Virtual Receptionist vs. Administrative Assistant: What’s the Difference?

Wondering, what is the difference between a virtual receptionist vs administrative assistant?, Read on to discover which can benefit your business most!

For business owners everywhere, the need to hire administrative support staff represents a turning point in a company’s work volume and success. In the early days, entrepreneurs and small business owners wore multiple hats, and clerical work didn’t always take up prime real estate on everyday to-do lists. 

If your business has reached a level of success where administrative work requires full- or even part-time attention, it’s time to invest in your company by hiring a dedicated person or service to provide support to you, your other staff, and your customers. 

If you’re just now entertaining the debate of virtual receptionist vs administrative assistant, you’ll need to explore the many differences to effectively determine which solution is right for your business. 

Administrative Assistants: The Basics

An administrative professional performs clerical tasks and provides support to business owners, other employees, and customers. Some common administrative assistant job duties include:

  • Greeting visitors at the front desk
  • Answering phones
  • Responding to general company email addresses
  • Scheduling appointments and calendar management
  • Managing incoming and outgoing mail
  • Filing, organizing, and similar clerical duties
  • Customer service
  • Assisting other staff when needed

An in-person admin assistant provides support for a variety of business functions, and they’re particularly important for businesses with a high volume of in-person visitors or incoming communication. Business owners may choose to hire an administrative assistant or clerical administrator once they develop the need for a filing system, or once call and email volumes become too high to be managed by other staff as needed. 

While most administrative assistants are hired based on experience, some have specific training in administrative functions and support.

However, the need for in-house, on-payroll administrative services has been called into question in recent years, with the advent of improved virtual and off-site technologies. 

Enter the virtual receptionist.

Virtual Receptionists: An Overview

So, what is a virtual receptionist? It’s an alternative to an in-person administrative assistant or office assistant. Located off-site and provided by an outsourced service provider like Nexa, virtual receptionists provide some key in-person administrative assistant position duties along with other services:

  • 24/7 phone answering service, plus other communication services
  • Omnichannel customer support via phone, email, live chat, and SMS/text
  • Scheduling appointments and calendar management
  • Customer support
  • Lead management

While a virtual receptionist can’t provide support for physical, in-office administrative needs like physical filing, mail management, or greeting customers, their customer support services eclipse those typically provided by in-person or a virtual assistant. 

What are the benefits of virtual receptionist services, and how much is a virtual receptionist? Hiring one can cost you as low as $25 to as high as $3,000, depending on the scale of your business needs. Two of the most significant perks of virtual receptionists are their 24/7 availability and their integration of omnichannel support systems. If your business is currently only equipped to provide customer support via phone or email, a virtual receptionist can create and maintain other essential communication channels such as live chat and SMS. 

Plus, they’re available around the clock, which is untenable for in-person assistants at most companies, especially small to medium-sized businesses.

With all these considerations to keep in mind, how do you choose the best option for your business?

Finding an Administrative Solution for Your Business

There’s considerable overlap in the service provided by in-person administrative assistants and virtual receptionists. However, there are also key differences that could help you determine which option is right for you. 

When choosing an administrative support solution, consider each option’s impact on your business’s customer service, as this is one of the most important comparison points that competitor businesses are focusing on.

As you research your top competitors, try to determine which administrative support solution they’re using and how their customers respond to it. Use their missed opportunities to guide you toward what you need to stand out. 

If in-person administrative support is vital to your business’s success—for instance, if your office conducts in-person appointments that require patient intake and payment processing—an in-house administrative assistant may be right for you. 

But, if you have an inkling that virtual receptionist services may work for your business, explore how these services would look in the day-to-day operations for your business:

  • Are you coming into the office with hundreds of customer support emails and voicemails from the night before? 
  • Are you struggling to keep up with scheduling phone calls? 
  • Would you like to expand your customer support communication channels past standard phone and email offerings?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, you would likely benefit from virtual receptionist services.

Nexa’s Virtual Receptionist Services: Admin Support for the Future

If you’re siding with the more innovative option in the virtual receptionist vs. administrative assistant debate, it’s time to find virtual receptionist services that provide value, efficiency, and effectiveness to your business and your customers. 

Nexa’s virtual receptionist services represent the cutting edge of virtual administrative services. With 24/7 support, omnichannel customer service, capacity for high-volume appointment scheduling, and streamlined customer support scripts, our virtual receptionist teams can take your business to the next level. 

Sources: 

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm 

Florida State College at Jacksonville. Administrative Assistant Certificate. https://training.fscj.edu/resources/certificate-programs/administrative-assistant-certificate 

Harvard Business School. Deconstructing ‘Customer Experience.’ https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/deconstructing-customer-experience 

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