How Much Does a Virtual Receptionist Cost?

Looking for how much a virtual receptionist costs? Find out everything you need to know about virtual receptionist pricing with Nexa.

From taking calls to scheduling appointments, receptionists are essential to many businesses. Virtual receptionists can be even more beneficial. These remote workers can take on tasks outside of normal business hours. They can also take on outbound sales and calling campaigns.

If you’re thinking about switching to a virtual receptionist, you’re probably wondering, “How much does a virtual receptionist cost?”

In short, a virtual receptionist can cost anywhere from $25 to $3,000 per month, depending on the plan.1 That said, virtual receptionist plans can come with many components. To help you see the full picture, we’re here to break down virtual receptionist pricing.

Types of Virtual Receptionist Plans

Many virtual receptionist services understand that businesses do not fit into a one-size-fits-all model. While some large businesses may have many tasks for receptionists, small businesses may have much different needs. For instance, a large business may need several receptionists simultaneously, while small businesses may only need one receptionist a fraction of the time.

Furthermore, the type of business largely dictates a receptionist’s role. For instance, a business with a large customer service presence may require a receptionist at all times. On the other hand, a business that doesn’t directly interact with the public may only need minimal receptionist services.

As a result, most virtual receptionist services feature several plans to best meet a business’s needs. The most common plans include:

  • Pay-by-month
  • Pay-by-minute
  • Pay-by-call
  • Scaled pricing

Let’s take a closer look at each plan.

Pay-by-month

Like many utility services and cell phone providers, some virtual receptionist services feature a pay-by-month plan.

In this arrangement, you pay a monthly fee for the virtual receptionist’s services. While some monthly plans also incorporate pay-by-minute and scaled pricing, others don’t. 

To better understand pay-by-month pricing, imagine your business has chosen a quality virtual receptionist plan. The plan charges a flat $200 per month fee for a virtual receptionist and includes 100 minutes. 

Assuming that you don’t go over your minutes, you can expect to pay $2,400 per year for virtual receptionist services ($200 x 12 months).

Premium customer service is non-negotiable. We’ll meet your customers where they are with our 24/7 business answering service. Learn more!

Pay-by-minute

A pay-by-minute receptionist’s services are usually calculated in minutes and charged by the minute. For example, suppose you need a virtual receptionist to do the following each month:

  • Answer telephones
  • Intake clients
  • Schedule appointments (AKA appointment setting)
  • Assist with calling campaigns
  • Forward incoming call

If each of these services takes 30 minutes, you’ll be billed for 120 minutes (30 minutes x 4 services). If the virtual receptionist charges $1.50 per minute, you can expect to pay $180 per month (120 minutes x $1.50 per minute). 

You might also be billed more for minutes that exceed what’s allotted in your plan. As a result, plans that offer the most minutes can be incredibly cost-effective. Some virtual receptionist services even allow for up to 500 minutes.

You should also be on the lookout for different pay-by-the-minute models. We’ve detailed two of the most common below.

Every Second Counts

In an every-second-counts model, a virtual receptionist will charge you for every second of their time. This model involves a bit more math but can be effective if you don’t want to round up or down to the nearest minute.

For example, suppose your virtual receptionist charges $1.50 per minute and uses an every-second-counts model.

If the receptionist spends two minutes and 15 seconds handling a client intake, they will charge you $3.37 for that service (2.25 minutes x $1.50 per minute).

Rounding Up

While some pay-by-the-minute models charge every second, other models round up to the nearest minute or half-minute. This model can simplify the calculation process but can result in slightly higher or lower charges than the minutes would dictate. 

Consider the following rounding-up models:

  • Half-minute increments – In a half-minute increment model, the virtual receptionist’s time is rounded up or down to the nearest 30-second interval. In other words, if a virtual receptionist worked for two minutes and 10 seconds, the charged time would be two minutes.
  • Full-minute increments – In a full-minute increment model, the virtual receptionist’s time is rounded up or down to the nearest minute. For example, if the receptionist worked for eight minutes and 38 seconds, the charged time would round up to nine minutes.

In addition to these models, other plans may round up by the quarter-minute or use increments of five.

Pay-by-call

In a pay-by-call model, a virtual receptionist charges you for each call regardless of the duration. That means a call lasting 30 minutes will be charged the same as a call lasting three minutes. (This is assuming the plan doesn’t also have a pay-by-minute feature).

Pay-by-call pricing can be especially beneficial for businesses that may need their receptionist to stay on the phone for a while. However, there are several downsides—particularly with call volume.

To this extent, some pay-by-call models charge you for wrong numbers and immediate hang-ups. A high volume of these calls can take a chunk of your virtual receptionist budget.

Scaled Pricing

As stated above, not every business requires the same virtual receptionist services. Some businesses may only need appointment scheduling capabilities. Other businesses may require a whole suite of services—from 24/7/365 answering to analytics support.

Realizing this, many virtual receptionist services may provide several pricing categories. 

To better understand scaled pricing, suppose a virtual receptionist service offers three pricing tiers:

  • Basic – A basic pricing tier generally costs the lowest per month. As a result, this tier may only include minimal services, such as call answering and appointment scheduling.
  • Medium – A medium pricing tier may cost more than a basic package, but likely costs less than an advanced package. In addition to call answering and appointment scheduling, a medium-priced package may include:
  • Client intake
  • After-hours support
  • Omnichannel support
  • Advanced – An advanced pricing tier typically costs the most, but also includes the most services. In addition to the services offered by basic and medium tiers, an advanced package might include:
  • Data analytics 
  • Inbound and outbound calling
  • Call center services
  • Bilingual capabilities

Of course, these models are just possible packages. Different virtual receptionist services may feature packages with markedly different features and services.

Hidden Costs and Extra Fees

Depending on the virtual receptionist service, you may have to pay hidden costs and extra fees. Some of these extra costs include:

  • Setup fees – Some services may require you to pay a small fee to get started. This fee may pay for client platform integration and call center training.
  • Text message fees – Some services may charge more for text messaging than other forms of communication. As a result, it’s beneficial to hire a virtual receptionist service that includes live text messaging as part of their omnichannel support.
  • Holiday and overtime – If your call-answering service doesn’t have 24/7/365 support, you may be on the hook for holiday and overtime fees. For example, your virtual receptionist may charge you more for working on Thanksgiving.

The answering service pricing would also increase depending on the specialty answering service. For example, if you are looking for a bilingual receptionist or outsourcing a medical answering service, expect a slightly higher fee. To best determine how these extra costs will impact your business, it may benefit you to hire a service with a money-back guarantee. Some virtual receptionist services offer a 21-day money-back guarantee. That way, you can see if the virtual receptionist fits your business before making a long-term commitment.

Reasons to Hire a Quality Virtual Receptionist

It may surprise you to learn that missed and unanswered calls can cause many businesses to lose revenue. According to one study, 26% of calls go unanswered across all industries. These missed calls may mean missed revenue—sometimes as much as $16 million.2

A quality virtual receptionist can help minimize these missed calls and maximize your revenue. In addition, going with the best virtual receptionist service can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Increased customer service – Quality virtual receptionists are more than robotic responders. They’re live receptionists capable of providing exceptional customer service. These virtual receptionists are also likely to offer bilingual services. This means fantastic customer service in a customer’s preferred language.
  • Increased productivity – By handling routine tasks like answering calls, virtual receptionists can free up more time. Your business can use this time to work on more essential tasks. 
  • Lower overhead costs – If you have an in-house call answering team, you’ll likely have to spend money training those employees. You’ll also have to pay salaries and other operating expenses. With a virtual assistant, you only need to pay for what’s included in your plan.

Like scaled pricing plans, virtual receptionist services can come in several categories. For the best of the best, there’s Nexa.

To best meet your business’s needs, Nexa’s virtual receptionist service features four plans. The most popular plan includes 300 voice minutes. Whichever plan you choose, each comes with the following capabilities:

  • 24/7/365 live coverage
  • Follow-ups and outbound calls
  • Call reporting
  • Live customer support
  • FAQs
  • Virtual receptionist work

With Nexa’s virtual receptionist service, you can increase revenue with each answered call. 

Nexa: Increased Revenue, Fewer Missed Calls

A virtual receptionist can do wonders for your business. In addition to increasing customer service, a virtual assistant phone answering service can help boost productivity and generate revenue. As a result, hiring the best virtual receptionist service is key. This means choosing Nexa.

Our answering service offers 24/7/365 support, fielding every call, every time. Our overflow and after-hours service can also help your business grow outside business hours.

When opportunity calls, let Nexa answer.

Sources:

1. ConsumerAffairs. Best Virtual Receptionists and Answering Services. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/business/virtual-receptionist/

2. Markets Insider. Invoca Launches New Solution to Recover Revenue from Missed Sales and Appointment-Setting Calls. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/invoca-launches-new-solution-to-recover-revenue-from-missed-sales-and-appointment-setting-calls-1030954335

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