A live receptionist is often the first line of contact for a business with its customers, and needs to possess a wide range of institutional knowledge to field calls, answer questions, and direct topics to their best possible outcome. The importance of having the right person in this role underscores the commonly held notion that a business’s greatest assets are the people who work there. Certainly, we’ve had a lot of fun investing in our human capital, ourselves, because we also attribute our growth and success to the hard work and irreplaceable personalities that make VirtualPBX who we are. Combine that idea with the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and you’ve got a situation whereby the front lines employees are staggeringly important to the success of an organization. Many of our customers are small, scrappy, and resourceful entrepreneurs who handle every aspect, from the front of the house to the back, on their own. But other companies with a few more employees make one of their first hires an administrator who can handle the logistics of an office. This person ends up with plenty of responsibilities, and more often than not those include acting as the live receptionist for all inbound calls. There is really no replacement for the personality that some of my favorite administrators have and how that, in turn, elevates the brand they represent.
That’s why many organizations also have anxiety over bringing in an advanced business telephone service like feature-rich hosted VoIP for fear of them losing the need for a live receptionist altogether. Even though some businesses enjoy employing an Auto Attendant in lieu of a live receptionist, mandating that never has to be the case. Over the course of this post we’ll illustrate how a live receptionist and an Auto Attendant are not mutually exclusive and can, in fact, complement each other quite nicely. There are several compositions this can take, too, each of which provides specific support for live receptionists only, exclusive use of Auto Attendants, and any number of hybridizations of the two.
Having A VoIP Plan With a Live Receptionist
We aren’t going to deny that one of the most consistently popular features on any of our VirtualPBX cloud phone systems is the Auto Attendant. An Auto Attendant can route calls, forward to groups or individuals, be programmed to adapt to time changes and holiday schedules, and even field questions or direct to voicemail. With all of that ability packed into a free Auto Attendant, it’s easy to see why companies without the capital to hire new administrators find it to be such a helpful feature. That said, there is no need to use this feature to replace a live receptionist. When properly executed, an Auto Attendant can actually serve as an assistant and enhancement to the operations of any live receptionist. Here are a few of the ways a live receptionist can benefit from an Auto Attendant:
- Added Coverage Being able to field multiple lines of call traffic is one of the most important duties of a live receptionist, but it may also prematurely interrupt the conversation he or she is currently on. With an Auto Attendant, you can arrange to have those alternate calls be answered by the phone system if the main line is busy.
- Specific Design for Live Receptionists Fielding calls within an organization is much easier when live receptionists can use Advanced Transfers to ensure swift and accurate call transfers. Plus, for critical conversations that need to put on hold, calls can be parked and this and a host of other useful features can be accessed right from a handset with Feature Codes, too.
- Pinch Hitter Being able to call in a back-up to bat for a team member is a great advantage in baseball, and the same can be said for a live receptionist, too. Fielding phone calls is easier when you don’t have to be stationary at a desk, so if a cordless VoIP office phone isn’t available, knowing that an Auto Attendant will answer calls in your absence is a huge relief when you need a moment of, well, relief.
- Professional Representation As we’ve mentioned, the best live receptionist can do more than just act as an operator, he or she can also be the company’s best brand ambassador, too. Fortunately, a virtual receptionist can do the same thing. By being able to customize everything from on-hold music to automatic and professionally recorded messages that dynamically change for holidays or promotions, a live receptionist never has to worry that a virtual replacement isn’t pulling their weight.
- Infinitely Expandable The only real threshold that even the most capable and competent employee encounters is that of scalability. Because an Auto Attendant never needs to take a lunch break and can handle multiple concurrent calls without any attrition to the quality and polish of each one, there’s no need worry about overloading the system. Plus, because all of VoIP Phone Plan features are hosted in the cloud, they can be scaled up or down as needed to grow with a company with just a few clicks, too.
Auto Attendant is Just One Way to help a Live Receptionist
The above list barely scratches the surface of the examples on how an Auto Attendant can help any live receptionist be better and more agile at work. The ways a live receptionist can benefit from a VoIP plan are as many and as creative as the administrators thereon. Because companies can add dozens of recording options, add department groups at will, and have infinitely customizable voicemail, faxmail, and greeting options, this literally is just the tip of the iceberg. Plus, add into the fact that all of those presets can be dynamically programmed to act differently for night/day hours and holidays, too, and you’re left with a system that is almost as dynamic as your live receptionist. Of course, no program will replace him or her, but this one sure does come close.
To see first-hand how Auto Attendant works, you can sign up for a Free Demo right now, or just hit us up on Twitter and Facebook with your questions. Also, if you already have your Dash Plan and Auto Attendant and need a little help setting it up, we have online call handling support available and you can even call us right from those resources if you want, as well. If you do, don’t be surprised if you are wildly impressed with our combination of automated and live receptionist skills, either.