It is a bit brutal but there are questions that I am often asked about virtual reception services and they boil down to – what am I paying for?
Keep in mind that virtual receptionists are not robots or computers. They are people.
1. Why do I have to pay if I decide to take some time off work and answer calls myself?
When you sign up for a virtual reception service you will see there is a minimum monthly fee. This allows the service to cover staff wages and items such as National insurance, pensions, sick pay, holiday pay. You really are getting a bargain because you are paying a fraction of those costs.
2. How do the team know it’s my business getting a call?
When a call comes in it pops up information about the business onto a monitor. This holds the information you have given us and is formatted so that the information is easy for us to find. So fees are always in the same place, directions etc. Which leads neatly to the next question :
3. Why do I sign up for a minimum period?
We spend a lot of time formatting you information, and we don’t charge for that time directly, but we do have to recoup it and we would hope to do that over the first 3 months. If you change you information – change prices or a new member of staff – we will update the information but it might take some time. Again we don’t charge for that unless you are constantly sending a change of instruction.
4. What happens if I don’t get any calls?
We would charge you the minimum tariff fee. But there is another point here. If you have a lot of information to be collected, or a complex diary booking we need to get some practice. So 1 or 2 calls per week doesn’t really give us much opportunity to learn your calls. We will direct the calls to a small number of receptioists but that might reduce the chace of the calls getting answered.
5. Does EVERY call get answered?
That is a statement that requires investigation. Humans are creatures of habit. Our clients calls peak on particular days and at particular times of day. Also particular times of the year! We match staff numbers to expected traffic but there will always be some that miss. Our policy is to keep customers on hold for only 10 seconds and then send them to voicemail. If they leave a voicemail we will call them back. If they hang up we don’t charge for the call. But “every call answered?” – I direct you back to the first question. You would need to have far more staff than would be economically viable. In your own office or clinic you will know that an in house receptionist doesn’t get every call, or – come to think of it – you, on your own personal phone.