Face to Face vs. Virtual Receptionist: Why Not Both?

by | Nov 16, 2022

Are you looking for virtual receptionists to support your reception service, but you’re unsure where to start? Do you know virtual reception services do more than answer calls? In this blog, we will give you a thorough understanding of:

  1. What is a virtual receptionist?
  2. Do I have to choose between face-to-face customer service and a virtual receptionist?
  3. What’s the best way to utilize a virtual office receptionist?

Your reception is the first point of contact for your visitors – whether it’s employees, contractors or couriers walking through your doors, the crucial first impression is made when they engage with your receptionist.

Though being greeted and checked in with a comforting smile and some light conversation gives off a wonderful impression, the same can’t be said for the queues and confusion that can arise in manual receptions where receptionists do their best to balance productivity and quality customer service all at once. As the culture moves steadily towards hybrid and remote work, having full-time receptionists working on tasks that can be easily digitized is simply no longer beneficial nor cost-effective in the long run.

So how can virtual receptionists play a vital role in maintaining this valuable face-to-face interaction in your customer service, while also optimising efficiency and productivity?virtual-receptionists-kiosk

What is a Virtual Receptionist?

Simply put, a virtual receptionist is a person who picks up your calls and answers whatever questions, queries and concerns your customers may have – just as you’d expect a regular receptionist to do. The notable difference here is that a virtual receptionist works remotely by only picking up the calls that are outsourced to them. This, of course, means that they’re not traditionally able to speak to the customers on a face-to-face basis.

However, unlike the receptionist working in your building – who greets and registers visitors, answers phone calls and emails, takes care of administrative or unforeseen issues, gets paid regardless of work volume, and still needs a lunch break every day – virtual receptionists are hired through companies such as Moneypenny with the sole purpose of answering phone calls and providing high-quality customer service.

virtual-receptionists-handling-calls

Direct benefits of using virtual receptionists

  • Virtual office receptionists work for you, which means they learn to use your systems and how to best provide your customers with the right information.
  • You get 24/7 service from a receptionist who never gets sick, takes holiday or comes to work late.
  • Peace of mind knowing that no call will go to voicemail – whether a caller rings at 1pm or 2am, they will reach a real person.
  • Frees up a lot of time for your on-site staff, giving them a chance to work uninterrupted while managing important tasks.
  • Allows for more personalised and informed communication.
  • Relieves pressure during stressful times.

Do I have to choose between face-to-face customer service and a virtual receptionist?

You might think you have to sacrifice the human element of reception for the sake of time and cost efficiency, but we have great news for you: you don’t! With human-centric technology, you can optimise your Front of House while maintaining that crucial social part of the reception.

The workplace has transformed more in the last 5 years than it did in the 50 years before. Humans always seek out the quickest and easiest ways to get the best results – that is simply how we evolve. Regardless of growing trends and new available updates, we’re still social creatures who need human interaction. On days when traffic is bad and the coffee is bland, a kind word in the morning can make all the difference for people passing through reception.

At Vpod, we don’t believe that technology can ever replace humans – nor should it. Instead, smart technology can be a solution to simplify tedious manual tasks, increase staff productivity and enhance the overall work experience.

Focus on what’s important

A PwC study shows that 75% of people worldwide want to interact with a real person more as technology improves. They don’t want to talk with chatbots or be directed to long FAQs, they want to speak to real people.

study-of-human-interaction

There is no need to worry that virtual receptions will soon replace face-to-face communication. Instead, the focus must be on developing ways to facilitate and assist human interaction to meet the needs of the modern workplace.

With a virtual receptionist service, you know that callers will always reach a real person who knows how to help. Still, although not for lack of skill or knowledge, you might wonder if using virtual operators over real-life receptionists can have an impact on customers’ trust, as good customer service plays a big part in this.

But we have a solution for you.

What’s the best way to utilise a virtual receptionist?

Different types of reception cannot maximise their service delivery without the help of technology“. Virtual reception systems and Video Concierge software have been widely adopted in the industry to introduce virtual receptionists that support and enhance the visitor experience.

Let us explain how they can help you:

1. Combine virtual receptionist kiosks to deliver the best first impression

A virtual receptionist kiosk, or visitor management system, is a self-service kiosk that plays a crucial role in delivering face-to-face customer service.

Vgreet virtual reception kiosk helps streamline and organise the visitor check-in process which greatly decreases queues while increasing security. Most importantly, they free up staff to focus on in-person customer service. The self-service kiosk is easy to use and allows visitors to move through the reception in seconds by simply scanning a QR code.

Vgreet has features such as:

  • Visitor check-in and pass printing.
  • Visitor access control.
  • Wayfinding.
  • Handling of deliveries.
  • Resource booking.
  • IT support.
  • Video call a live virtual receptionist.

With all this available right at the reception, visitors will never need to enter an office with unanswered questions. It gives the impression of an organised and professional business and provides a great user experience.

virtual-receptionists-software

2. Live Virtual Receptionist, but enable the Face-to-face interaction

The possibility of calling a virtual receptionist through video is powered by Vpod’s smart technology Dialog video concierge. This breaks down the barriers between receptionist and caller by enabling direct face-to-face communication. It makes it possible to combine the convenience of a virtual receptionist service with the comfort and familiarity of face-to-face customer care.

Through Dialog, the virtual front desk receptionist can handle video calls just as easily as audio calls: you can put calls on hold, transfer calls to others, and add people to your calls, all with the added benefit of being able to share information on screen while talking face-to-face. Visitors can use Dialog to make video calls to a virtual receptionist, allowing for face-to-face service, always.

Even if a workplace has on-site receptionists, it’s never guaranteed that they will be available at all times; they have a long to-do list and many duties that require their physical presence. Staff may be busy with important administrative tasks or attending to other visitors. A virtual office receptionist would be a perfect way to solve this possible availability problem.

Accessible from the web, an app, or on our Vgreet virtual receptionist kiosks, the Dialog virtual receptionist service ensures that customers, employees, contractors and couriers alike always have access to face-to-face assistance at your reception if they need answers, guidance, or if any issues arise.

Key takeaways

If you are looking into using a virtual receptionist service for your business, we hope that this helped you in considering the value of face-to-face customer service and how to implement fitting solutions.

The push towards innovation and smart workplace technology ensures both high efficiency and high-quality service. Implementing technologies such as Vgreet and Dialog can greatly benefit your employees, your visitors, and your business.

If you are looking for extra support for your reception to process the visitors, the Vgreet virtual reception kiosk allows you to support your FOH by streamlining tedious manual tasks, subsequently optimising your staff’s efficiency. Your reception will be able to focus on important on-site tasks and personalised customer service, which improves that ever-important first impression. Especially if you add the functionality to video call a virtual receptionist, ensuring that callers always reach a real person who knows how to help, even if your on-site receptionist is preoccupied.

Download the Vgreet brochure here

If you are looking for a call answering service for your virtual reception, Dialog virtual concierge partners with market-leading call answering services for you to manage your face-to-face calls efficiently.

Download the Dialog brochure here

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