Virtual Receptionist London, Virtual Receptionist – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Virtual Receptionist service?
Virtual Receptionist is a Live Telephone Answering Service where a friendly, professional receptionist answers your phone and handles your calls exactly as you require. Just like if you had your own receptionist in-house. In fact it is that real, clients will think the receptionist is sitting in your office.
How does the receptionist service work?
With our receptionist service you simply allocate yourself a local phone number during the FREE Trial sign up process and that is the number that we know your business by. Whether clients call that number directly, or you divert any other number (local, 0800 / your mobile etc) to that number, we will answer and handle your calls instantly.
If I sign up for a Free Trial is it totally FREE and no obligation to continue?
The FREE Trial is totally FREE and there is NO Obligation to continue with the service– after the Free Trial. Whether you have 1 or 81 staff, all staff can be set up in the Free Trial to receive calls and messages and it is ALL totally FREE.
We already have a phone number (local 0800 etc). Does that matter?
No. Most of our 5,000+ worldwide live answering service clients are existing businesses with an existing phone number that they have been using for years on their business cards and web site etc. When you set up the Free Trial with us you issue yourself a local phone number. This is the number we know your business by. You simply call forward / divert your existing telephone number to that phone number and instantly we are answering and handling your calls exactly as your own in-house receptionist would.
Is it true there are no security deposits or set up fees?
Yes it is true. There are NO security deposits and NO set up fees during or after the Free Trial.
There are no long term contracts (i.e. it’s month to month) but can I cease the service at any time without penalty?
We offer a month to month agreement, there are no long term contracts. You can change plans at any time for FREE to suit your call volumes and you can CEASE the service at any time by giving us just one working days notice. There are NO Cancellation Fees. We believe this puts the onus on us to perform. We aim to answer and handle every phone call exactly how you require. If we don’t meet your expectations it is FREE to cancel the service instantly! You simply ask us to cancel the service and that’s it. No questions asked.
What’s the difference between Virtual Receptionist and Message Express?
With the Virtual Receptionist service a live receptionist answers and routes your calls exactly as you require such that callers will think our receptionist is sitting in your office. So a typical greeting might be: “Good morning/afternoon [your company name], Jenny speaking, how may I help you?”
Calls can be introduced and transferred to the relevant staff member or a message taken which is instantly sent via email and / or SMS to the relevant staff member.
The receptionists are also able to provide callers with information about your company such as your address, web site address, what your business does, your fax number etc.
The Message Express Message Service still has a live receptionist answering the phone in your business name but the greeting must be:
“Good morning/afternoon [your company name]. May I have your message please?”
This gives callers the impression we are an answering service. The receptionist cannot answer any questions but merely takes a message which can be emailed and / or SMS’d to you. Calls cannot be introduced and transferred to you or staff with the Message Express Service.
You can upgrade to the Virtual Receptionist service at any time from the Message Express Message Service and vice versa.
Is there a difference between the Virtual Receptionist service during normal business hours and the 24×7 service?
At all times there is a Live Receptionist answering your calls exactly as you require. During normal business hours (i.e. Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm excluding public holidays) if your status in the system is set to “Available for Call Transfers” our Australian based receptionists will introduce and transfer calls to you, wherever you are. If you do not wish to take the call, you are unavailable or the caller is ringing after hours (i.e. outside normal business hours), the receptionist will take a message and forward it you to by SMS and / or Email as you require.
If I sign up for the Free Trial, how long before your receptionists can be answering my calls?
Instantly. It takes two or three minutes to set up the Free Trial. So literally we can be answering and handling your phone calls in a few minutes from now.
How long does it take to set up?
You are able to start using the service immediately after it has been set up which usually takes just a few minutes. As soon as it is set up we immediately start answering and handling your telephone calls.
Do you allocate my business with a local telephone number and is it used exclusively for our business?
Yes we do allocate an exclusive phone number to each client. That is the number that we know your business by. Hence we know how to answer the phone and handle your calls exactly as you require. This telephone number can be your main business number that you use on your business cards, letterhead, web site, advertising promotions etc. If you have an existing phone number, like most of our 2,500+ Virtual Receptionist clients, you simply call forward this on busy, no answer or permanently to the number we allocate you whereupon our receptionists will be answering your calls.
Am I able to upgrade or downgrade (i.e. change plans) as my call volumes vary from time to time?
Yes. You are able to upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time to suit your call volumes which can vary from month to month. It is FREE to change plans.
How do I know which plan I should be on to ensure I am paying only for what I really need?
With our Answering Service you are able to login to your account at any time and view your Usage Report which details by month EVERY phone call that we have ever answered. This allows you to see exactly how many calls you are receiving, who called, what we did with the call, messages sent etc. That way you can decide what plan is optimal for you at the time based on your actual call volumes. It is FREE to change plans, up or down, as your call volumes vary.
How do we pay for the Virtual Receptionist Live Answering Service?
Our billing system is fully automated. We accept credit card payment only including AMEX, Mastercard and Visa. All invoices are available to be viewed online and printed / reprinted at any time by you via the web. Invoices are also emailed to you each month to save paper.
We do have account customers if you don’t have a credit card but because this process is not automated we require at least 3 months of subscriptions in advance EFT’d to our bank account for account customers.
Are your receptionists able to introduce and transfer calls to the relevant staff member?
Yes. Our clients range from those with 2, 3 and 5 staff to those with 40, 50 and more staff. Just like your own in-house receptionist would, calls can be introduced to the relevant staff member and transferred to that staff member if they wish to take the call. Whether staff are at their desk in the office, at home, overseas or on the mobile, our receptionists can transfer calls to them. If staff are unavailable or do not wish to take the call, our receptionists will take a message which can be emailed and / or sent instantly by SMS to the relevant staff member/s. Via our online portal you are able to update staff details, availability and message settings at any time via the web.
Are you able to answer just some of our phone calls?
Yes. This is referred to as “call overflow”. A lot of companies require their phone calls to be answered only when they are unable to take the call themselves. This could be if you step out of the office for an hour, you are busy on another call, go to lunch or simply because you have multiple calls coming in at the one time. Simply divert your existing phone number (to the unique local phone number we allocate your business during the Free Trial setup process) on busy, no answer (e.g. after say 5 rings) or permanently. That way you are always in control and can relax knowing you will never miss another call.
Am I able to use the service just when I need to (i.e. for a day, a week, a month?)
Yes. A lot of our 5,000+ clients use the service as an overflow for when they are unable to take calls or when their own in-house receptionist is at lunch, sick or on annual leave. Our Live Answering Service is like an “on tap” receptionist that you can use for an hour, a day, a week or whenever you need to. You only pay for what you use so it is also very economical.
What type of client does the Virtual Receptionist service typically cater for?
Any business that requires a professional receptionist to answer and route their telephone calls. Our 5,000+ clients include accountants, lawyers, printers, franchisors, franchisees, recruitment firms, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, IT software, IT consultants, IT hardware engineers, cleaners, marketing agencies, public relations agencies, home businesses, commercial property, real estate agents, web based businesses, business consultants, training companies, shuttle (car / bus) services, restaurants as well as medium size companies with hundreds of staff.
Can you just take messages?
Yes. Our receptionists can answer calls and explain that you are in a meeting or with a client. She will take a message and forward this message to you or the relevant staff member/s by email and / or SMS instantly.
If one of our clients asks the receptionist a question, is she able to answer it?
Yes, our receptionists are able to answer basic questions that callers would expect your receptionist to know (e.g. directions to your premises, your street address, your postal address, fax number, web site, what your business does, the title of a particular staff member and such general questions). Even if you are overseas or on leave, as long as you let the receptionists know by updating your Operator Notes within your account, they will be able to tell the caller the answer i.e. when you will be back etc. Remember, callers will think your Virtual Receptionist is actually sitting in your office. So it is critical our receptionists know these basic answers. You are able to update information on your company or your personal status instantly at any time via the web which ensures the receptionists always have the information necessary to answer basic questions.
Can you Transfer Calls through to some staff and send Messages to other staff? Can we amend this status at any time?
Yes. Whether you have 1, 2 or 102 staff, each staff member has their own settings in the Virtual Receptionist system. Staff can be “Available for Call Transfer” or “Do Not Disturb”. This status can be changed by staff members at any time via the web. If a staff member is “Available for Call Transfer” the receptionist will attempt to call them on one of 3 “Find Me Numbers” (i.e. their mobile, desk extension, home office etc) and introduce the call. If you wish, the call can be transferred to you. If you do not want to take the call, are unavailable (i.e. say your mobile is turned off) the receptionist will take a message which will be sent instantly to the staff member as per their settings (i.e. by email and / or SMS). If your status is set to “Do Not Disturb” the receptionist will not even attempt to call you to introduce the call, they will simply take a message and forward it to you as per your settings (i.e. by SMS and / or Email).
Can messages be sent to multiple email addresses and multiple mobile numbers?
Yes messages taken can be sent to multiple email addresses and / or multiple mobile numbers. You are able to amend the email address/s and mobile number/s receiving messages instantly at any time via the web.
Can I sign up for just the Virtual Receptionist service and nothing else?
Yes. Each of our Virtual Office services are independent of each other in the sense you can have just the Virtual Receptionist service and nothing else or you can add say a Prestigious Mail Address for a total Virtual Office solution.
Where are you based? and are your Receptionists based in The UK?
We have been established in the UK for over 5 years with a base in Basingstoke.
During normal business hours (i.e. Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm excluding public holidays) our UK based receptionists answer phones and handle calls.
For those clients who require a 24/7 service, calls outside normal business hours are answered and handled by either our US receptionists or Australian receptionists depending on the time of the call.
Is it true the pricing quoted on your web site includes a local telephone number?
Yes. When you set up the receptionist service (e.g. the Free Trial) you allocate yourself a local telephone number. This is the phone number that we know your business by, so we can answer and handle your calls exactly as you require. Whether callers ring the unique phone number we allocate your business (e.g. if you are a start up business and don’t have an existing phone number you may advertise that number as your number), or you divert any other number to it, we will be answering your calls. The phone number we allocate your business is included as part of the subscription price.
For a national presence, can I have more than one local phone number (i.e. additional numbers for other cities?)
Yes. We are able to add additional local phone numbers nationally including all major cities giving clients the impression that you’re operating locally in a particular city. Of course with multiple numbers around the UK it appears you are operating nationally.
If we hire more staff how long before they can receive calls and messages?
We are able to add additional staff instantly so new staff can be receiving calls and messages. Whether you have 1, 2 or 202 staff our Live Answering Service is able to cater for your Live Answering needs.
What does it cost for the 24/7 Virtual Receptionist service?
If you require the 24×7 service it is FREE to have the service activated. All calls answered, irrespective of the time of day, are counted as part of your Virtual Receptionist monthly plan allowance.