Build capacity with virtual assistance


Using virtual assistance and support services are a way to enhance your business’ professional image.

Increasing professional service capacity is a challenge… do you wait until the decrease in service levels is costing you business? Or do you spend money you haven’t made yet to provide service which is not required by the extra clients you don’t have yet?

As a financial planner, what extra roles do you assume when you are essentially a solo act without a personal assistant or client manager?

You are probably missing valuable phone calls when you’re at a meeting, chatting with clients or are in the middle of a project. While you may have a voicemail system, a missed call still means risking the loss of a potential new client because speed of answering those enquiries makes a difference to the conversion rate.

One solution that professionals are increasingly turning to is a virtual receptionist or virtual assistant, who can give your office an extra personal touch, free up your time, and help you stay connected, but at a fraction of the cost of a full time employee.

A virtual assistant is an offsite part time staff member; and the main role is to communicate with your clients. Such a provider is more than an answering service; it’s a service that enhances your professional relationships by engaging with your callers in a positive, friendly, and professional manner together with handling other administrative tasks if you need them to.

The services that a virtual receptionist offers vary and may include:

  • Answering services: A virtual receptionist answers your calls with a personalized greeting both when you’re in and out of the office. The best ones distinguish between different types of calls – like those from potential new clients, current clients, and urgent calls – so they’re handled according to your instructions.
  • Customised call handling: Let your virtual receptionist know about the information that you’d like from callers before getting on the line. For example, first and last name, what the call is regarding, etc and cover your compliance concerns.
  • Call transfers: Out of the office? No problem. A receptionist can transfer your calls to any phone you like, such as your cell phone or home phone or another person.
  • Accommodate temporary instructions: A live virtual receptionist can handle messages related to campaigns or events that are a little out of the ordinary.
  • Message notifications: You’ll receive your message via text and/or email shortly after a call. Some services can even email your voicemail messages to your email inbox.
  • Calls on your behalf to relay information: If you need to relay a message to a client or would like more information, a live virtual receptionist can handle it, or they can  confirm appointments or make routine outbound calls (like annual reviews) so that you can make the most of your time.

The benefits of a virtual receptionist

When you use the services of a good virtual receptionist, your callers can’t tell that she’s at a remote location, enhancing your business’ professionalism and making it appear bigger. In a business where stellar first impressions are vital, a receptionist can help you put your best foot forward.

Virtual receptionists also offer the following benefits for your financial planning business:

  • Security: A virtual receptionist service is never late, on vacation, out sick or on break so you never have to fear missing an important call again.
  • Improved customer service: Unlike an answering machine or automated answering service, a live receptionist makes your business more personal and caller experiences consistently exceptional, which increases customer trust and enhances your business’ brand.
  • Increase productivity: When you aren’t chained to your desk or a slave to the phone, you’re free to focus on completing tasks for your clients, attend meetings and get more work done.
  • Cost savings: As a financial planner, you know about the expenses that come with hiring an employee. With a virtual receptionist, you only pay for the services requested.

How a virtual assistant can help a financial planning firm succeed

Going a step beyond just the receptionist functions you can improve your productivity, customer service and business performance by hiring a virtual assistant.  That is someone contracted to provide limited hours and/or limited support functions over and above handling initial enquiries.  They can of course be engaged to fulfil full time duties, but more typically they are an excellent “half way” step for growing advice businesses that are not yet ready for a full time staff member but have the need for some assistance.

Using virtual assistance and support services are definitely a way to enhance your business’ professional image and give customers more personal attention or faster service.  They are definitely a way to cost-effectively increase the practice’ capacity on an incremental basis.

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