A virtual receptionist service takes the place of a traditional receptionist and provides an automated answering service. Virtual receptionists have grown increasingly popular because they can handle a higher call volume, answer phones 24/7 and they cost substantially less than hiring someone to do the same job in person.
Many types of businesses benefit from having a virtual receptionist to improve call response times and provide a better customer experience. Businesses can choose from several different types of services depending on their need.
Top 10 Most Reviewed Virtual Receptionist
Answer 1 provides a range of virtual receptionist services like call screening, appointment scheduling and order processing. We specialize in assisting clients in IT, legal, healthcare and service industries.
|Read 84 Reviews|
Abby Connect provides virtual receptionists to businesses and professionals from our headquarters in Summerlin, NV. Our friendly receptionists accept, screen and transfer incoming calls with customized greetings to save you time.
|Read 57 Reviews|
Davinci Virtual Office Solutions uses live receptionists to answer and forward client calls. Clients can also take advantage of mail forwarding services and hold meetings at over 4,000 spaces all over the world.
|Read 19 Reviews|
Conversational Receptionist is a company that offers virtual receptionist for large or small businesses. Conversational Receptionist has teams located in United States and Canada to provide quality and support around the clock.
|Read 17 Reviews|
LiveVoice, part of TeleServices Direct, is headquartered in Illinois. Their U.S.-based call center agents respond to leads, offer customer service and serve as virtual receptionists.
|Read 5 Reviews|
Call Ruby uses live professionals who provide virtual receptionist services so clients can make strong first impressions and work away from their desks without missing important calls. Call Ruby offers a 21-day, risk-free trial.
|Read 9 Reviews|
AnswerNet provides virtual call center services for companies that work numerous industries, including commercial vehicle, financial, real estate, pharmaceuticals and insurance. AnswerNet has 28 locations in North America.
|Read 5 Reviews|
MAP Communications provides answering and call center services for clients in several industries, including property management, education, healthcare and hospitality. New clients can get a free trial or request facility tours.
|Read Expert Review|
Professional Communications Messaging Service provides high-quality operators who can answer phone calls, take orders and schedule appointments for companies in practically any industry. They also offer a free quote to start.
|Read Expert Review|
Intelligent Office is a virtual receptionist service provider that works with companies at all stages of growth. In addition to answering calls, Intelligent Office provides virtual office spaces and real-world meeting facilities.
|Read Expert Review|
What features matter most?
The lower cost of a virtual receptionist is one of the big selling points of this type of service. Hidden fees and up-charges for different service levels may turn an affordable solution into a money pit. Be aware of the types of charges you could see on a virtual receptionist invoice.
- Pay by the minute: Many virtual receptionist services charge by the minute. The longer your average call lasts, the higher your bill will be.
- Monthly fees: In addition to the per-minute charges, many services charge a monthly service or subscription fee. Some calling minutes may be included in the plan, so be sure to audit the bill to avoid unnecessary overages.
- Tiered pricing: Receptionist services can be a glorified voice mailbox or a fully staffed answering service. Many providers offer several tiers of service with pricing to match.
A traditional receptionist gives customers their first impression of your business. An automated answering service does the same, so it is important to create menus with the most frequently asked questions in mind. Think of your menu options as an interactive fact page and design them accordingly.
- Call transferring: Any virtual receptionist should be able to route calls to the right extension. Make sure there are menus that allow callers to search by both name and department when calling in.
- Telephone payments: If many customers call in to pay a recurring bill, it is a good idea to offer some form of automated payment processing. This frees up customer service representatives to handle questions and concerns.
- Intuitive menus: When clients call, they should be able to navigate phone menus with ease. Make sure the most commonly needed menu options are first, and always have an option to speak with a live person, at least during business hours.
Virtual receptionist companies offer services that range from basic messaging to full-service customer interaction. Even the automated portion has a variety of features that can improve your operations.
- Scalable extensions: The number of extensions available in the virtual receptionist software will determine how many employees can be reached through the service. Make sure any company you choose can scale up the number of extensions to meet your growing needs.
- Software integration: CRM integration helps turn a virtual receptionist into a lead generation and customer service tool. Some services include a basic CRM with the answering service while others integrate with your existing software platform.
- Basic and advanced calling features: A virtual receptionist should be able to transfer calls between departments, but an advanced service might include additional calling features like scheduling, appointment setting, information gathering and more.
No two businesses are the same, and there is no one-size-fits-all receptionist solution. Find out what customization options are available for automated attendants and if there are any live answering options.
- Menu flow: The way menus are set up and push calls are put through can dramatically impact customer satisfaction. Customized menus allow businesses to control flow for optimal efficiency.
- Directory control: Waiting for a third party to add and remove names from the company directory can cause delays and confusion. When the business has direct access to the auto-attendant and programming, updates can be handled as they happen.
- Voice options: Most menus use a digital voice recording that may not sound very personable. By recording menu options using a voice actor or company employee, businesses can add a human feel to an automated answering service.
Virtual receptionist services can be message recording only or live call answering with transferring available. Investigate the different plans and service levels offered by each service provider.
- Live operator: When a real person answers the phone, inbound callers are more likely to have a favorable reaction to the call. Live operators can answer questions, take messages, record customer information and other tasks.
- Maximum call volume: Some services will only answer a single call per line at a time, while others offer greater flexibility with a larger maximum incoming call volume.
- Guaranteed wait times: Some services provide guarantees on how long it takes to answer incoming calls. Some try to answer every call within three rings, while others set wait time at 30 seconds, with additional hold time after answering.
Inbound and Outbound
An answering service might only answer basic questions for inbound calls, or it might offer outbound calling services like appointment scheduling.
- Inbound messaging: Most virtual receptionist services offer messaging services and can record incoming calls for later response.
- Inbound full service: Some companies offer live operators to handle more complex questions and sales in addition to customer service.
- Outbound calling: Companies that offer outbound calling might have a service roster that includes sales, appointments and other clerical duties, making these services more like a traditional receptionist.
What are different types of virtual receptionists?
These services may or may not offer a live operator, but they all include message recording. If they do have live operators, messages might be transmitted in a written format, rather than as a recording.
In addition to messaging services, these types of virtual receptionist companies also transfer calls when needed. Transfers might be to a different internal extension, to a landline or a mobile phone.
Most answering services use live operators to interact with callers. Some companies might guarantee the same representatives for every call. Others use a rotating list of potential operators to handle incoming calls.
Scripted call center
When working with a full-service call center, businesses can send in a script that might include sales and customer service best practices.
Inbound and outbound
A virtual receptionist service that includes both inbound and outbound calling might be better described as a virtual assistant. These services often include light clerical duties in addition to handling calls and appointments.
Who's it for?
The cost of maintaining a full-time receptionist might be prohibitive to a small business with a limited budget. Outsourcing this service can help save money and offer 24-hour service.
Health care providers
Many health care providers are required to have an after-hours answering service to handle emergency calls. They need a service that includes transfers and messaging.
These busy professionals may spend many hours out of the office. Having an answering service lets them take inquiries while working with existing customers.
These large companies coordinate work across states and national boundaries, making it challenging to route calls effectively. Rather than staffing a large switchboard, they often find it more cost-effective to work with a third-party call center.
Answer 1 has offered a full range of virtual receptionist services for more than 30 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, it serves international clients and has earned several service awards.
- Best for Health care providers, enterprise companies and expanding small businesses.
Serving more than 15,000 clients worldwide, Davinci Virtual is a full-service solution. It offers a complete range of communications services, along with virtual offices and meeting spaces.
- Best for This full-service, scalable business solution is ideal for small businesses and enterprise companies.
Abby Connect offers U.S. based, off-site, live virtual receptionists that simplify customer service needs for busy professionals and businesses by skillfully handling incoming calls at a reduced cost in comparison to hiring a full-time employee. The company's virtual assistants filter calls through a screening process based on the client's needs to ensure that all necessary calls are transferred to the right people and right departments.
- Best for This service is best for entrepreneurs, small businesses and working professionals such as lawyers or doctors whom are short on time.
Conversational focuses on creating pleasant reception experiences for callers and businesses. They can handle all aspects of reception for small businesses, including taking calls, scheduling appointments and forwarding calls to the right department. Their new virtual assistant service provides additional features such as travel planning, social media marketing and typing correspondence.
- Best for Conversational is best for contractors and small business owners.
LiveVoice offers lead response, customer service and virtual receptionist services to large and small businesses in a variety of industries. It is a part of TeleServices Direct and is headquartered in Illinois.
- Best for LiveVoice has services to meet the needs of businesses in the medical, legal, real-estate and technology industries as well as many other small businesses.
With 28 call centers in North America and hundreds of employees, AnswerNet offers services designed for companies of all sizes.
- Best for This full-service call center solution is best for enterprise companies, health care providers and small businesses.
Serving more than 2,300 businesses and individuals, Ruby Receptionists has focused on providing a human connection to inbound calling since 2003. This company has numerous awards, including the prestigious Fastest Growing Company in Oregon Award, which it has won seven times.
- Best for The personal touch at Ruby Receptionists is ideal for contractors and small businesses.
Founded in 1990, MAP Communications is an employee-owned business, making every operator invested in client success.
- Real-time analytics: See how much value MAP Communications brings by monitoring call volume and other critical metrics in real time.
- Free trial: Try MAP Communications for seven days before committing to its service or a specific pricing level.
- Customized service levels: Instead of predetermined pricing tiers, MAP Communications lets businesses buy as much or as little service as needed.
- Industry compliant: Some industries have regulations that must be followed, and MAP has programs that meet these requirements for health, legal, financial and other industries.
- All day answers: MAP Communications does not close after normal business hours. It answers calls with live operators at all hours of the day or night.
- Best for This custom virtual receptionist service is ideal for small businesses, contractors, health care providers and enterprise companies.
PCMS is a family-owned business that has been operating since 1962. With more than 50 years of experience in answering phones, Professional Communications Messaging Service has a reputation for excellence.
- No hold times: PCMS advertises a faster than industry-average answer time, and it doesn't put calls on hold to handle other clients.
- Custom service and pricing: Businesses receive a customized quote for the exact package of services needed.
- Health and medical specialty: PCMS offers programs designed to meet the needs of health care providers, and it helps doctors meet regulatory requirements.
- Small business and professional plans: While services are customizable, PCMS has packages designed with small businesses and busy professionals in mind.
- Event registration: Not only does PCMS offer a full range of call center services, but it also offers assistance with event planning and registration for out of the ordinary call volume.
- Best for This virtual office solution is designed for small businesses, contractors, health care professionals and enterprise companies.
Intelligent Office is a full-service virtual administrative center that offers a range of services to businesses and professionals in need of messaging services, meeting rooms and more.
- Virtual meeting rooms: Intelligent Office creates virtual meeting spaces where you and your colleagues or clients can talk, exchange files and interact as if in your own meeting space.
- Virtual call center: Service staff are on hand to answer your calls 24/7 and help clients deal with any number of queries, requests and issues.
- Appointment scheduling: Support staff can contact people at your request to arrange appointments and save you time.
- Shared office space: Intelligent Office provides you with shared office space, up to 50 locations in the United States and Canada, to lower your overhead costs.
- Virtual assistance: Virtual assistants are on hand to help you with all kinds of tasks, from event planning to answering emails.
- Best for This service is ideal for small businesses, enterprise companies and contractors.
American Answering Service is a family-owned and operated virtual administration center. The company serves the United States.
- Message faxing: American Answering Service understands that your messaging needs and those of your clients aren't always as simple as using the telephone. For this reason, faxing, email, text messaging and voice mail are included in your package.
- 24-hour service: Clients can reach you at all hours of the day and night, any day of the week.
- Live operator: When they call your office, clients reach a real person who can help them to address any issue.
- Various messaging plans: Plans start as low as $35 per month, with various price points to suit your budget. Packages are based on the number of calls taken by service representatives.
- Contact options: It is easy to get in touch with American Answering Service support via email, fax or telephone.
- Best for This service is ideal for small businesses, enterprise companies and contractors.
ReceptionHQ has been operating since 2007 from Phoenix, Arizona. Its operations stretch across the United States and Canada, as well as through Australia and the United Kingdom.
- Call transfer: Receptionists can transfer calls, at your discretion, to any staff member on a mobile phone or landline, anywhere in the world.
- Flexible contracts: Month-to-month and pay-as-you-go contracts make it easy to change your plan whenever you need.
- Variety of budget plans: Four different packages are offered, from as little as $9.95 per month for a dedicated voice mail account. Custom packages are available upon request.
- Uses provided script: Telephone receptionists will use your provided script when answering calls and responding to customers.
- Answers in three rings: ReceptionHQ has made it their goal to answer at least 90 percent of calls to your business within three rings.
- Best for This service is ideal for small businesses, contractors and enterprise companies.
AnswerConnect is a virtual customer service and reception network that turns the traditional call center on its head. Service providers are all U.S.-based, working from their homes to cut down on commuting, polluting and wasted paper.
- Best for This service is ideal for enterprise companies, small businesses and contractors.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
11 – 13 Most Reviewed Virtual Receptionist
American Answering Service provides answering services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The company offers price-tiered plans that include text messaging and emails as well as virtual phone answering services.
|Read Expert Review|
ReceptionHQ offers a range of virtual receptionist services. Clients can choose service plans that match their specific needs. New clients can also take advantage of a seven-day free trial that does not require credit cards.
|Read Expert Review|
AnswerConnect provides 24/7 live answering services so client companies never have to seem closed to their customers. The HIPAA-trained staff can notify clients via SMS or take messages during clients' busiest hours.