Virtual Receptionists vs Traditional Receptionists

Virtual Receptionists vs Traditional Receptionists

What are the differences and similarities between virtual receptionists vs traditional receptionists? This is a question we get frequently from potential and new clients. Some already have a traditional receptionist and want to see if the grass is truly greener on the other side; some aren’t sure yet if they’re going to hire a virtual or traditional receptionist. Some are simply curious.

This post will answer all your questions about virtual receptionists vs traditional receptionists. Let’s start with the similarities between the two.

Virtual Receptionists vs Traditional Receptionists: Similarities

Both virtual receptionists and traditional receptionists handle basic administrative tasks: Answering the phone, greeting customers, managing appointments and calendars, and offering basic customer service.

Both virtual and traditional receptionists result in your callers being greeted in a customized manner by a live human being (trust us, this is very important if you want satisfied customers!).

Both virtual and traditional receptionists ensure that you don’t have to answer the phone yourself, which can appear unprofessional to callers and make your business seem smaller than it really is.

These are the similarities between virtual receptionists vs traditional receptionists. Now, let’s take a look at the differences – this is where it begins to become apparent which option is the most effective and beneficial for small businesses.

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Virtual Receptionists vs Traditional Receptionists: Differences


Availability can differ between virtual receptionists vs traditional receptionists, so keep the following differences in mind.

A traditional receptionist usually works 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. If a traditional receptionist ends up working more than 40 hours per week, you are legally required to pay them overtime, which can get costly very quickly. A traditional receptionist working in-house will also need to take federally-mandated lunch breaks, 15-minute breaks, sick days, vacations, holidays off, etc. This creates an availability issue that can leave you in tight spot when your receptionist suddenly needs the day or week off.

A virtual receptionist has a schedule based on when you need them available – whether that’s after-hours, mornings only, every other weekday, full-time, or just when your in-house receptionist is taking vacation. Conversational allows you to customize and change your virtual receptionist schedule any time.

Virtual receptionists don’t take lunch breaks, 15-minute breaks, sick days, or vacation time. The Conversational team ensures you always have a virtual receptionist available during your scheduled times. The availability of a virtual receptionist can’t be matched by traditional receptionists.

Overall cost

Cost is the area where virtual receptionists vs traditional receptionists really differ.

PayScale notes that in October 2016 (the most recent data available) the nationwide average salary for a full-time traditional receptionist was $25,920. That figure does not include the additional cost of hiring a traditional receptionist: Benefits, insurance, bonuses, and miscellaneous costs of having a receptionist use office space and materials for the job.

Additionally, traditional receptionists that work full-time must take a daily lunch break of at least 30 minutes along with two 15-minute breaks throughout the day. It adds up to a lot of downtime that you end up paying for.

While virtual receptionist prices vary widely based on the provider, Conversational’s pricing is straightforward and offers some of the best value in the industry. Conversational offers 3 tiered plans to fit any business’ need or budget, ranging from $159/month (100 minutes) to $699/month (500 minutes).

And because you pay only for the minutes your virtual receptionist actually spends on the phone (no downtime!), the minutes included with your plan last much longer than you might imagine. Additionally, Conversational offers every new client a free 30 day trial including 1,000 minutes so you can try the service risk-free.

Consistency and reliability

The consistency and reliability of virtual receptionists vs traditional receptionists is noticeable.

Traditional receptionists may be consistent and reliable (depending on who you hire), but as mentioned above, regular issues like sick days, vacation time, high industry turnover rates, and more can make working with a traditional receptionist a bit of a gamble. This also leave the management of your receptionist to us. Taking the management off your plate can save you time and costs to allow you to focus on your business.

Virtual receptionists are trained to be consistent in their work and are reliable. They don’t take scheduled breaks, vacations, or even sick days without ensuring another virtual receptionist on the team is there to answer your phone calls. They’ll answer the phone with the greeting you customize each and every time your phone rings. They’ll be available during the hours and times you’ve outlined – no matter what. That’s reliability at it’s best.

Virtual receptionists vs traditional receptionists may have a few similarities, but they have more differences. Comparing these two versions of the same administrative position is helpful in determining if you’d prefer working with virtual receptionists or traditional receptionists.

We encourage you to try our virtual receptionist service free for 30 days to help you make a decision. Click here to sign up today!