Dedicated Virtual Receptionists For Your Front Desk: Expectations Vs. Reality
While many jobs have been able to adapt to the remote work trend, it’s hard to process how a “virtual front desk” works. People are often more familiar with live receptionists at the front desk, so the idea of virtualizing the front desk spawns a lot of thoughts about what to expect.
Some perceptions may be far-fetched or exaggerate certain aspects of a virtual front desk. If you’re thinking of transitioning your current front desk to a remote setup, it’s best to know the realities behind a virtual front desk in order to manage your expectations.
Here are some common expectations of virtual receptionists and the reality behind each one:
5 Expectations About Dedicated Virtual Receptionists
Expectation #1: They’re Always On The Screen
Virtual receptionists perform the same way as in-person receptionists. This means customers will always see virtual receptionists on the screen the moment they walk in.
Like in-person receptionists, virtual receptionists are always available at the front desk to take customer queries. However, they only appear on the screen after the visitor interacts with the healthcare kiosk, which is typical in platforms like WelcomeWare.
This gives you a significant advantage — instead of always being visually present at one front desk, your virtual receptionists can appear on prompt at multiple desks seamlessly. This enables you to leverage the same front desk team for all of your locations, no matter where they are.
Expectation #2: They Never Take Time Off
Virtual receptionists will often work from their homes. This means they never have to take time off for vacation or personal emergencies and are always available to attend the front desk.
Taking time off is a right of every employee, whether they’re working in the office or at home. Like all of your other staff, your virtual receptionists are entitled to take days off for vacation, sickness, or emergencies.
In fact, in-person receptionists take time off because of the tedium of their work. The wear and tear of daily preparation and commuting can lead to burnout.
By allowing your receptionists to go virtual, you can reduce their stress and allow them to be far more productive and perform better.
Expectation #3: You Need To Hire New Employees For Dedicated Virtual Receptionists
Virtual receptionists and in-person receptionists exist in different categories. If I want to virtualize my front desk, I’ll have to replace my current one with a dedicated virtual receptionist service.
Integrating a virtual front desk into your business does not require hiring a new receptionist team. Platforms like WelcomeWare are simple and intuitive to use, and you only need to train your current front desk team to enable them to work properly.
On the other hand, if you also need to staff your front desk as well, some providers offer their own pool of dedicated receptionists. WelcomeWare, for example, has a roster of front desk experts who are trained in the platform and are ready to deploy to a business after 2 weeks of training.
Expectation #4: Dedicated Virtual Receptionists Lack The Human Touch
Putting receptionists on the screen instead of behind a physical front desk? The front desk will lose the human touch! Smiles and conversations through a screen are never the same as in-person. It will be like just having self-service kiosks instead.
Dedicated virtual receptionists actually retain the human touch – the only difference is that they’re on a screen.
And unlike self-service kiosks, virtual receptionists are capable of dealing with complex situations and tasks. They can perform the following tasks that kiosks are unable to do:
Handling scheduling issues and customer grievances
Guiding customers with their financing options
Helping elderly customers or customers with disabilities who may have a hard time using the kiosk
Expectation #5: Having Virtual Receptionists Worsens Company Culture
Virtualizing the front desk means fewer in-person employees at the workplace, which can cause the company culture to deteriorate.
If remote work affects the company culture, then there are much deeper issues than where your employees work. What defines a company is not geographical differences but shared goals and values.
Turning your front desk virtual may actually strengthen your company culture. Besides letting your receptionists work in a remote setup, it enables them to operate multiple front desks simultaneously.
Having the same receptionists work on your entire front desk operations without much expense to their health does more than build their skillset – it establishes a strong foundation of trust, loyalty, and, ultimately, cohesion to the company culture.
What Can You Expect About Virtual Receptionists?
- Lower quality care
- Patient dissatisfaction
- Provider turnover
Letting front desk staff perform administrative work allows providers to focus more on their patients while reducing provider burnout. Unfortunately, receptionist staffing continues to be a challenge itself due to:
- Long hiring times – Hiring and training a receptionist takes 3-6 months
- Short tenures – On average, a receptionist leaves after 12 months of employment
- Receptionist unavailability – Receptionists may become suddenly absent, have personal emergencies, or be out sick
Dedicated virtual receptionists allow you to address the challenges of receptionist staffing. With a live-streaming receptionist platform like WelcomeWare, you can utilize your receptionists to remotely cover multiple locations simultaneously.
Besides having higher availability than in-person receptionists, leveraging virtual receptionists has other benefits, such as:
- Longer tenure – The prospect of working from home encourages virtual receptionists to stay longer at your company
- Minimized headcount – You can leverage a single front desk team for your entire practice or organization
- Wider candidate pool – When hiring new receptionists, you can now access other potential receptionists that were previously inaccessible due to geographical constraints
Experience The Reality of Dedicated Virtual Receptionists
To harness the benefits of having a virtual front desk, it’s essential to manage your expectations. Ensuring that you install the appropriate equipment is another crucial factor for successfully transitioning your current front desk.
For best results, use a virtual receptionist platform like WelcomeWare to enable your receptionists to go virtual.
See your receptionists work in (virtual) actionWelcomeWare can bring your virtual front desk into a reality
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