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Virtual Receptionists: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A virtual receptionist is a service that is increasing in popularity, especially in this world of small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

For those who are considering hiring one, knowing what to look for, what to expect, and any potential problems can be the difference between getting help and continuing to struggle alone.

American Express found that having a “pleasant representative” to speak to was essential to 68% of callers’ whole phone experience. Furthermore, 63% of people want to speak to a person when they’re having a problem, 40% of them over the phone. According to Destination CRM, 80% of callers will simply hang up if they reach a voicemail. 

So ensuring you have a knowledgeable, pleasant, professional person answering the phone can be the difference between a thriving business and eking out a living. That’s why many small businesses are turning to virtual receptionist services to help them out.

The Ugly

If you’re the kind who likes to walk around your floor, observing employees, finding and fixing problems as they arise, a virtual receptionist service may not be the best for you. It’s difficult to micromanage over the phone and can also harm your business. After all, how can the receptionist service answer the phones if they’re always having to field calls from you? 

Virtual services are also not ideal for any company that needs to have an expert answering the phones. No matter how well trained a virtual receptionist may be, they are answering calls for a variety of businesses. It’s simply impossible, and holding them to impossible standards, to expect that level of knowledge.

If any of these sound like you or your company’s needs, going with a virtual service could be a disaster, and at best, ugly for your business.

The Bad

You need a service that regularly trains their staff and has a solid process for finding all your information and crafting a great opening statement. If you happen to go with a company that is haphazard or sees high staff turnover, it could hurt your business more than if you’d simply let all those calls go to voicemail.

Shop around before hiring a service. Don’t go for the first ones you see, instead, ask questions, check them out, and see if you can speak to a current client. Also, make sure they have some kind of money back guarantee before signing a contract. Too many companies aren’t up front about the fine print, and they don’t leave you a way out without spending even more money to break a contract.

Knowledge and planning help you avoid the pitfalls that plague so many small businesses. Don’t make a bad choice because you’re desperate or in a tough spot.

The Good

Entrepreneurs and small businesses finally have a way to compete with bigger businesses. If you’ve been suffering because you can’t afford full-time help, a virtual receptionist from a reputable company can actually pay for themselves. 

When you need someone to answer the phones, take messages, make appointments and transfer the calls, a virtual receptionist service is perfect. You can now rest easy, knowing your phones are being answered in a personable, professional way, and that your clients are being taken care of until you’re back on the clock. 

A company that’s backed by excellent reviews, has a reputation for excellence, and staff that’s been there long-term can take your business to the next level while making you money.


Knowing what kind of work you need before you speak to a virtual receptionist service can save you time and a headache later on. Being realistic about who you are and how you work can help you choose the right company for you. 

Once you’ve made the choice, trust yourself enough to know you’ve made the best choice for your business. Seeing results won’t happen overnight. Track the changes, understand how long it will take ahead of time, and grow your business.

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