No Assistant? No Problem. Using a Virtual Receptionist

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that last year I went out on my own and opened my own law practice. As an office of one, I no longer have the luxury of an assistant. This means I’ve had to rely on technology to fill in some gaps and increase productivity. One of the ways I’ve done that is by hiring a virtual receptionist to handle my phone calls.

In my business, if you don’t answer your phone people will quickly move on and call someone else. I knew very early on it was important to have all my calls received during business hours answered live by a friendly and helpful voice. However, I also knew that voice couldn’t be me or I’d never be able to get any work done. One of my first splurges as I was setting up my new office was to hire a virtual receptionist. There are a number of services available, I use Ruby Receptionists.

During business hours, my phones are forwarded to my virtual receptionist. A small team of receptionists, who have been trained with instructions on how I prefer my calls handled, will warmly greet my callers, determine the nature of the call, handle simple inquiries, pass calls along to me as necessary and take messages if I’m not available. They can even offer to book appointments using my scheduling service (look for a post on that later.) Most importantly, even if my callers didn’t get to speak with me, they feel like they’ve made a connection and are less likely to move on to the next attorney on their list.

Ruby is not the cheapest service available. I currently pay between $250 - $350 a month for the service and likely will have to increase my plan soon due to increased call volume. (Which is probably a good thing.) However, Ruby’s reputation for customer service is legendary. I regularly receive compliments about my receptionist and clients wanting to meet him/her when they come to my office.

Although the service is a significant monthly cost, it’s a fraction of the cost of an employee. Best of all my virtual receptionist never takes a lunch break, never calls in sick and is always at their desk to answer my calls.

If you’re considering a virtual receptionist you need to have realistic exceptions. This is not an employee in your office, they do not know your clients or your business. They can answer a few simple FAQs that you provide, but cannot provide a lot of information or detail to you clients. Their primary function is to triage calls and pass them along.

The virtual receptionist service has worked well for me and has become an essential part of my office. I can’t imagine answering my own phones or doing business without them. Maybe one day I’ll have an in-house receptionist. But for now, a good virtual receptionist service is money well spent.

Disclosure: This article was written independently. However, Ruby Receptionists has since become a sponsor and offers my readers $75 off their first full month’s service.

This article first appeared in the April, 2017 Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly. Find our more at https://www.screencastsonline.com/membership_benefits