Remote Receptionists: What Do They Do & How Much Do They Cost?

Sean Lund-Brown

Today’s companies are finding themselves in need of more outsourced services than ever before. Thanks to technology, these solutions are readily available. Remote receptionists are becoming a preferred choice for those who want to have dynamic phone services without having to dedicate in-house staff to the task. Just who are these virtual agents, though, and what kind of services can they provide? More importantly, how much cash are you going to have to fork out for these specialty providers?

The short answer: Virtual receptionists can do just about everything you need, and they’re more affordable than you think.

Throughout this article, we’ll discuss the remote receptionist, including their job role, available services and solutions, and how they are an investment, not an expense. We’ll show you just how affordable they can be, including examples of the packages available from our very own team of virtual receptionists at Smith.ai.

What is a remote receptionist?

A remote, or virtual, receptionist is in a different location than the company or organization for which they are taking calls. Here's how receptionists can take calls for a business remotely:

  1. People call the business number.
  2. The call will be automatically forwarded to the remote receptionist or receptionist service.
  3. A receptionist will answer the call with your business' custom greeting, creating the feeling that they are actually sitting in your office.
  4. Once needs are determined, the agent will resolve the issue or forward the call to the appropriate employee.

Basically, a remote receptionist is answering calls in exactly the same way an in-house receptionist would. If you don't currently have a receptionist, and you're answering your own calls, a receptionist service can take the work of fielding phone calls off of your hands in the same way. These services are completely customizable, which means that you can scale them to fit your business' needs. Read on to learn more about what virtual receptionists can do for your company and why it’s best to consider outsourcing to dedicated remote agents.

What can remote receptionists do?

The reason that so many companies are turning to this option is that it offers everything from standalone answering services to full-service receptionist solutions. Plus, you can choose from a variety of customizable plans designed to fit the needs of your specific business.

This receptionist can handle many of the same functions and tasks as your in-house staff, including taking incoming calls, recording messages, call transferring, and even making outbound calls, assisting with scheduling, and more. These agents can take the burden off of your business so that you can focus your efforts on client satisfaction, future growth, and other areas that need your attention.

Virtual receptionists can take care of things like:

  • Inbound sales, marketing, and customer service calls
  • Outbound sales, marketing, and lead nurture calls
  • Lead screening and qualification
  • Taking messages
  • Providing standardized information to clients
  • Transferring calls to the right party
  • Making follow-up calls and taking notes
  • Scheduling and appointment setting
  • Payment collection with credit card software integration
  • Spam call blocking and VIP pass-throughs
  • Text answering by live agents and AI
  • And more!

The role of the remote receptionist is varied and dynamic. They can essentially handle all of your phone communications, whether you have a single phone line in your small business or you have a multiline system that includes 100 phones. There’s no job too big or small, and they can even help create systems that will grow with your company over time.

That’s a big perk for people who are looking to improve their operations. Not only will virtual receptionists take care of all of your communication needs, but they can help your business improve in other areas of the client experience, as well.

Remote vs. in-house receptionists: The benefits of outsourcing

When it comes to deciding what’s best for your business, you have several things to consider. The choice between using remote agents and in-house staff for reception and customer service is all about figuring out what’s best for your business. Despite all the technology available in the world today, most clients will still prefer to speak with a live person.

You need the human element. It’s not a question. Your only choice is whether you use in-house or outsourced remote receptionists. Let’s look at some of the benefits that come with choosing to go the remote route.

  • Your calls still have that personal connection, offering a friendly voice and a compassionate touch. This is what clients today are looking for — that personal connection with the brands that they choose. Remote services allow you to do that without a huge investment of time or resources.
  • Callers get the attention that they deserve, and maybe even more than they might get from your own staff. It’s not your team’s fault — everyone is busy. Most companies are short-staffed and overbooked. When you choose remote support, that takes one more thing off your plate.
  • You won’t have to hire or train employee(s) to do the work. The only thing you’ll pay for is the time spent on calls and the services provided by the remote company. This cuts down on onboarding, training, and overhead costs related to labor and other employee expenses.
  • Remote receptionists can handle client calls and demands outside of your traditional business hours. You no longer have to hope that people will leave a message so that you can get back to them the next day. With virtual services, you will be able to staff your company 24/7 with the agents that you need.
  • When you are trying to increase client loyalty, the first step is better service. The key to that is the human connection we mentioned above and when you always have live receptionists available for your clients, you can provide that dedicated connection that will increase satisfaction rates and loyalty.
  • You can provide custom instructions for every single type of call that comes in, allowing you to forward important calls, take messages for calls that can wait, and even allow them to answer questions about your products or services once they have your permission to speak on your behalf.
  • These agents will be flexible and adaptable. They will be able to provide the same knowledge and professionalism, or better, than what you would get from having receptionists on staff. They should be capable of understanding your business well enough to handle adapting to its changing needs over time, as well.

What features should I look for?

Remote receptionist services offer several similar features, but they also have some variations on what they can do. It will be important for you to find what it is that you’re looking for, but you should always stick to answering services that include the following critical features:

Live answering — We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. People like talking to people. Even with all the technology available today, you need receptionist services that offer live answering by real agents. This adds a layer of professionalism with that personal touch that your clients demand. It also allows you to create custom greetings and call handling guidelines.

Message services — It’s a fundamental service, but it’s one that’s often overlooked. Taking messages is one of the most basic forms of virtual reception services. Your remote receptionist company can handle taking caller information, including their contact details and why they are calling, and then passing messages along to the right parties.

Appointment scheduling — Several virtual receptionist services also offer integrated appointment scheduling and calendar tools. This can help schedule appointments within your own specified parameters for time and location, and you’ll even be alerted when a new appointment is made. There are several different features of this service and it can be integrated with all kinds of other software.

Call transfer and patching — These receptionists will be able to route calls directly to the right party, or to a specific number that is outlined in your service agreement. They will handle all call transfers and ensure that people who need immediate assistance, get it.

Response time — Today’s clients don’t want to wait. In fact, 13% say no hold time is acceptable, while nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed said they will only wait 2 minutes or less before hanging up. When you choose remote receptionists, you can trust that they will always be available to answer the call, transfer it effectively, and keep response times as quick as possible.

Availability — Can you afford to hire enough staff to have them available when your clients need them? The best virtual receptionist services offer fully customizable service schedules, including 24/7 availability so that your clients never have to go without the answers or assistance that they need. Often, these services provide much better availability at a fraction of the cost.

Proper agent training — The entire point of outsourcing to remote receptionists is that you are giving the job to people who are experienced and properly trained. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a company that trains employees well, both in the hiring phase and as an ongoing practice. If the company is going to be your clients’ first line of contact, they must be the best.

As many as 75% of people calling your business will immediately hang up if they’re connected to voicemail. Even if these features aren’t enough to sell you, that fact alone should be proof that you need remote receptionist solutions that are available whenever a client needs something.

Smith.ai is your remote receptionist solution

Our virtual receptionist team has been leading the industry in providing North America-based remote support for businesses of all kinds. We set up our virtual services to appear as the face of your business, with your clients never knowing they’re not reaching you first. Plus, virtual agents can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering solutions like:

  • Customized plans to handle all incoming calls, outbound calls only, overflow, or any other needs.
  • Follow-ups, work status updates, and appointment reminders via outbound calls.
  • Lead qualification and client intake solutions from our integrated CRM options.
  • Payment collection and integrated credit card processing.
  • New text answering services now available to help capture leads and serve clients who contact you via text message.
  • Affordable per-call pricing with plans starting at just $210 and month-to-month service with no contracts, fees, or long-term commitments.
  • Risk-free start with a 14-day money-back guarantee

While a traditional receptionist is available during office hours, a virtual agent or team of agents can be available at all times. They can even work weekends to keep up with  busy clients who can’t reach out during the week. This ensures that you never miss an opportunity to deliver stellar service or land a sale.

We offer a team of live agents that can be trained to act as receptionists for your company specifically, like an extension of your existing team. We do have some AI integrations and technology additions, but the biggest focus is our humans: trained, experienced receptionists who can field any and all calls that come their way.

If you’re ready to step up your phone communications and streamline your day-to-day operations, remote receptionists might be just what you need. Contact the team at Smith.ai to discuss your situation and see how we can create a customized solution that suits the needs of your business. Whether you need basic overflow assistance or a full-service receptionist solution, we’ve got you covered. Call us now to schedule your consultation.

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