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How a Virtual Receptionist Differs from an Automated Phone Service

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When you work with a typical call answering service, you have two main options: an automated phone system or a virtual receptionist. Below we will discuss the similarities and differences between the two and help you decide which is a better fit for your business.

What is an automated phone service?

An automated phone answering service or interactive voice response (IVR) system interacts with callers through the use of voice or keyed-in responses. By managing your calls right from the greeting, an IVR system can route callers to the best and appropriate person, internal extension, or outside line.

What is a virtual receptionist?

A virtual receptionist is an individual who works remotely to manage a business’ incoming call volume and provide exceptional customer service. Unlike automated phone services, a virtual receptionist ensures that callers are assisted by a real, live human. 

While some answering service companies employ virtual receptionists living around the world, Answering Service Care’s virtual receptionists are 100% based in the United States. Our educated, professional virtual receptionists can help with tasks including appointment scheduling, message taking, call routing, qualifying leads, answering basic questions, email marketing, and more. Additionally, we offer custom on-hold music, call recording, and the ASC Mobile app, which enables business owners to receive message notifications, listen to messages, change an on-call contact, pay a bill, and more- all from their smartphone!

What do automated answering services and virtual receptionists have in common?

Although automated phone systems and virtual receptionists offer different experiences, the biggest thing they have in common is that they utilize technology to provide callers with the best experience possible. Here are a few other things similarities between the two options:

  • Both reduce phone wait times
  • Both reduce the number of callers being sent to voicemail
  • Both are typically cheaper than hiring an in-house receptionist
  • Both are used by businesses of all sizes and types
  • Both offer 24/7/365 coverage and support
  • Both allow you to increase and scale back on coverage as needed
  • Both are beneficial in the event of an emergency or natural disaster

Virtual receptionists vs. automated answering services

If you’re still weighing the pros and cons and trying to decide which option is right for you, consider these main differences between virtual receptionists and automated answering services.

  • Human vs. robot. Unlike automated phone services, a virtual receptionist enables callers to communicate with a live representative.
  • As you may have guessed, a virtual receptionist costs more than an automated answering service. However, keep in mind that providing a friendly live agent for your callers to speak with makes a great impression that will help you win business. In the end, it will likely pay for itself, and then some!
  • Customer preference. To effectively meet the needs of your customers, it’s vital to understand what they want. A study found that 98% of people would rather talk to a live person than deal with a recording when they call customer service. If customer service is a top priority for your business, we recommend going the virtual receptionist route to provide callers with access to a real person.
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