We get many enquiries in regards virtual receptionist jobs and how to find them. We also get enquiries about how to answer other clients phones and setting up your own virtual reception job service.
To become a virtual receptionist, there are generally 2 options for you.
In this option you work for a company that offers these services to their own clients. You will work as a contractor so you must have a legal business entity to invoice from.
Generally, you are paid for the time you are on a call. The amount you make depends on the number of calls that happen while you are on a shift.
It can be an inconsistent income stream. You definitely need other work to make it feasible.
Working this way is flexible and you roster on when it suits you. If the company offers a 24/7 service to their clients including an emergency service, then you can also work weekends and public holidays. However, you may find the phone quiet during these times. Try and pick times that are within business hours to make sure you earn as much as you can in the shift.
A lot of the virtual reception companies try and balance out the shifts across their receptionists to make it fair and equitable. They may even insist that you take a few of the quieter shifts on a regular basis.
The other point to take into account is that there will be a range of technology to learn depending on the service. A lot of the technology is bespoke. This means they will be quite different from each other. You will probably have to learn a new interface for each.
In addition, if you work for one service it is unlikely that they will be happy for to work with one of their competitors.
Always check before you start working with them. You don’t want to have to give up a client that you are happy working with.
There are plenty of these services available. If you don’t like those listed above, just do a Google Search. Then you can contact each company to see if they are taking on call operators and compare them to see which offers the best package.
Also ask if you need to do any “sales” or telemarketing. You may not be prepared to do these type of calls.
You may be asked to do a test on comprehension and on answering a few difficult enquiries to see how professional you are in handling issues. Also to see if you can follow the instructions for each client on the system.
Remember that commiting to be available by telephone means that you have a professional environment when you are answering the phones. The client won’t be happy if you have children playing in the background or a noisy shopping centre.
Make sure you are willing to restrict your movements during the time you are on shift. You need to be available to answer calls first and foremost.
If you aren’t busy, you can certainly work on other work at the same time. This means that you won’t be paid for the time you aren’t answering calls. If you can match this downtime with other client work then great.
Many new virtual assistants see answering calls as an easy service to offer and do. They assume that answering calls on behalf of their clients is something that most virtual assistants do. This is not the case.
It doesn’t take long for the VAs to realise that agreeing to answer calls can be a pain in the bum for them.
Clients are unwilling to pay much yet the VA has to carry their phone around with them in case a call comes in. Needless to say, especially if you have children, the phone will ring right at that minute when your 2 year old decides to express their extreme displeasure about something or other.
In addition, because clients are paying you for the call, they expect all calls to be answered and not to be left to go to voice mail. Then they start to question the cost and time you are on calls. It becomes messy and hardly worth it. One client you can manage, more than one client then you have to bring in better technology that can do the behind the scenes work for you.
Certainly, offering call answering services to your top client only may be a good way to show them special consideration.
This is where you hire or buy in the technology you need to identify calls that are made to your individual clients. You would answer calls on behalf of several clients using a virtual PBX system with a hunt group option.
The system would tell you who the call is being made to. You can answer the call on their behalf as if you are on their team. You can also bring up enquiry forms for that client and forward the message to them on the system. Some systems you can even transfer calls and do other nifty functions.
There are certainly plenty to choose from these days but make sure you do your due diligence. Test the system out before committing to any long term contracts.
Some of these services can either give you VOIP lines to make calls or forward calls to your mobile or landline. They can even give you an actual phone set or softphone (or both).
As your business grows you can also bring on more operators to help you cover the time you need to answer the calls. This is why you need the hunt option. The system will literally hunt the numbers to find the operator who is available to answer the call.
With this type of business you need to be available to your clients. At the same time make sure you can offer a high quality service. You will also need to answer calls. Not send them to voice mail very often.
I suggest that you keep a record of voice-mail calls. Then provide a report to your client on why the call went to voice mail. You can also include any follow up action you took on their behalf.
It is also a good idea to have an emergency call procedure in place. One your client has agreed to.
Some of the companies that offer a virtual PBX currently are Intermedia, Grasshopper, Ringcentral.
In fact PC Magazine did a great comparison in one of their editions last year (2018). Click on the heading below to view.
There are things to consider with both options. Certainly you can start small with 1 client with a different ringtone set on your smart phone for your redirection. You will then know the call is for the client. You could also use a Skype In Number for the client that can ring on your phone as well.
If you feel that it is something you can do for more than one client, then look at option 2. Set up a professional system that will identify each clients number. You will then provide those extra bells and whistles that you will need and clients will expect.
I won’t go into the issues surrounding bringing on extra help in this article. I encourage you to have a chat with us first. It won’t cost you anything but it will definitely save you time and money and heartache – click here to schedule a chat.
This checklist will help you do the right things in the right order and also give you a record of all your
important information for safe keeping in the one place.