At first glance, 2021 doesn’t look like the easiest year to embark on a start-up, so if you’ve just taken the plunge and gone into business on your own, there are a range of services and tools available now to help start-ups find their feet and start growing. In this article, we explain the benefits of a virtual receptionist for remote-working start-ups, both during the Covid19 pandemic and beyond:
A central hub, wherever you're working
Unlike many established businesses, who were taken off-guard by the shift to remote working in 2020, home working is what many start-ups do best. With a small team and minimal overheads, a lot of start-ups get by perfectly well with just a mobile phone and a laptop. However, this poses a difficulty coordinating communications when a potential customer tries to get in touch with the business. Customers need a single point of contact, and not half a dozen mobile numbers.
A virtual office receptionist provides a central hub for start-up businesses, ensuring that all calls are fielded in real-time and either transferred to the relevant person immediately, or another appropriate action taken. Depending on the service taken out, your virtual receptionist can take a message and pass it to you by SMS or email, or resolve customer enquiries on your behalf – all the while acting as though they are a part of your business.
This makes it easier for remote-working start-ups to coordinate their sales, marketing, and service delivery efforts while still minimising their business IT and telecoms infrastructure needs.
Lower overheads for new businesses
Every penny counts in a new business, and most start-ups don’t have the capital to employ a dedicated receptionist. The good thing about a virtual receptionist service for start-ups is that it costs a fraction of what it would do to employ someone directly – normally 50% to 60% less; a considerable saving. There is no need to sink time and money into recruitment and training (with all the uncertainty that brings), and no need to purchase IT and telecoms hardware for the receptionist either, as these are all taken care of by your service provider. This lets new businesses get started with a virtual receptionist service from day one, instantly adding professional credibility and weight to the business when dealing with prospective new customers.
Flexibility and availability
Both virtual receptionists and virtual assistants are employed to lighten the load and prevent important calls from being missed. From seasonal uplifts to shifting markets, there are a plethora of reasons why every company occasionally lets a valuable customer slip through the net. For most organisations, the volume of missed calls does not amount to the requirement for an additional member of staff – especially as the cost of this generally outweighs the sales benefits. Instead, it is much more practical and reliable to outsource to a company that specialises in tailor-made assistance services to safeguard incoming calls.
Which is better for my company?
Start-up business owners and entrepreneurs are notorious for the long hours they keep, but even the most passionate business owners need to sleep from time to time. A virtual receptionist service gives you the flexibility to manage your workload and concentrate on the tasks that really matter, while also giving peace of mind that no calls will be missed when you’re not at the desk. Some start-ups find it sufficient to take out virtual reception cover during office hours, or for extra support during busy times. Other businesses benefit from evening or weekend call cover, especially if they are dealing with customers in different time zones. This takes the pressure off start-ups and can avoid the need for your team to work too many antisocial hours – while giving your prospects the real-time customer service and sales support they need when growing the business.
Professional front of house and customer service skills
Start-up teams are usually technical experts in their field, but may not have the breadth of experience or skills in call handling and customer service. This can lead to missed opportunities that a more experienced receptionist could capitalise on. Using a virtual receptionist service gives you access to trained, experienced, and professional call handling staff without the need to take on this role yourself, or invest in training one of your team. Many start-ups experience greater levels of customer retention and lead generation from using a virtual reception service, and continue to use it to support their in-house efforts, even after business expansion. At the same time, having a virtual receptionist take your calls stops your team having to continually interrupt what they’re doing to answer the phone or check emails, leading to increased productivity and faster growth.
Find out more
At Answer4u, we provide a range of scalable virtual receptionist, virtual assistant, and call handling services to UK businesses working in all sectors. For a bespoke plan to suit your start-up, and a service to support you as you grow, have a chat with one of our specialists today.