Reduce your sales workload and increase productivity and pipeline when you outsource customer interactions to virtual receptionists alongside using AI tools such as Emma.ai. Perks of using both include better lead conversion rates and happier clients.
Setting up meetings, scheduling appointments, and booking consultations are a way of life for busy professionals across the marketing and design industry. For most of us, the majority of the work day involves scheduling and attending meetings with the goal of syncing with new and existing clients, communicating with co-workers or business partners, and staying up-to-date on various projects.
Automate and Outsource Customer Calls and Scheduling Tasks For Your Sales
Scheduling these meetings can sometimes be a logistical challenge and take longer than needed. When a new lead calls your business to book a sales consultation, it can be incredibly time-consuming to double-check your availability and update your calendar, especially if you get multiple calls throughout the day. On top of that, it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus after each interruption (according to the Clio Legal Trends Report). Plus, we all know the nightmare that is back-and-forth emails finding a time that works for everybody.
However, time-consuming they may be, appointments and consultations are vital for your success as a marketing and design professional. You have to be able to communicate with your business partners and reach out to current and potential clients. But if you feel like you’re drowning trying to find the time in your workday for scheduling appointments, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Luckily, there are two easy-to-implement solutions that can start helping you manage these essential tasks today: virtual receptionists and Emma.ai’s scheduling software. Use these together and you’ll be able to delegate tasks like booking consultations and calling in appointment reminders to a trained professional. This will mean a lighter workload and more lead capturing opportunities for you and a better overall experience for your clients.
What is a virtual receptionist?
First and foremost, we need to explain what virtual receptionists are.
Virtual receptionists are professionals available 24/7 to answer phone calls, live chat, social media messages, and other ways you communicate with your customers, on behalf of your business from a remote location. But they don’t just answer and transfer calls — virtual receptionists can schedule meetings, qualify leads, and make outgoing calls for appointment reminders on your behalf.
A virtual receptionist service employs, organises, trains, and creates software for these receptionists and offers their services on a subscription basis. So, in short, you have a professional receptionist when you need one without needing to hire, train, and pay a full-time in-house staff member.
So when new leads call your business, you won’t be interrupted from the important work you’re doing. The receptionist covers the first call and can qualify, book, and intake new leads, as well as denying unqualified sales callers and transferring qualified leads directly to you. You will only take essential calls — your receptionists filter the rest. Note that virtual receptionists can do so much more than schedule meetings and send out reminders: they can use your existing technology to qualify and intake new leads, answer frequently asked questions about your business, fill out lead intake forms, take payments for consultations if you charge for them, send call summaries via text message, email, Slack, and Microsoft teams, among so many more valuable services.
How to take the headache out of sales with virtual receptionists and Emma.ai
Scheduling software like Emma.ai is the key to simplifying your calendar and reducing the time you spend setting up meetings. It’s unfathomably easy to start an account and attach your Google calendar. Then, all you need to do is create a Meeting Page for, say, new lead consultations, and you’re good to go!
This meeting page will have a shareable URL that you can use in your email signature, on your website, in your social media profiles and with your virtual receptionists. Share your Emma.ai booking page and any instructions or guidelines with your virtual receptionist service, and they can start scheduling consultations, meetings, and appointments ASAP directly into your Google calendar at times and days that you prefer.
Once you start utilising a virtual receptionist service alongside Emma.ai to handle scheduling, here are a handful of tried-and-tested practices that you may want to keep in mind. These will come in handy when writing up receptionist instructions and choosing services.
Six Tips for Managing Your Leads and Customers
Qualify leads with your virtual receptionist
Have your virtual receptionists ask a few qualifying questions before booking consultations. Is the new lead in your service area? Do you offer the service they’re looking for? Are you in their price range? Asking a few questions early on can ensure that your time is protected and that leads are well-informed and prepared so that meetings can go over smoothly.
Book on web chat and Facebook Messenger
In addition to booking appointments via phone calls, virtual receptionists can schedule consultations via live chat on your website or Facebook Messenger. Capture, qualify, and book new leads everywhere they find your business — whether it’s on your website, via phone call, or your social media channels.
Create separate Meeting Pages
Set up different Meeting Pages to account for different appointment types. For example, if your goal for a meeting is to lock down a new lead, create a Meeting Page that’s enticing and friendly, so as to encourage any interested leads or prospective clients to book an appointment with you immediately. It’s also crucial to include all of the information they might need right up front. But for meetings to touch base with an existing client, create a page that is still friendly, but more straight to the point. Optimise your scheduling so that your appointments reflect your individual meeting goals.
Have your travel time automated for your appointments
Emma.ai doesn’t just only make scheduling appointments easy, it automatically adds in travel time between different locations as well as your main ‘bases’ such as your office or home. With your travel time automatically calculated and added to your events, you and your virtual receptionists are less likely to overbook your schedule or cause you to be late.
Confirm appointments with outbound calls
To further guarantee that your meetings are a success, allow your virtual receptionists to perform outbound calls to confirm any appointments made. Confirming appointments can lead to better attendance rates and allows the appointment setter to get clarification for any details, answers to any questions or misunderstandings, and a reminder of the set time so that you can both go into the meeting with clear expectations.
Notify customers if you’re running late
Emma.ai will help you and virtual receptionists see if there are any delays and customers can be called to tell them that you may be late and when you’ll likely arrive. Being late is not something you want to do at a consultation or a first customer appointment.
For busy small business owners and sales teams in the marketing and design industry, answering the phone and scheduling, plus everything else you have to do, can be exhausting. You already have so much else to focus on – why waste more of your limited time on administrative tasks that a professional can do for you, or that can be automated so you don’t have to worry about it?
From scheduling appointments and booking consultations to screening leads and sending appointment reminders, virtual receptionists can delegate the most time-consuming aspects of scheduling for you so you can spend less time updating your calendar and more time on actual work.
Your clients, work colleagues, and anybody else who schedules time with you will appreciate the convenient access to your availability, the quick scheduling, as well as the comprehensive reminders and follow-ups they’ll receive before and after your meeting. On the other hand, you’ll appreciate the easy calendar integration, the detailed appointment notifications, the reliable lead screening and intake, as well as all of the free time you’ll save not having to deal with scheduling yourself. It’s a win-win!
This post was written in collaboration with Smith.ai
Smith.ai is an integrated virtual receptionist and chat service for small businesses. In addition to answering your calls, our receptionists can qualify and intake new leads, schedule appointments, take payments, send follow-up emails and texts to your callers, and much more. We can help you set up an integrated and comprehensive intake and scheduling process that prepares your clients for the beginning-to-end process they’re looking for — often on the first call.
Use promo code EMMAAI for $100 off Smith.ai calls or chats, and visit https://Smith.ai to get started with our 20-call/20-chat free trial.