What Really is a Virtual Receptionist?

If you’re like me, you were probably surprised (or relieved!) to learn that not every administrative task has to take place at your business’s physical location. In fact, a lot of tasks can be done remotely by a virtual receptionist.

But what about your front office staff? Don’t they take care of all the office tasks? 

Yes and no. Their roles and responsibilities constantly evolve and their bandwidth is never slim. There are always customers who need help, callers that need to schedule an appointment, mail that needs to be sent out, and eventually calls get missed and the customer experience starts to suffer. No fault to your staff, work just gets busy.

What Is a Virtual Receptionist?

For the past few years, a brand-new administrative role has emerged — the virtual receptionist. I know, when I first heard the term, I thought … how? So, what is a virtual receptionist? It’s a live person performing many of the traditional functions of an in-office receptionist, such as answering the phone, scheduling appointments, taking contact information, and routing calls.

What Is NOT a Virtual Receptionist?

I’ve found that one of my favorite aspects of virtual receptionists is that business owners don’t have to answer their phones if they don’t want to! Just kidding. But in all seriousness, a virtual receptionist does offer this freedom. These professionals are extremely flexible and perform many tasks in a customized manner to meet your business’s needs, such as:

  • Answer phone calls
  • Block unwanted or spam calls
  • Gather caller information
  • Schedule appointments
  • Call announcement and transfer

But a virtual receptionist can’t do everything, so you shouldn’t look at this as a glorified manner of outsourcing. For instance, they are NOT an in-house secretary or virtual assistant. They won’t send a handwritten note to a customer on your behalf or edit your current outgoing correspondence. A virtual receptionist also won’t:

  • Perform targeting research on your customers
  • Make outgoing calls to customers or clients
  • Perform any type of filing activities

I know, but that’s the reason why they’re called virtual receptionists. 😉


How Do I Know If I Need a Virtual Receptionist?

You know it’s time to hire a virtual receptionist if your business is experiencing any one of the following:

  • You get a lot of phone calls throughout the day.
  • The phone calls you receive take too much time away from the core reason for your business.
  • Your front-office staff is constantly busy.
  • You need backup for weekends, holidays, or just in general.

In all these instances, getting a virtual receptionist actually impacts your business’ bottom line and increases your ROI.

How Does a Virtual Receptionist Company Function?

So you have a better understanding of virtual receptionists, let me tell you how a virtual receptionist company functions.

I should preface this information before I continue.

The functions, services, and responsibilities I outline are what our virtual receptionists deliver. Abby Connect is the #1 rated virtual receptionist service and leader in features and capabilities, so other virtual receptionist services may not offer this breadth of services or level of quality.


Virtual receptionists work in dedicated teams with success managers and development leaders. Success managers ensure premium quality service is met, development leaders are constantly training receptionists, and dedicated teams allow virtual receptionists to be specifically trained on each business’ brand and service offerings.

Virtual receptionists often work 8-hour shifts, but a virtual receptionist company runs 24/7. If a virtual receptionist’s shift overlaps during your busiest hours, is on a lunch break, or is on the phone with one of your other customers, then other virtual receptionists on the team pick up so you never leave a customer waiting.

Plus, you never have to worry that a virtual receptionist will say the wrong thing — they are constantly trained on the specific offering and brand of your business. This custom training and intuitive scripting guides them through an entire phone call, no matter what a customer may have called for. You work directly with your team’s dedicated manager to customize the script to your business.

Virtual Receptionist Services and Responsibilities

Since our receptionists are based in the United States, your customers will never know they haven’t reached someone physically located in your office. We constantly hear from our clients that callers never know they are speaking to an outsourced receptionist.

The tasks your virtual receptionist can perform include:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Sharing basic info with customers who call
  • Taking and relaying messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Screening calls
  • Transferring and routing calls
  • Prequalifying sales leads or potential customers
  • Helping customers place their orders

Depending on the nature of your business, your receptionist may even be able to offer tech support for your callers. You can add basic troubleshooting to your intuitive script. And if you opt for round-the-clock receptionist service, your customers will always be able to get the assistance they need.

Benefits of a Virtual Receptionist

All of the above sounds pretty great by itself, huh?

But that’s not all your virtual receptionist can do. Having one of these professionals in your stable means you get the following benefits:

1. Internal Resources Are Freed Up

You and your in-house employees likely wear many “hats” — having to man the telephone as well can eat into precious time that’s better spent doing other, more important tasks. A virtual receptionist allows you to get some of your time back to focus on what’s most pressing.

2. Customers Have a Better Experience

A great virtual receptionist offers prompt and professional answers to your calls. They “get” you! They’ll represent your brand exactly as you intend, which can have a great effect on overall customer satisfaction.

Recommended Article: What Do You Get with Great CX?

3. Customers Can Reach You No Matter What Time It Is

What if you’re only open during regular, traditional business hours — who will answer your phone on the weekend or after hours? Virtual receptionists ensure your customers still get the same treatment as though they’d called you during normal business hours. In fact, your virtual receptionist might even be able to answer your customers’ questions so well, all issues could be resolved before you even open up the next day.

4. Appointment Schedules Are Streamlined

I know, setting appointments is a hectic and tedious process. Add in several employees all working on this at the same time and in different systems, and it can become quite the jumbled mess. Placing this task in your virtual receptionist’s list of duties unifies the entire process, keeps everyone on the same page, and makes sure everyone is notified at the appropriate time for upcoming appointments. Appointment reminders can be delivered, effectively reducing no-shows or cancelations at the last minute.

5. You Look More Professional

Hiring an in-house receptionist can be costly, and you’re not likely to find one that will stay after hours. But having a virtual receptionist gives your business a prestigious appearance. When one of our virtual receptionists answers your calls, your customers will feel your business is formal and professional. We can reinforce your brand’s professionalism and give you the best in customer service.

Are you interested in learning more about how Abby Connect can help you with a live, virtual receptionist? Listen to a call recording to immediately experience a receptionist or sign up for our free 14-day trial!

Written by

Christal Harrison

Christal Harrison

Christal joined Abby Connect in 2020 at the height of the pandemic as a receptionist. After experiencing such a different culture and care for employees than previous places of employment, Christal very quickly grew a passion for wanting to share with everyone how "The Abby Way" can revolutionize their business's customer experience. She began learning how to uphold its brand and manage its reputation, and became Abby Connect's Brand & Reputation Specialist. Christal's personal mission is to continue to create and nurture the connections that Abby Connect has made with its new and existing clients as well as Abby Connect's employees. Outside of work, Christal enjoys spending her free time with her son and working on a variety of art projects.