How does a virtual answering service work for small business?

Virtual Answering Services are an essential tool for small businesses that are looking to improve their customer service without hiring an expensive in-house receptionist or representative. Some people know them as virtual receptionists, live receptionists, receptionist services, and more. In the end, they all do the same thing: field any inbound communication to your business with professionalism and excellent customer service.


There is no secret to what is behind a virtual answering service. A virtual receptionist company is comprised by a team of motivated agents that field in your calls, messages, and webchats with support of a scripting software. The agent’s training along with a careful script development allows the answering service company to adequately follow your desired protocol upon answering your calls.

Typically, protocols include the following features:

  • Message taking:

    The quintessential solution a virtual answering service provides. Operators are trained to collect information from the caller to then relay to you a detailed message with validated information. Different message templates can ensure that particular questions or information that is important to your business is not missed upon collecting the messages from your callers.

  • Call patching/routing:

    In some cases, you may want to take certain calls yourself. Or perhaps the situation the caller is calling about exceeds the limitations of the virtual answering service representative. In such situations, operators can patch a call to you or route that call to the appropriate person in your team. Patching is typically done “warmly,” which means that the operator will let you know who is on the line and what they want before putting them through. If you do not want to take the call, you can let the virtual answering service representative know. The representative will then, politely, let your caller know you are unavailable and take a message.
  • Appointment scheduling:

    Entrepreneurs in the service industry (legal services, health and wellness, HVAC, plumbing, etc) are not always able to take a call. Often, the first step in their process to provide services is to schedule an initial consultation or site visit for a quote. This is a very straight forward task and one that can definitely be trusted to a virtual answering service. Virtual Answering Services will adapt to the calendar software you may be most comfortable with and schedule your callers and potential clients through a link you can provide. That way, whenever someone calls, you are not missing out on an opportunity because you were unable to schedule them at the first chance you had.
  • After hours answering:

    Your client’s needs may not sleep but you do! Having a virtual answering service to field late night calls is the perfect solution for the business that wants a balanced life while able to provide a necessary 24/7 service.  Your virtual answering service can take in those calls and decide whether the call should be regarded as an emergency and contact you or just take a message so you can take care of it tomorrow.
  • Overflow answering:
    All businesses have rushes. Sometimes these are seasonal, sometimes daily, weekly, or monthly. Either way, maybe your staff is just not enough for those rushes. Hiring a virtual answering service for overflow answering ensures that the calls that exceeded your team’s capacity do not go unanswered. Let your virtual answering service answer those calls and follow a protocol approved by you to best serve your clients.
Small Business Answering Services
  • Frequently Asked Questions:
    Calls will often be about a quick question. Do not let these calls deter you from your daily agenda. A virtual answering service can easily answer those calls and any frequently asked questions that may come with them. If a caller has a question that is not within your FAQs, the virtual answering service operator can either take a message, schedule them, or patch them through to you.
  • Order and Support ticket processing:

    If you have made an investment in an online solution to take in orders or support tickets, then you should also make an investment in a virtual answering service that can ease your client’s path to enter in their orders or support tickets. Virtual answering service operators can easily access these links and input the necessary information as they have your client on the line.

Some businesses seek a virtual answering service for just one of these features. Others may set up a solution with a combination of them. What is important is to remember that virtual answering services are flexible. As your needs change, so can your virtual answering service provider. 

If you too are looking for a virtual receptionist for your small business then, consider Easybee’s small business virtual answering services. Easybee’s small business virtual receptionist will manage all the important calls and offer clients with best-quality service they need. Want to know more about how to develop your brand with Easybee? Check out our guide to optimize your business reputation with customers.

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