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.
Why use virtual receptionists?
If it wasn’t already clear, there are many benefits to hiring a virtual receptionist. Here’s a closer look at them:
Deliver great first impressions
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.