Virtual Receptionist vs. Virtual Assistant

Virtual Receptionist on the Phone

Virtual support services are an ever-growing industry as more companies need professional help to run at a price that works for their budgets. While these virtual services extend to a variety of skills, two common roles are virtual receptionists and virtual assistants. These two roles may have some similarities, but each offers its own set of benefits.

AnswerHero™ specializes in virtual receptionist services to help companies manage constant phone calls that keep team members far too busy — so you never miss another important call. Learn what makes our services different from a virtual assistant and what type of hire you could benefit from.

Understanding the Difference: Virtual Receptionists and Virtual Assistants

The terms “virtual receptionist” and “virtual assistant” might be used interchangeably, but they are distinctly different roles. 

What Is a Virtual Receptionist?

A virtual receptionist is a remote call answering professional who solves basic problems and field calls before directing them to your staff. Think of a traditional receptionist role in an office. These professionals are the first people your callers interact with before they connect with your business.

Virtual receptionists can be tailored to your business’s unique requirements to provide the call support you need most, from scheduling appointments to taking messages. AnswerHero™ is the perfect example of a virtual receptionist service. Our team of bilingual call answering professionals is ready to support your company.

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is typically an independent contractor that provides remote administrative support for a client. These professionals are typically seasoned administrative assistants or office managers, giving them the skills to perform their responsibilities on a self-led basis. 

Duties for a virtual assistant can include a wide range of tasks, such as scheduling appointments, managing social media accounts, making business travel arrangements and overseeing email accounts. Some virtual assistants may offer more focused services in addition to these.

Key Similarities and Differences

A major similarity between these two roles is they’re filled by professionals who aren’t on your payroll. Rather than hiring a full-time receptionist or assistant, you can hire a virtual counterpart. The benefit of this arrangement is saving on employment costs.

In the case of a virtual receptionist, you can employ these professionals through a call answering service like AnswerHero™. Virtual assistants may be part of a company you can hire, but they’re commonly self-employed individuals who offer their services as 1099 employees.

Both of these roles operate remotely, so you don’t need extra space at your office, and you will likely communicate with them virtually. At AnswerHero™, we have a secure portal where you can access the calls our virtual receptionists take for your office. Virtual assistants may interact with you over the phone or use an online project management platform to keep track of tasks.

The Role of a Virtual Receptionist

The role of a virtual receptionist goes deeper than answering calls and can be incredibly beneficial for your company.

First Impressions Matter: The Frontline of Your Business

Virtual receptionists are the first impression callers have with your business, which is more important than you may think. Consider how many calls you miss per week because your staff is busy with other tasks or your phone is ringing off the hook. Do you think those callers call back when they’re greeted with a voicemail recording? Chances are, they don’t.

With a virtual receptionist, it’s a different story. Instead of getting a busy signal or voicemail recording, your callers get to interact with a real person within a couple of rings. Your virtual receptionist can manage basic tasks like scheduling meetings or taking messages, or they can direct the call to someone on your team. Regardless of the steps they take, your caller gets what they need and hangs up feeling like they’ve moved forward with your business.

Lead Capture and Information Gathering

Lead capture is an essential process in any business, and you might do it through social media, your website, advertisements and more. Your first-time callers present another opportunity for lead capture. You might instruct your virtual receptionist to route first-time callers to you or another member of your staff in order to sell your services. This practice is a great way to dedicate more time to growing your audience while your receptionist focuses on basic tasks.

Connecting with callers also presents an information-gathering opportunity. Your virtual receptionist gets a first-hand account of the types of questions callers have and the information they’re searching for. You can use this data to improve marketing tactics, update your website, improve call answering services and ultimately drive more leads.

Questions Callers Have

The Cost-Effective Alternative to In-House Staff

Many companies receive too many calls for the size of their staff, but they don’t have the budget to hire a full-time, in-house receptionist. With seasonal shifts in call volume, full-time hires can feel especially out of reach. Hiring a virtual receptionist is an excellent way to get the support you require without overextending your budget.

Virtual receptionist services from AnswerHero™ are completely contract-free, so you only need to pay for call answering support when you need it. Say goodbye to missed calls and get the help you need from our call answering professionals.

The Role of a Virtual Assistant

The day-to-day of a virtual assistant often looks very different from a virtual receptionist.

Administrative Powerhouse: Beyond Call Handling

Call handling is only a fraction of the responsibilities of a virtual assistant. These administrative powerhouses handle a wide range of needs that depend entirely on the contract a professional has with their client. Processes like file management, scheduling and data entry are all examples of basic administrative tasks, but these assistants may specialize in other areas.

For example, some virtual assistants handle bookkeeping responsibilities and likely have accounting experience. Other assistants might have more of a marketing focus and manage social media platforms, write web copy and design graphics. 

The Flexibility of Virtual Assistance

While virtual receptionists stick to one set of responsibilities, virtual assistants can fill in many types of gaps at your office. Whether you’re lacking in accounting, marketing or administration, you can find a virtual assistant to handle the job. When searching for a virtual assistant, make it clear what responsibilities you want them to manage to ensure they’re qualified.

It’s valuable to consider how education and experience will play a role in a virtual assistant’s capabilities. Look for someone with a financial background if you need help with bookkeeping. Or turn to a marketing expert for your social media management.

What Type of Virtual Help Fits Your Needs?

Virtual service from receptionists and assistants can be a great addition to your company, and you can determine the right avenue based on where you require additional support. Ask yourself, “Where do I need the most assistance?”

If you need a virtual assistant, you might feel behind on:

  • Making and managing appointments
  • Organizing files and data
  • Setting work travel plans
  • Managing your website
Signs to Get a Virtual Receptionist

If you’re in need of a virtual receptionist, your biggest gap will be related to calls. Signs you need a virtual receptionist include:

  • Constant phone calls during the workday
  • Seasonal shifts in call volume
  • Limited budget for a full-time, in-house receptionist
  • Poor phone experience for customers
  • Limited lead capture opportunities
  • Many missed calls after hours

How to Get Started With Answering Services From AnswerHero™

Do you find that taking phone calls is a weak spot for your business? You need AnswerHero™. We offer a fast and easy onboarding process, so you can get started with our services as soon as you require them. Start by looking at our pricing plans to find which one works best for you. 

We have a range of options to suit various call answering needs. Every plan comes with bilingual answering and 24/7 operation to ensure your phone lines are covered for every caller. We designate plans based on the number of minutes per month, with a flat rate for adding minutes to your base amount. Not sure what you need? One of our team members can help you find the right plan for your goals.

Once we find a plan for you, we’ll complete a quick consultation to learn about your business and how our call answering services can support you. Then, we’ll work with your team to develop a script for our professionals, outlining how they should take calls based on your goals. From there, we route your number to our team, and we get to work. 

How Virtual Receptionist Services Work With AnswerHero™

The call management process with AnswerHero™ is essentially a triage process. Based on the script and information you give our team, our call agents determine what type of call they’re receiving with every caller. Call types include:

  • Lead generation
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Message taking
  • Call transfer

Based on the call type, our agent will proceed with corresponding actions. Appointment scheduling or message taking, for example, involves adding a meeting to someone’s calendar or recording a message in the portal for future reference.

Let’s say one of our agents is working for an IT company, and their staff requested that first-time callers be directed to one of their technicians to talk about solutions. In this case, our agent will answer the phone and find out about the caller’s goal. If they find they’re a first-time caller, they can transfer the call to the right person. Call transferring may also be relevant for callers looking to chat with a specific team member.

The AnswerHero™ Promise

Virtual Portal

At AnswerHero™, we understand that answering the phones promptly and politely is a way to represent your business. Our call agents are seasoned professionals ready to help your callers the moment we route your number to our team. We’ve designed our services to be flexible according to your call demands, and we offer a user-friendly portal to connect you with every call that our agents take.

Use the portal to review messages from your callers and take a look at upcoming appointments. With our call agents supporting your team, you can answer calls around the clock — during business hours and outside of them. See the difference AnswerHero™ makes today.

Contact AnswerHero™ About Virtual Receptionist Services

Are your phones ringing all day long? Do you know you’re missing lead generation opportunities because of it? Work with AnswerHero™ today to manage your high call volume and help your business grow. Contact us to learn more or explore our pricing plans today.