What is a virtual answering service?
Virtual phone answering service is a set of answering services aimed at providing your customers with the best experience by promptly answering their calls and connecting them to the correct and appropriate specialist who will help them resolve their issues and ask their questions. And while a professional virtual phone answering service does sound a lot like a live answering service, there is of course a significant difference between them.
Virtual answering service vs. live answering service.
So, what is the difference between the two? Well, the main difference is that a virtual phone receptionist is never a part of your in-house team — it is always a remote service that a business hires in order to be able to save resources and time of their in-house team. Virtual customer service and answering service teams can take on a lot of tasks. And while phone answering is a given, they also have to work very closely with other members of your team to know which professional deals with which task and who can take care of each specific customer. They can also set appointments, provide customer service, transfer calls and even capture leads if the client requires so.
Call answering according to the script, taking the message for any member of the team, providing after hours answering service, making sure that customers talk to the most experienced virtual receptionist and provide other call center duties — that is the list of their responsibilities. They just do it remotely from your team.
How does virtual answering service work?
A virtual answering service is a cloud-based or online answering service where inbound calls can be answered by an automatic system or by a virtual phone assistant. These calls are further processed and distributed among the members of the team in accordance with the severity of the inquiry, the field of professionals’ expertise and the experience of every team member.
As was already mentioned, virtual office answering service can come in different forms — from an answering machine that would record the incoming calls that would later be sorted out by a live operator, assistant or a receptionist to a virtual answering service professional who would deal with your customers’ inquiries right on the spot.
In general a remorse virtual answering service team can cover anything your business may need without putting additional strain on your existing resources. And the more experienced is the virtual assistant phone answering service provider, the better the quality of the service is going to be — naturally.
What can virtual answering services do for your business?
Interactive voice response (IVR)
IVR is a technology that allows a customer to communicate with a business’ computer-operated phone system using keypads to input their answers and ‘communicate’ with the machine. Having an IVR installed allows businesses to virtually always be online and provide virtual answering service even when far out of business hours or when there is no operator available to pick up the phone.
Interactive voice response is going to help businesses display their care for a customer without overloading the teams with the need to work around the clock and without the need to hire additional professionals to the team.
Virtual answering services can accommodate the customers by taking their messages after and during business hours and subsequently delivering them to the professional responsible for the matter. This way, questions and inquiries will also get transferred to the appropriate specialist and will not form any backlog that would get in the way of the business’ smooth operation and service.
When leaving a message is not enough for a customer, the virtual answering service will forward their call to an appropriate professional who will help the customer to the fullest extent possible and ensure a high customer satisfaction KPI.
After hours virtual phone answering service
After hours virtual answering service is especially needed by businesses, operating internationally as their customer base never sleeps. And how can a business take calls from customers from Brazil and China at the same time? Only with after hours virtual answering service. This cool answering service will make sure that every user gets the same royal treatment they deserve.
Virtual phone assistant (virtual telephone receptionist)
Virtual assistant answering service will surely take a load off of any schedule. An assistant will take messages and can also answer the most frequently asked questions which will ultimately result in both — high customer satisfaction KPI (the customers get their answers almost instantly) and higher productivity level of the team (they are not going to waste their time to answer the questions that do not require any expertise and special knowledge).
Virtual answering service for small businesses — do I need it?
Hiring a virtual answering service company might be a tough decision, especially for small businesses on a budget. But nevertheless, it is important to understand whether your business requires a virtual answering service. In order to do that, a business owner simply needs to answer the following questions:
- Does the inbound communication with your customers tend to pile up?
- Do your customers have to listen to a voicemail before they can leave a message or talk to a professional?
- Does your team effortlessly deal with incoming calls?
- Do you have difficulties answering and processing all incoming calls?
- Does communication with your customers get in the way of your business processes?
- Do you have a high call volume on a regular basis?
Answering all these questions and putting together your needs will help any business understand its needs and priorities when it comes to virtual answering services and their effect on a business.
What businesses will need virtual answering services even more in the upcoming years?
Being in the market for more than a decade, we at SupportYourApp have worked with a lot of companies that needed to set up and maintain virtual answering services. But, with the world constantly changing, it is only fair to say that with time more and more businesses are going to face the need for this type of answering services. So, what industries will look for virtual receptionists more and more?
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a lot of pain points within the healthcare systems all around the globe. An overload with patients and concerned citizens has put a real strain on every system imaginable. And while it is difficult to say how much of an increase the medical office saw since the start of the pandemic, it is easy to imagine the impact that the need to answer phones and talk to the people has had on both — medical teams and the answering services teams.
In the future, medical offices are going to seek these types of services more and more because they will need to lower the pressure on their existing answering service teams.
What will medical offices need:
- A team with basic medical knowledge and high language level.
- Quick, empathetic and patient responses.
- HIPAA compliance.
- Secure data systems.
Lawyers and attorneys
Some lawyers and attorneys have long adopted virtual answering services. They help them get messages and questions from their customers and get to them with answers in the shortest amount of time. Taking into consideration that the services of these professionals can be required at any time of day and night, it is easy to predict that they are only going to increase their level of usage when it comes to virtual answering service.
What do lawyers’ and attorneys’ offices need:
- GDPR compliance.
- Teams trained at handling sensitive information.
- 24/7 service.
- Speed and reliability.
As we have already mentioned, small businesses are all about saving their resources as much as they can. After all, the more time, money and human resources they save, the faster they can grow, scale and develop. And virtual answering services with their flexibility is just a perfect solution for those who want to save as much as they can. And we at SupportYourApp are happy to be a part of their journey.
What do small businesses need:
- Flexibility and adaptability.
- The possibility to unsubscribe from the features they do not need.
- A team that can scale fast.