How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Software or SaaS Company

Sean Lund-Brown

Communications are a big part of every business. In the ever-changing world of software and digital technology, it’s even more critical to have a solution in place that guarantees your clients, vendors, prospects, and others are all getting the services and solutions that they need. Plus, you have to deliver them in a flexible, efficient manner that works for everyone—out with the old and in with the new, as usual. 

For example, you’ll need to embrace a wholly omnichannel marketing and communications strategy. That means rather than just using one or two different channels, you’ll use them all, or as many of them as are relevant to your business. 

If you’re a SaaS provider, you should understand the value of service more than most. It’s in your name, after all—Software as a Service. While you’re delivering the software services, make sure that you have the right person (or people) in place to deliver communications, administrative solutions, and other services that your audience may need. Of course, what’s “right” for you isn’t going to be the same as what’s right for another company. In this blog, we’ll help you dig into the particulars of hiring a receptionist so that you can find the best solution for your software or SaaS company. 


What can you expect to spend on a tech-savvy receptionist?


In general, receptionists in the U.S. earn about $10-$14 per hour. Of course, you might spend a little more if you want someone with software or technology expertise. Right now, if you search for “SaaS receptionist salary”, you’ll find a range of rates from $14 per hour all the way up to $19 per hour, or more, depending on the level of experience and other factors involved.

Of course, then you also have to add in the overhead of having an employee: physical or virtual office space and equipment, the hiring, training, and onboarding costs (currently around $4K in the U.S. to hire a single employee), benefits, and so forth. Sometimes, it’s all too much, even for a company with bigger needs. That’s where outsourcing can come in handy. Usually, for a fraction of what you’d spend on a salary, you can get a qualified SaaS or software receptionist that will deliver on everything that you need. 

If you do outsource, consider how you can budget your money best. Make sure that you get as much customization as you can and choose whether you’ll want to have a single receptionist or if you’ll outsource to a virtual receptionist company that provides a team of dynamic agents to be the face of your brand. 

Let’s talk more about that. 


Outsourcing versus hiring receptionists


If you do need a full-time receptionist or someone that is on your payroll, by all means, you should hire them right away. However, if you have realized that it’s not necessary for you to have someone on staff or that you don’t have the means to afford them, you will want to reconsider. Although we’ve touched on them generally, here are the specific things you’ll want to think about when you are deciding how to proceed:

  • Do you need a receptionist full-time (or even part-time) that is part of your company? For many businesses today, it’s an investment well made. For others, it’s just not necessary, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in an employee like this. 
  • Are you able to manage and delegate tasks to a receptionist? Again, you may not have the means to handle the responsibility that comes with hiring an employee. There’s nothing wrong with that; it just means that you would be wise to consider outsourcing or going a different route. For the best odds, choose a virtual receptionist service that can manage itself and keep you apprised along the way. 
  • Can you afford a receptionist? Sometimes, software companies just can’t afford the budget for an in-house employee. That’s when hiring virtually or choosing to contract out the service is the best way to go. You can usually get a lot more solutions for a fraction of what you’d spend to hire someone for your business. 
  • Do you want more services for less, and better talent? Outsourcing or hiring virtually allows you to access a wealth of talent that you won’t find locally. By taking advantage of that, you’ll be able to get more out of your investment when you want to get the best receptionist available. Plus, you might even be able to find a team with software or SaaS expertise for a lot less than hiring someone, too. 


The perks of hiring a receptionist


In the technology sector, there are several advantages to having a receptionist, starting with the obvious. Tech people aren’t exactly known for their people skills. Not only that, but your “techies” have other work to do. Your sales team needs to be selling. Your service team needs to be serving. The receptionist that you hire will act as the face of your company and sit on the front lines to field every call, message, and need and route it appropriately.

In addition to answering the phone and handling other communications, receptionists can help your software or SaaS company by:

  • Routing and directing calls, messages, inquiries, and other communications to the appropriate person and saving the go-betweens
  • Handle social media sites and messaging, along with building your online presence in the social media world
  • Improve your online branding and image in general while delivering a higher level of service to your audience 
  • Maintain the physical and virtual office space, files, and other elements of your business
  • Build, maintain, and grow relationships with clients, vendors, contractors, and others to ensure that your firm has a solid reputation 
  • Schedule meetings, appointments, and consultations for your sales team, marketing team, and others
  • Manage day-to-day office tasks and ensure that everything stays organized 

The list could go on and on, but this is a good start to show you just what you can gain from working with a receptionist. If you hire someone with software expertise, they might be able to do even more, keeping you from having to field calls and messages unless they’re directly related to a sale or require a higher level of understanding. 

Hard skills and experience in the receptionist position are going to be helpful, but other factors should be on your list when you’re picking out your receptionist solution, as well. 


How to choose the right receptionist for your company


As we mentioned, someone who has experience with tech or software could be a great starting point. This is an industry where it’s always going to be more beneficial to get someone with existing expertise. It’s not a dealbreaker if the other qualities add up, of course, but it should be on your mind. 

You will also want to consider the person or service and the soft skills or features that you find. For example, hiring someone with a friendly, personable demeanor is going to be far more important than someone who knows all the shortcuts to Excel by heart. Here are some other features to look for when you’re sourcing the receptionist you need. 

  • Multitasking ability and capability to switch gears quickly
  • Quick learner with confidence to take control and take charge
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution skills 
  • Flexible and adaptable 
  • Personable, yet professional
  • Committed to delivering the best solutions for your business
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Organizational skills and ability to handle a lot of little details

As you can see, there’s a lot more to hiring the right receptionist than just choosing someone who can answer the phones with a smile. Keep these things in mind so that you can get the ideal person for the job. Often, these features will be easier (or more affordable) to find when you choose to work with a third-party virtual receptionist service. If that’s not the right path for you, however, it doesn’t matter how much you’ll save. 

Think about what your software or SaaS company needs and factor these elements in from there. 


FAQs: Hiring the right receptionist 

Now that we’ve covered a little bit of everything, let’s home in on the questions that matter. In case we missed anything, or just to recap, here are some common questions that people have when it comes to hiring a receptionist for their software company. 


When should I start looking for a receptionist?

There’s never a wrong time to hire a receptionist. If you have the need, start looking as soon as possible. That way, you can figure out which solution will be best to make the right investment in your company. If your software company just sits around and waits for too many people to complain, or until it’s the “right time” to hire someone, you could lose big. As soon as it becomes apparent, find a solution that works. 


Can I hire a remote receptionist that’s still my employee?

Yes, you can choose to hire someone as a W-2 (payroll) employee and still have them work remotely, provided that they accept the position in that capacity. The pandemic has made it easy for employees to work from anywhere, and it could be an affordable way to get a good receptionist when you don’t want to bring someone “in-house” physically. 


How do I get someone who can handle it all for me?

If you don’t even have the time to hire someone that requires being managed and assisted, you could choose to outsource to a third-party virtual receptionist service. They will be able to deliver the dynamic solutions that you need and ensure that all of your communications and admin tasks are handled properly while you’re taking care of the rest of your business. This is also a way to get better talent and solutions for less than it costs to hire an employee. 


How much will a receptionist cost?

There’s not a single cost here—a lot of factors go into determining what you pay. As we mentioned, you’ll probably spend $14-$19 per hour if you hire someone in-house. However, you can also pay hourly rates or set fees when you outsource to a contractor or third-party virtual receptionist service. Focus more on what services you’re getting for the money and which solution makes the best sense for your company. 


What’s the most important feature to look for in a software receptionist?

This is a good question, but the short answer is that there isn’t one—there isn’t just one single feature, that is, that outranks the rest. A software receptionist, like someone in any industry, needs to be friendly, organized, motivated, and able to communicate effectively with people. They should also have any relevant industry experience that will help them be better in their role. Right now, it’s probably best to highlight skills like adaptability and flexibility, because these roles are ever-changing. 


Make sense of your receptionist needs with the assistance of Smith.ai 


If you’re tired of trying to figure it all out, we’ve got good news: you don’t have to. The dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can provide all the solutions that you need, from after-hours call answering and live website chat to Facebook message answering, and even scheduling, payment collection, and plenty of other solutions. 

We work with companies big and small, from all kinds of industries, and have a special place in our heart for software, SaaS, and tech companies that need a helping hand in the receptionist department. Ask us how we can help you create a dynamic strategy that keeps your business moving, no matter what you need. And ask how we can do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure your audience never misses a thing.

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do as the face of your brand. You can also reach 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.

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