Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

Small businesses and their teams are capable of superhuman feats—but that doesn’t mean they can be everywhere at once. Sometimes even superheroes need backup.

The right part-time virtual receptionist solution can support your business whenever (and however) you need it. Here’s how it works:

What is part-time answering?

More and more businesses are relying solely on virtual receptionists to answer their calls and create meaningful connections with their clients. But not every enterprise needs a full-time customer communication solution. Some already have in-house customer service teams, while others see seasonal fluctuations in call volume.

That’s where part-time answering comes in. Part-time answering gives you on-demand access to professional virtual receptionists whenever you need them—such as after-hours, on holidays, or during meetings. 

Many virtual receptionist providers also refer to this as “part-time forwarding,” as calls are forwarded from the business to the provider.

Certain providers (like Ruby) make it easy for you to create a forwarding schedule to route calls to different numbers throughout the day. This is particularly useful if you work from an office some days and at home other days, have team members on various shifts, or prefer to have after-hours calls directed to your voicemail system.

Best of all, you still get all the benefits that come with a full-time solution. Your virtual receptionists can…

  • Transfer calls to you or members of your team
  • Direct people to relevant information on your website
  • Handle customer service inquiries
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Gather insights about the people you serve
  • Assist with outbound calls
  • Onboard new clients
  • Schedule appointments
  • Qualify new leads
  • Make lasting first impressions
  • And much more!

Delayed call forwarding gives you even more flexibility by allowing you to set specific parameters regarding when the service takes your calls (e.g., after a certain number of rings, or specific times of day). No matter what your needs are, your virtual receptionists are always available to delight callers and capture leads.

Benefits of part-time answering

1. Fewer missed opportunities

Your business might have fixed hours, but customers and clients don’t. A part-time answering solution ensures your customers are greeted by a real, caring professional even if they call after hours, on weekends, or during holidays. 

They can also take calls during peak hours when your in-house team is busy or help them stay focused by insulating them from non-urgent or off-topic calls. 

ringing phone

2. Greater flexibility

With part-time answering, you design the workflow for your specific business. This includes everything from how you forward your calls, your call handling preferences, and in-depth instructions for certain callers.

3. Savings

Hiring a temporary receptionist can cost your business upwards of $26 per hour—not including the time it takes to get them fully up to speed. Part-time answering gives you access to trained and professional virtual receptionists available to cover sick days and vacation time at a fraction of the cost.

Looking for an overflow call solution? Learn about backup answering.

What kinds of organizations use virtual receptionists for part-time answering?

Each business is as unique as the customers they serve. That’s why a custom solution like part-time answering is a great fit for many organizations. These include:

  • Sole proprietors and small teams
  • Medical, law, and financial practices
  • Home services providers such as plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians
  • Marketing agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • And everyone in between

Still unsure how your business can benefit from a part-time virtual receptionist service? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your business have days/hours when no one is available to answer calls?

  • Do you have difficulty finding coverage when employees call in sick or take time off?

  • Is your team struggling to meet customer demands as your organization grows?

  • Are frequent interruptions hindering productivity and collaboration?

  • Is your business adjusting to hybrid work-from-home options or shift schedules?

  • Do you need qualified call handling help right now?

If you answered “yes” to any (or all) of these questions, the right customer communication service can help!

Learn more about how virtual receptionists work to grow your business and delight your customers. Download our guide: