best option. 


What’s a virtual receptionist? How are they different from remote workers?

Technically, anyone that offers receptionist services via the Internet can call themselves a virtual receptionist—the idea is that they are not onsite. They work remotely and provide their services through the cloud and on shared Internet and software platforms. They can deliver an array of services, and often give you more value for your money than hiring an individual receptionist or contractor. 


Speaking of value, ask how partnering with Smith.ai can give you the best receptionist solution for less


When you partner with the dedicated receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll get everything that you need and spend a lot less: less time, less money, and less effort—all things that you can dedicate back to other areas of your business that need your support when you let someone else handle the calls, messages, and other admin and communications needs. The 24/7 virtual agents at Smith.ai can assist with everything from after-hours calls to Facebook and SMS message answering, live website chat, and even admin tasks like payment collection, scheduling, intake, and more. 

Plus, we’ll collaborate with you to come up with the best strategy to manage all of it, no matter how big or small your needs may be. While you’re taking care of your clients and your business, we’ll take care of all the details and make sure that your visitors never leave dissatisfied. Ask us about all the ways we can help. 

Or, schedule a consultation to discuss the 24/7 virtual receptionist solutions from Smith.ai and how they can change the way you handle your administrative and communications needs. 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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