As a small business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the fast pace of daily operations. Many business owners struggle to manage the demands of projects, staff, clients, finances, and more. But hiring an on-site assistant is expensive and often adds further complications to an already hectic day. So how can you work more efficiently while providing your customers with the personal service they expect?

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs have found that virtual receptionist services provide the right balance between costs, customer service, and efficient handling of basic service needs. Shifting a load of reception services from a manager to a virtual receptionist allows them to focus on running their business, supervising employees, and serving customers. Furthermore, it ensures that all incoming calls are answered quickly and efficiently by a live person.

Today's virtual reception services are smarter than the traditional call center or answering service, offering only basic message-taking functions and having no real understanding of individual business needs. In contrast, a virtual receptionist communicates with clients using a company-specific language and offers additional services such as call transfers (with the ability to change your forwarding number as you move from your office to your cell phone), order entry (to serve customers who want to reorder supplies or services) and appointment scheduling (typically real-time online scheduling software is used so that you and the service are aware of current entries).

To personalize the service for an individual company, many virtual receptionists work from a script developed in conjunction with a company representative. This ensures that your receptionist service has the information that you want to be presented to your clients and potential clients; whether you want to give directions, answers to frequently asked questions, or simply have your customers greeted with a friendly voice.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to a small business owner is the affordability of the services available. With packages starting at a few dollars a day, it's hard to argue for their exceptional value. Look for providers that don't require a contract and offer advanced features like call reporting/analytics (to track call volume) and email message delivery.