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Know the Difference: Virtual Receptionist vs Virtual Assistant

 

In most cases, running a business requires partnership. Companies are not stand alone machines that could run all day long without having the assistance and support from another party. It may sound cliche but as the saying goes, two heads or perhaps hands are better than one. This principle applies to business, too. Aside from the customers keeping the business moving, third party agencies play a big role in achieving an organization's ultimate goal. By sharing their expertise, the organization gets a fair share of success.

Seeking assistance from third party agencies or a process called outsourcing involves contracting out non-core and operational functions to do the job for them on a professional manner and eventually increase production and sales.

Technology plays a significant role in making outsourcing into a thriving business trend. Through the advancement in communication, virtual assistance is being practiced to extend assistance to companies all over the world. This could save the company from all the expenses in hiring additional employees to do the increasing job functions. As the company grows, the tasks and the customer requests multiply as well. It is indeed through additional employees that non-core and operational functions be served well, but hiring is not the answer to this. Going virtual is a much better alternative. It can be both cost-effective and result-oriented. With employees from a third party agency working in a remote location, there's no need for additional working area and communication tools. Entrust the job to the third party and experience the difference.

Here are two of the most common virtual services practiced in the industry which usually get mixed up by some - Virtual Receptionist and Virtual Assistant and how these two differ from each other.

 

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1. Nature of job

 

The primary functions of a Virtual Receptionist and a Virtual Assistant differ in various ways though minor functions may be similar at times. As the names Receptionist and Assistant denote, the extent of the functions and its nature differ.

A Virtual Receptionist's main job is to take and filter all incoming calls entering the network 24/7. They do necessary routing of calls to proper recipients based on the general instructions from the company. In addition to these, here are other functions of a Virtual Receptionist:

  • Book appointments, schedule meetings and help organize your calendar. Whenever a customer or a business partner wants to set an appointment with you, the Virtual Receptionist will carefully take down notes and other important details. These will be forwarded to proper recipients.
  • Send reminder on appointments. Not only recording, Virtual Receptionist also send out reminders prior the meeting. They're like secretaries who take care of your daily appointments.
  • Track potential leads and focus on sales. Every call means business opportunity. Thus, it is very important that someone is always ready to entertain calls and address customer concerns promptly. Basic information of the callers are recorded and organized. These report become sales leads and from this, other reports can be generated by business owners. Easier to manage, this could conserve the organization's time and energy without compromising the quality of the reports.
  • Take online orders. Aside from immediately addressing customer concerns, they can also record online orders. If the business industry is into sales and merchandising, having a Virtual Receptionist is a big help. Through this, the company won't miss opportunity to sell and increase sales.
  • Offer live chats. Always on the go and ready to serve, Virtual Receptionist will answer all concerns whether via telephone or online chat in no time. Customers will never feel they're taken for granted.

A Virtual Receptionist can be live or automated based on the requirement of the company.

 

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On the other hand, a Virtual Assistant performs a wider range of tasks for the business. Non-core functions are usually designated to them. They also handle phone answering services. Here are other functions of a Virtual Assistant:

  • Project and Events Planning. Should the company require an organizer to their events, a Virtual Assistant can accept special projects and take charge of whatever is needed and required by the company.
  • Making Reservations and Appointments. Similar to Virtual Receptionist, one of their functions is to take calls if necessary.
  • Monitor bills and payments. All details on due dates and deadlines will be provided by the company. Virtual Assistants will be responsible for its monitoring.
  • Send email replies and correspondences. For direct-hired employees to focus on more important functions, sending email replies and other correspondences primarily those that are uniform or of similar formats and regularly sent to clients can be delegated to Virtual Assistants.
  • Do research functions. Special projects and research shall be taken care of by Virtual Assistants.
  • Write contents, editing and newsletters. Part of a company's marketing strategy is to send out newsletters and write contents about the company.
  • Manage company websites and social media accounts. Another marketing arm is the social media. It's a tool widely viewed and easily accessed by everybody. Thus, management of these accounts is necessary.
  • Perform bookkeeping functions if the company requires.
 

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2. Customer Interaction

 

Due to varying functions, recipients of the services vary, too.

Virtual Receptionist deals directly with customers. By being the front line of the company, they set the impression and builds the primary foundation of the company's reputation.

On the other hand, a Virtual Receptionist communicates directly to the business owners. They gather data from the customer behavior and activities. They perform back office functions.

3. Customer Service Level

 

In terms of customer service, both the Virtual Receptionist and Virtual Assistant are expected to give their full extent of service. But since the Virtual Receptionist deals directly with clients, they would need a higher level of customer service, and an extensive training on how to deal with all kinds of customers is necessary. One mistake may lead to a loss of potential business opportunity. Virtual Receptionist has many chances of dealing with different personalities.

On the other hand, a Virtual Assistant deals directly with the business owners. Their exposure to varying personalities is limited.

Just like any other relationships, both parties, the company itself and the outsourcing company should be equally beneficial to each other. While companies grow their business, virtual Assistants and Receptionist are given job roles which they handle on a professional manner. With sufficient people to take the calls and perform other functions in a specific period of time, say a month or a year, the company or the client can experience growth in sales and production without being overly exposed in terms of cost and expenses.


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