“Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.”
– The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann
This quote perfectly describes the value of customer service in a way that directly impacts a business owner; their livelihood.
There is an underlying misconception when trying to grow a business that “the next big sale” is the secret sauce to get you to the next level. While that certainly helps, it is actually your current clients who are going to take you there. Keeping them happy with unbelievable customer service is the real not-so-secret sauce to long-run success.
The wonderful thing about the world we live in today is that you have the choice to give that level of service for a cost that is surprisingly less than you think – and a virtual reception service will help get you there.
Not only will a virtual receptionist help you excel at customer service, but they’ll give you back the time, funds, and energy you need to grow your business beyond your wildest dreams.
Let’s explore this in detail.
A virtual receptionist gives you time to do more
Time is the most valuable commodity for a business owner because you can never get it back. A virtual receptionist is a simple and quick solution that immediately gives you a return on investment. Imagine a new day-to-day routine where you can dedicate a few hours to your financial strategy because you’re not interrupted by the phone ringing. What if you decided to take a day with a social media expert to build a new campaign? Now you can because your virtual receptionist allows you to be unavailable for the day, but not your business. You could also take a Friday afternoon out of the office and spend it with your family. Is that not why you started a business in the first place – to have more freedom?
Own your schedule; don’t be owned by it. A virtual receptionist is a great first step to get you back in control of your time.
A virtual receptionist can increase your income immediately
A virtual reception service is a fraction of the cost of hiring someone, savings upwards of 70%. This may be a deciding factor on it’s own, but it is not the only thing to consider.
The more important factor to think about is your business’s new ability to handle a higher volume of client requests. Did you know 75% of callers who reach a voicemail will either not leave a message or call the next company in their search.
That is a scary stat.
Answering the first time and making sure it’s a person who answers, increases your new lead opportunities instantly. The more leads you capture the more it boosts your conversions, which ultimately results in more sales.
A virtual receptionist takes care of your customer the first time
Based on recent data from Salesforce, 91% of customers will leave a brand they are unhappy with without complaining and 76% of those customers now say it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere. With so many choices for consumers today, and the ease of switching, consistency in experience with a company is critical.
Having a professionally trained virtual reception team always available allows you to bring that consistency in on a daily basis. Everything from the time it takes to pick up the phone, tone when answering, and the desire to help really changes the game for your business.
When talking about pick-up time, our customer data tells us you have 30 seconds before irritation sets in for a caller. As a business owner there is no way for you to maintain that service standard let alone track it. A good virtual receptionist service thrives on this metric because it lets you (the customer) know if they are winning or losing.
The greeting when you answer is all about the tone and making sure it is inviting and friendly. Have we not all had that moment when you hear your phone ring while working on another project and become immediately frustrated that you have to take it.
In that instant, without even realizing it your company’s reputation is on the line, literally, and you’re taking the call while you’re annoyed. How do you see that call playing out?
A virtual receptionist on the other hand is only focused on the call and making sure it’s a pleasant experience. You’re hiring an expert team to take care of your clients and that will take your business to the next level.
A great virtual receptionist should have a high emotional intelligence; this will allow them to cater their effort to the needs of the client. Some clients want quick and fast answers while others need to feel their way into the call to establish trust. This is where the desire to help comes into play. Every call matters to your business and your virtual receptionist should have the same attitude as you.
A virtual receptionist can take your business to the next level by helping you prioritize your time and get more control over your schedule. They help you reduce front staff costs while increasing sales. Most importantly a great virtual receptionist will give you the ease of mind that your clients are always taken care of the first time.
At Smiledog, we live and breathe customer service every day. It is what we have built our business on for the past 15 years and we understand how crucial it is to keep your clients happy, they are your most important asset. There is no perfect solution but there is a better one and we pride ourselves on doing the best we can, every day. We would love to talk more and see if we are the right fit for you: book a time to chat hereor request a quick demo.
Over the past 12 months, more people have turned to telemedicine than ever before.
The spread of COVID-19 was the main reason for this, with over 35% of US patients going through with a virtual appointment.
Not only are people completing more appointments virtually, but more people are falling back on digital communication with their healthcare providers.
If your facility has remained open in any capacity over the past year, you know what we’re talking about. Clients and prospects are calling to book, to check if your hours of operation have changed, and to see if there’s anything extra they need to consider to be permitted entry.
With all of these inquiries constantly coming in, having a trusted receptionist by your side has never been more important.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to hire a full time, in-office receptionist. In fact, in this digital age, that may be your worst bet.
Thankfully you have other options. Of those, the best alternative is to hire a virtual receptionist.
Continue reading to learn more about what a virtual receptionist is, how they work, and why your practice should hire this service.
What are virtual receptionists?
To put it simply, a virtual receptionist is another member of your team, but they work remotely, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional receptionists.
The reason for this is that virtual receptionists only work when you need them to, meaning that instead of paying a full-time salary, you only pay for the minutes used or the bundled plan you choose – similar to a pay-as-you-go plan.
Beyond the unique pricing strategy, a virtual receptionist is a great way to ensure your clients get the human connection they deserve when calling your practice.
Human connection can make all the difference in someone’s day. With a virtual receptionist, you never have to worry about calls being missed due to breaks or vacations.
Having a dedicated reception and appointment setting service is important to keep your clients happy and keep your practice running smoothly.
How do virtual receptionists work?
A virtual receptionist’s primary purpose is to help small to medium-size healthcare practices have more time to deliver their services.
However, it’s not traditional reception in the way you are thinking — virtual receptionists are not a call center and their sole purpose is not to simply answer the phone, but to help clients scale their business.
Similar to traditional receptionists, there is a huge emphasis on training virtual receptionists so that they are a compliment to the service their client offers.
The best part is, you can choose the services that work best for your practice.
Say you only need support three days out of the week, you might benefit from back-up receptionist support.
Maybe you need help booking appointments so that you can keep your practice busy without having to spend too much time on the phone.
Or finally, maybe you are looking for full-time virtual reception support so that you can stop running your business from your cell phone and improve your practice overall.
No matter which service you choose, a virtual receptionist takes the same steps to ensure maximum satisfaction of your clients. Here’s what this process looks like:
Clients call your business;
The call is forwarded to your virtual receptionist;
Your virtual receptionist answers the call promptly with a professional greeting;
Your clients’ needs are met without worrying you.
Your virtual receptionist is there to help you meet your goals, grow your practice, and make your life a little easier.
Consistently great first impressions are important – your customers are looking for an experience they can rely on and trust. As a clinic owner, you wear many different hats so successfully making a consistent, engaging first impression is a challenge.
Personally handling all new and existing client calls can become increasingly difficult as your practice grows. At some point, you’ll likely end up running into the challenging decision of either answering calls or actually delivering your service.
This situation is not ideal, because letting calls go to voicemail will likely lose you new business, but answering calls while servicing clients reflects poorly on your clientele.
Since your phone is the lifeline of your business, a virtual receptionist helps to always take care of clients when they call while you focus on delivering top-quality services at all times.
Avoid lost revenue
Every missed call is a missed opportunity. For small businesses, missing a call means the loss of potential revenue. Capturing all opportunities is important for growth and the overall maintenance of your practice.
By capturing every call the first time, a virtual receptionist can help ensure your practice’s growth isn’t stunted.
Boost your return on investment
Compared to traditional receptionists, there are many ways that a virtual receptionist service can save you money. One big advantage is that you only pay for the minutes used or the bundled plan you select, and all of the added bonuses and benefits that a traditional receptionist receives aren’t required.
By doing a comparison of both services, you’ll quickly wonder why you haven’t considered this service before.
With additional cash flow in your budget, you can invest that money back into your practice or into your professional development.
Get time back in your day
A virtual receptionist can handle all of the administrative work while you are focused on other parts of your practice like holding meetings, delivering your service, etc.
By giving you this time back, you can focus on what really matters – refining your skills and scaling your business.
Improve your clients’ satisfaction
Your clients are the bloodline of your practice’s success, so it’s important to focus on maximizing their satisfaction. A virtual receptionist will improve customer service and satisfaction because:
It is the human connection that makes a difference in someone else’s day;
A designated receptionist will always be there for your clients;
You’ll have the appearance of a larger, more legitimate practice.
With the pandemic shifting the world to become increasingly digital, there’s never been a better time to build a virtual infrastructure.
Businesses in all industries have adapted to this new digital reality. In many cases, this switch is no longer a strategy, but an industry standard. For healthcare, adapting is necessary for growth, and a great starting point is hiring a virtual receptionist.
Here’s a recap of the what, how and why of a virtual receptionist:
What is a virtual receptionist? A dedicated member of the team who cares equally about the happiness of your clients, for a fraction of the cost.
How does a virtual receptionist work? Similarly to a traditional receptionist except more efficient and effective.
Why use a virtual receptionist? Maintain a professional image at all times, save money that can be reinvested into your practice, capture all business opportunities, use your time more efficiently, and maximize your clients’ satisfaction.
Smiledog has been working in the area of virtual reception and appointment setting for 15 years and we truly understand how valuable a trusted receptionist service can be for businesses. We believe that the desire to create human connection is the power behind every call, and we cater to healthcare practices in all ranges of specialities.
Are you ready to engage a virtual receptionist for your practice? We’d love to hear from you. Request a demo or book a chat to discuss virtual reception today.
The landscape of how we interact shifted in a matter of months. Now that the world has settled into its new virtual reality the opportunities for business owners to scale up are limitless.
What is meant by “scale up”? It is the concept of building out a businesses infrastructure so that it can run without the owner involved. It is the idea of creating a revenue generating asset that the owner doesn’t actively participate in on a daily basis.
Never before has there been a better time to build a virtual infrastructure than now. Today’s technology today has put everything we need right at our fingertips.
The only question is: are you ready to let go in order to scale up?
When I say ‘let go’ I do notmean throw mud on the wall and hope it sticks. I mean put your trust in experts who specialize in an industry you may not be fully familiar with.
As business owners you wear many different hats so successfully making a consistent, engaging first impression is a challenge. This is where Smiledog can help. Your clients are your livelihood so let’s make sure you’re always taking care of them when they call.
Having a professionally trained team ready to provide services like answering clients’ questions, helping with directions to the store, or booking appointments are small things that make a huge difference – especially when done consistently.
You’re creating a customer experience your clients can rely on and trust. Let’s take a look at the ways a virtual receptionist can help you better deliver to your clients.
They act as an extension of your business
As a business owner wearing every hat, it’s just a matter of time before aspects of your business begin to suffer.
Usually the first to feel the repercussions are your clients. By having a dedicated customer service team ready to capture your client’s calls and answer their questions, you eliminate interruptions throughout the day and keep your clients happy.
A virtual reception service gives you more time to focus on growth and building your business instead of consistently putting out little fires. Specifically, a designated customer service team gives you:
A designated staff always there for your clients
The appearance of a larger legitimate business
A chance to immediately connect on a human level.
Oh, and hear that? That’s the sound of silence as the constantly ringing phone has finally stopped, allowing you to get back to business.
They are much more cost effective
If you do a cost comparison of hiring someone to answer the phones vs. a virtual reception service, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t always had a virtual team at your side.
The savings alone justify the choice.
The most important thing to consider here is what you will do with the additional cash flow in your monthly budget. It could go to:
A higher marketing spend
A business development course you have been pushing off.
The other factor to consider is the time investment for getting an in-house team member up to speed. You’re looking at 1 to 3 months of continuous hands-on training for them to get to the needed skill level, whereas a virtual receptionist, if they have the proper systems in place, should be ready to go within 5 to 7 business days.
They help you capture all new opportunities
Every business owner has had the unfortunate experience of calling a potential client back only to find out they have already called another company. That alone is a huge barrier to growing your business.
It’s a fact that 75 to 80% of callers who reach a voicemail message, hangup. Today’s consumers have an abundance of choices, making it absolutely crucial for any business owner to ensure they answer the first time.
There is nothing more frustrating for a client than calling a company and navigating a complex phone tree, when a virtual receptionist can do what they need more efficiently.
What we have actually experienced is that a balance of both truly wins. Having a winning combination of dedicated people on deck to answer the phone and technology that supports them in doing this ultimately leads to a warmer experience for your customer base.
They take the Human Resources out of your hands
When thinking about a VR service, all the hiring and training of the receptionists is done by them. There is no need to worry about:
Creating job ads
Creating an onboarding manual
A reception service has that handled and done for you. You can also stop worrying about staff not showing up or calling in sick, as well as the added expense of a salary.
Buteven with everything mentioned above, the most important aspect is that you are bringing on a service expert who specializes in virtual reception—an industry you are likely not fully familiar with. A VR Service will help guide you in determining the best practices for how to get the most out of such a service. This step forward is the true added value because you’re now thinking like a business owner who has shifted their vision to scaling up.
In the end, whether you go with hiring in house or a virtual receptionist, both are great options because you’re making the choice that is right for your business and both help you grow.
Ultimately it’s about finding what works best for you, but keep in mind that as you scale your business you will need to rely on other experts to get you where you want to go. This is why a virtual receptionist is a great first step in getting your business to the next level and ensuring your customers always have a friendly voice to talk to.
If you would like to get some advice on whether or not a virtual receptionist is a good fit for your business, we would love to chat with you. Book a call with Smiledog today.
For many clinic owners, finding a balance between providing healthcare services while juggling administrative tasks like booking appointments and maintaining client relations in an ongoing challenge.
On top of your main priority of providing quality healthcare services, dealing efficiently with new client relations is critical.
So, how is this standard of lead management possible?
A virtual receptionist.
A virtual receptionist service allows small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMB) to operate in a more productive and efficient manner. They provide administrative support, often in the form of telephone answering services and/or appointment scheduling.
Not only is this a cost-effective solution, but it helps improve your clinic’s reputation and growth, while also taking stress away from clinic owners who have other tasks to focus on.
If you are unaware of the benefits a virtual receptionist offers your practice, we’ll show you the true value so you can continue running and scaling your clinic without losing any potential new clients.
So without further ado, here are four reasons your practice needs a virtual receptionist.
Get more time back in your day
Outsourcing your inbound calls and emails to a virtual receptionist is a great way to begin automating your practice without needing to add anyone to payroll.
A virtual receptionist will give you more time back in your day, reduce overall stress and eliminate any burnout that may occur from feeling overwhelmed at work.
Leave time-consuming administrative tasks, like booking appointments for clients, to your virtual receptionist. Doing so means you can rest assured that no clients will be double booked and no appointments will be overlooked. Your virtual receptionist can take the required customer information and book appointments right on your calendar.
This also gives you the freedom to concentrate on delivering your service, taking meetings, etc. without having to worry about missing important calls/emails.
If a full-time receptionist is not needed, using a backup receptionist service is perfect for many occasions including covering sick/vacation/personal days, lunch hours, or appointments.
Never miss another call or opportunity
For small businesses, one missed call from a prospective client can cause a significant setback in revenue.
Everyone knows the frustration of calls going to voicemail when trying to get in contact with a business. As high as 80% of callers won’t leave a voice message because they don’t believe they’ll get a call back.
The truth is, human connection can make the difference in someone’s day.
By having a virtual receptionist that answers every call live, you instantly eliminate the chance of losing a prospective new client to voicemail.
Missing calls from your current clients can also hurt your clinic’s reputation. Having someone dedicated to answering all inbound calls will improve your current clients’ satisfaction because they will feel valued and that their time is appreciated.
You can go even further to boost your customer experience by extending your business hours with a virtual receptionist, who can cover the phones after hours while you get the rest you deserve.
Boost your economies of scale
Taking on all the responsibilities of a small business is typically difficult to sustain as your business grows. However, many owners are hesitant to hire an assistant or receptionist due to the perceived high cost.
Many owners are uncertain of the benefits that such a service can afford and whether the payoff is worth it in comparison to hiring or continuing to do it all themselves.
Have no fear, one of the biggest perks about hiring a virtual receptionist is that you only pay for the time that you use. You won’t have to worry about wasting resources and you won’t need to pay a salary, vacation time, or employee insurance.
Plus, they can help you with call tracking and client retention, two very important factors when it comes to improving your practice.
Specialized customer service will also build stronger loyalty and satisfaction from your clients, which in turn will drive more business to your practice.
As you exert yourself less, require less overtime, and reduce your overall administrative workload, you boost ROI, productivity improves, and can put more time in where it really counts – back into your business.
Focus on growing your practice
Have you had dreams of scaling your business but simply haven’t had the time?
Maybe you’re looking to refresh your branding, train your employees, set up a new website, or increase your activity on social media. Or maybe you are looking to upgrade your skills through courses, additional training, or further education/research.
Brainstorming, strategizing, and personal growth sounds great, but dedicating time to this is challenging when operations take up all of your time.
This also puts you at a competitive disadvantage because you aren’t able to build on your skills and learn more about your practice. For practitioners, the best way to grow your business is to put in the work and focus on doing what you do best: serving your clients.
Hiring a virtual receptionist assists with this and allows you the opportunity to spend your time more efficiently while continuing to grow your practice.
With a virtual receptionist, you can ultimately bank time that can then be put back into your business and spend a fraction of the amount you would spend on a traditional receptionist.
Contrary to a call centre, Smiledog focuses heavily on training staff to understand they are a compliment to your practice and another member of your team.
With Smiledog’s seamless integration, you can rest assured that your customers will receive high-quality service during daytime hours.
The goal is to provide specialized customer service to SMB owners and healthcare practices, allowing you time to focus on what really matters – refining your skills and scaling your business.
Interested to see how your business can benefit from Smiledog’s services? Request a virtual reception demo today.
How can a Virtual Receptionist Strengthen my Business?
You might be wondering what sets Smiledog apart from its competitors. After all, we’re not the only virtual reception service out there. Smiledog really approaches its role as virtual reception provider in a “full service” way. By this we mean, we want our services to strengthen your business by being virtually indistinguishable from the services provided by an in house receptionist. Often, you would have an in house receptionist that has other duties besides answering the phone. Our receptionists are capable of handling your small tasks and special instructions while providing our high quality virtual receptionist services.
Customized Virtual Reception Services
How we handle your calls is determined mostly by you! In other words, when we begin providing services to strengthen your business, we interview with you to learn more about your business and the nature of your phone calls. This makes it possible for us to determine the best way we can answer your calls. If you want to provide us with a script, we are happy to implement it. If you don’t have any preferences, we can suggest a professional greeting appropriate to your industry. Our real goal is find ways for you to take full advantage of the services we offer.
We Do More Than Just Answer Phones
If you are using our services for answering calls, it’s possible you might also be interested in our performing more small tasks as part of our answering services. This may be of particular interest to clients interested in full time reception options. Need us to fill out a form when a client calls, and submit the form to you? We can definitely do this! When you set up services with us, we can get these forms in place so that get the information from your callers that you need.
We Book Appointments Too!
For those businesses whose calls largely are related to setting up, rescheduling, and otherwise handling appointments, we are here to help! Our services are a great option for practitioners and business owners who don’t want to deal with the added overhead of hiring a full time receptionist for appointment setting purposes. Our Smiledog virtual receptionists can answer calls and schedule appointments using real-time web based calendaring systems. We can even reschedule appointments for the day if you are sick or have an emergency keeping you away from the office.
Have Another Need Not Mentioned?
Do you have another small task that you think our virtual receptionists could do to help streamline your business? Since our services are completely customizable, bring us your idea, and we will do everything possible to meet that need. We love to find new ways to help our clients!
Learn More About How We Can Help You!
If you’re ready to strengthen your business and learn more about the suite of options we have for our clients, call Smiledog today! We are excited to learn more about your business, and we are certain to have some great solutions to streamline your operations.
Some say great customer service is an art. Others say it comes down to a scientific mix of character traits. We think the key elements for success lie somewhere between the two. We have put together a comprehensive list of skills, that are both developable and observational in nature. Meaning, your team can start working on these skill sets without having a natural aptitude for customer service.
Patience For many, when they reach out to a business with an inquiry, it is from a place of confusion and sometimes frustration. Answering numerous and often repetitive client requests requires patience. Patience in dealing with clients is one thing, patience with each other and for the core of the business overall is crucial to an efficient and high-functioning organization.
Communication This one might seem fairly obvious but you’d be surprised how easily communication styles can be misconstrued. Having consistent communication guidelines in place for your team can eliminate gaps from representative to representative. Implementing language you would like your team to use and holding regular training and role-playing will ensure that clients always receive the same level of service when they interact with your company.
Attention to Detail Listening is one of the most important concepts behind excellent customer service. Active listening; looking for cues ‘between the lines’ will make the difference between placating a client in the moment and building a loyal client relationship for life.
Knowledge Knowing the product or service they’re selling/supporting should be second nature for customer service experts. However, without proper training, many front-line representatives are left without the proper tools. Encorporating product and service training and ideals into your onboarding process will ensure a consistent knowledge base for your front-line team.
The power of positivity Training your team on the power of using positive language will make a huge difference in how clients feel. Specific training on reframing statements from a negative perspective to a positive perspective will have a huge impact. If you’re not sure where to start, this positive language starter guide is a great resource.
Keeping your cool While being completely unflappable can be difficult in heated situations, the ability to do so can turn a situation around in a hurry. While most interactions will likely remain civil, there are certain situations where keeping your cool is the ultimate solution. Clients will mirror the demeanour of their representative and often need that structure to see that the situation is solvable. The saying ‘cooler heads prevail’ should be the motto for your client service team.
Empowered Work Force Giving your client service team the autonomy to make decisions on the fly will allow them to solve problems quickly and efficiently. This sense of empowerment will also give your team the confidence they need to handle situations with ease and professionalism. With proper training and role-playing scenarios, you should feel confident that your team can make decisions that reflect the values and goals of the company as a whole.
Always be Closing Your customer service team should know that their main mandate when concluding a client interaction is their satisfaction. Clients should leave the conversation feeling that their needs have been met or will be as soon as possible. Your team should verbally acknowledge that this is their mandate and confirm with the client before ending the conversation that their needs have been met.
Changing Perspective Having empathy for client concerns can turn a situation around quickly and efficiently. The ability to think from a different perspective will allow your team to see issues from another angle, often resulting in creative solutions that work for everyone.
Time Management Your team should understand that there is an adequate amount of time to dedicate to each issue. Sticking to those boundaries will result in more efficient conversations and a clear course of action should things veer out of scope. Finding another resource and acknowledging the inability to help is the best course of action.
If your team is struggling to reach the level of client service you’d like, we can help,reach outif you’d like more information!