How much of your precious time is spent answering phone calls, managing your calendar, and following up on projects? What could you accomplish if you had that time back?

The need for virtual receptionists is rising as entrepreneurs realize that for a minimal fee, they can free up their schedules to focus on more important tasks. Virtual receptionists help customers book appointments, schedule meetings, take product orders, and can sometimes handle social media or research.

What’s more, customers place great value these receptionists’ help: according to a survey we conducted, a caller’s top priority is the ability to speak to a live person.

It’s crucial to find the right receptionist for your company, since they’ll interact with your customers on a daily basis. Here are the traits you should focus on when conducting your search.


We’ve all worked with someone who had what I like to call the “Eeyore Complex” (remember that melancholy donkey from Winnie the Pooh?). Avoid anyone with the Eeyore Complex. When your clients or customers call you, they expect someone who’s helpful and who exudes an attitude of confidence.

In fact, 73% of consumers say friendly customer service can make them fall in love with a brand, according to RightNow. In addition, 87% of customers share good experiences with others, says research from Zendesk. When your customers finish their phone call, the experience should have improved their day, not made them frustrated.


A virtual employee/employer relationship has a few more intricacies than a relationship with an onsite employee. You’ll need to find someone who catches on quickly to the nuances of your industry and company dynamic, and who can adjust to the online communication tools you prefer.

A smart and experienced receptionist will know the right questions to ask and will quickly grasp the tasks he’s supposed to handle.

Remember that even the smartest virtual receptionist can’t read your mind, though. Before you hire anyone, draw up an employee manual explaining how to address common customer questions, and outline how you want your receptionist to communicate requests and suggestions.

Capable of Taking Initiative

A virtual receptionist should be able to solve problems on the fly and create processes for managing your tasks. Additionally, she should be able to keep you updated on her daily progress. Just as you are a specialist in your field, so they should be in theirs.

During the virtual receptionist hiring process, try to get a feel for how interviewees deal with issues like angry customers, forgetful clients, and a sudden onslaught of calls. The best candidates will be able to make both customers and clients feel at ease, even if they can’t give customers the exact information they need during a phone call.


Many virtual receptionists take on several clients at one time. This can benefit you, since you don’t have to pay for a full-time employee. However, your receptionist has to be organized enough to attend meticulously to each client.

Regardless of whether the receptionist has other employers, you should always feel like your receptionist is handling the tasks you’ve given him.

Here are some ways to determine whether your candidates have the right kind of organization skills:

  • Do they work from 9:00 to 5:00? If not, what are their hours? How do they track their hours?
  • What do their references say about their time management skills?
  • How many years of experience do they have as a virtual receptionist?
  • Do they have experience in your industry?
  • What organizational tools did they use in their last job?


In our recent survey on voice services, the second-most common phone quality priority was friendliness.

Clutch voice services survey what callers want virtual receptionist

What that means for a virtual receptionist is really empathy, or understanding a customer’s issue and addressing it as fast as possible. Customers dislike being put on hold, read to from a script, and disrespected. What customers do want is kindness combined with knowledge of your company and products.

Finding the right virtual receptionist can not only free up your own time, but it can also elevate your quality of customer service. That, in turn, will increase your brand’s reputation.

Now that you know what to look for in a virtual receptionist, it’s time to find the right one for you. Read Clutch’s research on voice services for more information.