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What is a virtual receptionist? How can one help your business?

A virtual receptionist is an outsourced call handler who manages phone calls as an external service provider on behalf of a business, exactly as if they are based within the business itself.

This role operates in very much the same way as an in-house receptionist; with a dedicated team of call handlers who get to know the business, how it operates and the precise way in which calls should be answered, so that a caller remains unaware that they are speaking to a third party.

Virtual receptionists are utilised globally by companies of all sizes and across a wide variety of industries, proving to be an effective solution for companies looking to enhance their customer experience and scale their business affordably.

Below we will take a look in more detail at the role of a virtual receptionist and what value having one will bring to your business.

What does a virtual receptionist do?

The duties of a virtual receptionist can range from taking messages and directing callers to the right people, to intercepting unwanted sales calls, providing important information to customers and even managing inbound sales enquiries.

The difference between a virtual receptionist and a call centre agent is simple: a virtual receptionist functions as part of your team, and to outsiders, appears to be based in your office. A call centre, on the other hand, can’t offer the same personalised service and will transfer their client’s calls to whichever agent is available at the time.

Unlike the rotation of agents in a call centre, a virtual receptionist will get to know you and your business, providing the continuity of service that gives regular callers the chance to build strong relationships with your brand.

If your virtual receptionist is busy helping another one of your callers or enjoying a well-deserved break, your service provider will ensure overflow calls are managed by a small team of supporting receptionists (who also know your business), so your customers always hear a familiar voice. This personalised service makes a huge difference to the way your brand is perceived and saves the time and money it would take for you to manage your own in-house receptionist.

What are the benefits of using a virtual receptionist?

Improved customer service

Every business, from sole traders and SMEs to multinational corporations, should prioritise providing excellent customer service. Happy customers might tell their friends, but you can be almost certain that an unhappy one will shout it from the rooftops. Negative reviews can be detrimental to business and difficult to recover from. A major benefit of having a virtual receptionist is the high-quality experience they will deliver every time someone contacts your business – giving you peace of mind that your customers are always looked after, even when you’re unavailable.

Never miss a call

If you’re too busy to answer the phone, there’s no engaged tone or endless ringing. Your callers will speak to a real person who makes your business sound great every time.

Missed calls could mean a significant number of missed opportunities. Sobering research from BT Business has estimated that businesses lose an astounding £1,200 for each missed call, a virtual receptionist will ensure every call is answered and leads are always captured. You can even ask your virtual receptionist to answer those vital calls made out of office hours.

To find out exactly how much missed calls could be costing your business, use our free call calculator.

Reduced costs

For a fraction of the cost of an in-house hire, a virtual receptionist will improve productivity by freeing up your time and giving you the flexibility to use them only when you need – this could be 24/7, at peak times or outside of your regular office hours. They will act as a gatekeeper for unsolicited sales calls and capture every new enquiry that might otherwise be missed.

Put simply, a virtual receptionist saves you money, wins new business and makes you look good. What’s not to like?

Choosing the perfect virtual receptionist

Finding your virtual receptionist should be a fairly straightforward process. You simply need to identify the company that will provide the most relevant service. Some of the key things to look out for when looking will include:

  • 24/7 capabilities
  • Dedicated PAs to answer your calls
  • Experienced and knowledgeable call handlers
  • Industry-specific departments
  • A strong reputation
  • Ease of use (provide updates to your receptionist, at any time)
  • Supporting technology such as online portal and mobile app

Moneypenny’s virtual receptionist services

At Moneypenny, we hire extraordinary people whose infectiously positive attitudes and world-class training make them the perfect fit for your business.

With our virtual receptionist service, you will have a dedicated Moneypenny PA (aka your virtual receptionist) who is based in the UK, understands your customers’ needs and knows how you like to work. If you’re out of the office or just too busy to answer, calls will pass seamlessly to your Moneypenny PA. Depending on your needs and availability, the caller can either be transferred to you wherever you are or leave a message that will be sent right away via text or email.

Even better, our clients also gain access to the Moneypenny portal and mobile app, both of which come with their own unique features. So, whether you want to update your PA on the move, make and receive free calls through the app or view a record of calls received, our virtual receptionist service will truly go above and beyond expectations.

Try our full service for free 

Find out if a virtual receptionist is right for you. Experience our full service FREE for one week with no set-up costs, no admin charges and absolutely no ongoing commitment. Call us today on 0333 202 1005 to get started.

We give you amazing people and technology:


Your own Moneypenny PA to answer calls exactly as if based in your office.

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Live Chat

Amazing people, briefed by you to manage chats whenever you can't.

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Pocket Phone System

All the functions and support of an office phone system, minus the hardware.

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