What kinds of businesses use virtual receptionists?

There’s one defining feature of businesses that use virtual receptionists: they have customers.

Yes, that’s practically every business. And it’s true that almost any business can benefit from using virtual receptionists to connect with callers and website visitors. That said, some businesses are better suited to it than others. In many cases, it’s a matter of size as well as industry, specialty, and customer needs.

In broad terms, small and growing service-oriented businesses often benefit the most from using virtual receptionists.

These kinds of businesses include:

  • Small law firms and solo legal practices
  • Home services providers such as roofers and plumbers
  • Tax advisors, accountants, and other financial professionals
  • Healthcare providers such as doctors’ offices, dentists, and orthodontists

Here’s what you need to know about the kinds of businesses that use virtual receptionists:

What businesses are the right size for virtual receptionists?

Not all businesses are at the same stage or need when it comes to outsourcing customer communication. Some businesses are so large they perform all reception work in-house, and some are so small they can roughly manage their handful of customers by themselves.

But for businesses in between, using a virtual receptionist solution is often the wisest choice. As with most new business developments, it all comes down to strategic timing. Certain businesses might not be ready for virtual receptionist services just yet, but may be ready for them next year.

As a business grows, its customer service team may quickly find that they are in need of assistance to meet the increasing demand of callers. Virtual receptions can provide a perfect solution for organizations looking to match the growing scale of its callers while sidestepping the need to onboard new in-house customer service staff members.

Virtual receptionists bolster the perception that a small business is established and reliable—because callers never know they aren’t speaking directly with the business itself. After hours, 24/7/365 customer service and backup answering can send a powerful message regarding the level of care and attention that a smaller business is willing to dedicate to their callers.

How service-oriented small businesses use virtual receptionists

For small businesses who offer consulting or technical services, virtual receptionists can help them maintain or grow their business by engaging with every caller, whether they’re an existing client or potential new one.

For service-oriented small businesses, a virtual receptionist can quickly answer frequently asked questions regarding hours, availability, and types of services offered. Virtual receptionists can also help clarify a business’s unique offerings and value propositions by utilizing tailored, pre-written talking points. With the right tools, virtual receptionists can serve as an extension of the business when other staff members are unavailable to speak with callers.

In short, a virtual receptionist can represent a business the exact way that an in-house staff member would. All without the need for employee training.

How lawyers and law firms use virtual receptionists

Guide to legal outsourcing: illustration of two lawyers talking

In many ways, virtual receptionist solutions almost feel like they were built with lawyers in mind. Bustling legal offices and solo practitioners alike benefit from the fact that virtual receptionists never miss an important call, even while they are in court or consulting with a client. Some virtual receptionists can also perform new client intake, vital for busy attorneys to have important information readily available.

No matter the size or scale of a law firm, virtual receptionists can help legal professionals prioritize their casework and increase their number of billable hours.

A few key services that a virtual receptionist can provide for solo practitioners and law firms alike include:

  • Answering phones, routing calls, taking messages, and fielding after-hours calls
  • Screening calls before booking appointments
  • Bilingual communication
  • Confirming appointments and details collected from clients
  • Accepting payments for consultation fees

Most importantly, when a person calls a law firm, they expect a present and professional voice on the other end of the line. Not every legal professional has the time and bandwidth to provide these callers with the level of care and support expected from a virtual receptionist.

As many in the legal industry rely on qualifying new leads and positive word of mouth to develop their base of clients, a positive first impression built on establishing trust and competency is key for transforming callers into clients.

How home services businesses use virtual receptionists

Home services providers such as roofers, plumbers, landscapers, and electricians widely use virtual receptionist services so that they can remain focused at job sites knowing that current and new customers are being engaged with and tended to.

While some of these businesses opt for low-cost “answering services,” such services offer only a fraction of what virtual receptionists can provide. Unlike virtual receptionists, answering services don’t specialize in creating great experiences for callers. They simply pick up the phone… and callers’ experiences often suffer as a result.

There’s no shortage of answering services for plumbers, HVAC technicians, and similar professionals. (A Google search for “roofers answering service,” for example, turns up more than 48 million results.) That can make it a challenge for home services businesses to make the right choice for themselves and the people they serve.

After all, it’s vital for home services providers to ensure people who contact their businesses receive friendly, informed, empathetic service. And that starts with the first moment of contact.

Around-the-clock-coverage is also of particular importance for home service businesses, as clients can often call with a time-sensitive emergency. These callers need immediate reassurance that they will be able to receive assistance. And because many home service providers are constantly on the move, a virtual receptionist may be necessary to connect callers with the right professionals at a moment’s notice.

How healthcare providers use virtual receptionists

Healthcare providers are often notorious for crowded waiting rooms and slow service. Because no matter who you are, you will need medical attention at some point in your life. Therefore, doctor’s offices, dentist’s offices, and even veterinarians can often be overwhelmed with patients who need to schedule appointments weeks or even months in advance while also accounting for emergency visits.

Virtual receptionists can help alleviate some of the pressure that administrators may feel working at a healthcare provider by being able to:

  • Schedule patient appointments over the phone
  • Call and remind patients of upcoming appointments
  • Cover the cancellation or rescheduling of patient appointments
  • Take calls from patients and pharmacies regarding prescriptions or lab work
  • Take after hours emergency calls
  • Perform new patient intake
  • Provide HIPAA-compliant service

In addition to calls from patients and their families, administrators and the customer support staff working at healthcare providers often experience calls from insurance representatives, pharmaceutical companies, and medical equipment providers. These positions not only require a high level of organization and attention to detail, but also respect and compassion for those experiencing a medical emergency.

With the proper information at their disposal, virtual receptionists can help provide much-needed support to these high-stress, high-stakes environments. All while never losing their compassion or composure.

Should your business use a virtual receptionist service?

If you run a business and you’re not sure whether virtual receptionists are the right fit, consider the following questions:

  • Are you receiving more calls than you or your team can handle?
  • Does customer experience impact your ability to gain and retain customers or clients?
  • Has unavailability or lackluster customer service negatively affected your company’s reputation?
  • Are you looking for ways to grow your business through word-of-mouth and referrals?

If the answer to any or all of these questions is “yes,” your business might be precisely the kind of company that should use virtual receptionists.