Running a small business comes with a lot of baggage. Whether you run a hair salon, a restaurant or retail store, it can be hard just to stay afloat while trying your best to please customers, offer the best service, and recruit the best talent. As staffing remains one
of the hardest tasks for any business owner, it’s no wonder that the intelligent virtual receptionist market is estimated to reach $44.25 billion by 2027.
As large corporations embrace this technology, you might be wondering whether small businesses can adopt this technology too. And besides, would an AI virtual receptionist be better than a human virtual assistant?
What’s an AI virtual receptionist?
In the simplest terms, virtual receptionist software or chatbots are designed to communicate with customers and provide them with information on your business and help with buying decisions. They can pick up phone calls and speak to your customers in plain English, answer questions, and route their calls to the right person.
The beauty of software is that it works 24/7 and never takes a break. If your business relies on scheduling appointments, you can now continue booking after hours, on holidays and during your busiest times. With human virtual receptionists, answering off-hour calls may be unavailable or come at an increased cost.
AI assistants can work with several customers at the same time, but people cannot. Handling 10 or 20 calls at the same time is no problem for AI virtual assistants, whereas with humans you would need one person to answer each call significantly increasing overhead and cost.
Research suggests that 85% of human virtual assistants work on an hourly basis and monthly costs can range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,600 depending on the country and quality of the labor that you are outsourcing to.
With an AI powered virtual assistant, it is much easier to see an ROI on your investment. For a small business that is forwarding their calls from their landline to the AI assistant, the cost of that task can be over 10 times less than a person, with many services such as Greet charge a low flat monthly fee.
Managing employees can be challenging, and turnover at your business can be crippling as quick service restaurants experience a 150% turnover rate and retail has a turnover rate of 59%. Experiencing turnover with outsourcing your phone calls is no exception as turnover rates at call centers average 30%.
Using an AI receptionist reduces the management overhead when it comes to phone interruptions in your workflow, and lets your employees focus your efforts on other more important aspects of your business.
A common misconception is that AI virtual receptionists fully replaces humans. On the contrary, AI virtual receptionists are out to support humans. It’s hard to imagine technology replacing a genuine human connection and that human connection is essential to many small businesses’ identities and brands. What an AI phone agent can do is improve your workflows by filtering out most of the calls that don’t require that special care, while directing calls that do to the appropriate person quickly.
AI agents can deliver information can much more quickly and efficiently than you might imagine. For example, if a customer calls and is looking for more information on making a reservation or purchase, that information can be sent via SMS in a split second before the customer hangs up the phone. AI virtual assistants such as Greet that have the ability to send a text from your landline number can improve customer satisfaction and sales conversions by 30% or more.