Category Archives for "FAQ"

How Does Voicemail Work With An Offsite Virtual Receptionist?

Most clients, before they join Smiledog, are familiar with voicemail and how it works. In fact, many of our clients were using voicemail as a de facto receptionist before coming to Smiledog and enjoying the benefits of a live answer to their incoming calls. When a client joins the Smiledog family, they’re given a voicemail account, which is utilized in a few different ways.

Aren’t All Calls Answered Live?

You might be wondering, “Wait! I’m looking for virtual reception, not another voicemail service.” Of course, we understand that! Your Smiledog voicemail during business hours is strictly used for confidential messaging that is “for your ears only.” Most clients don’t have urgent, private messaging, but we don’t want to close off that option to our clients, especially those in sensitive occupations like an attorney, doctor, or accountant. The only time your caller would be routed to voicemail during our daytime hours is in this “confidential” scenario.

After Hours Voicemail Answering

The other use for your Smiledog voicemail box is after hours, when the office is closed. Our typical client receiving a call after hours will have their incoming calls routed to voicemail. Those messages are automatically emailed out and the client can play the message as soon as they receive it, either online or you can call in, if you prefer. This is a terrific way to keep up on your messages, even if you’re at home. Even if someone has an urgent after hours need, you’ll get that message as soon as possible.

It’s Easy To Get Started With Smiledog

We’re confident that you’ll find our virtual reception services a great way to grow your business and increase your productivity. It’s easy to get started, and you can be up and running within 24-48 hours.

Call our office if you’re ready to learn more, or your can use our contact form. You can also visit our GETTING STARTED page that will start you on the path to terrific Smiledog services!

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How Virtual Receptionists Handle After Hours Calls for Your Business?

Over the years, we here at Smiledog have learned a few things about how different businesses use virtual reception. Most of the businesses we work with need answering services during daytime hours. However, there are a wide variety of businesses that need after hours services, and you might be wondering how we accommodate these companies.

The good news is that no matter what your situation, we can find a solution that makes you feel confident all of your calls are handled well. We always strive to find the right solution for each company that uses our services, so they feel like their clients receive top-notch customer service.

Have Emergency Calls? We Can Do That!

If your business is the type that could have after hours emergency calls, we have an option of around the clock answering as an add-on, but you must also be a client of Smiledog’s regular daytime service . When you sign up for services, you can discuss the nature of your needs with Smiledog, and we’ll be able to come up with a solution that will help you feel secure in your after hours needs. Some of our current clients utilize after hours voicemail, auto attendants, or even redirects to other lines.

Non-Urgent After Hours Calls

Many of our clients do not object to voicemail after 8pm EST, after all, not many business calls come in after that time. Your after hours calls can be routed to voicemail, where clients can leave their message for you. That message is immediately sent to your voicemail or text/SMS, and you can play it at your convenience. You don’t have to wait to get to the office to receive your voicemails, which offers you great flexibility. For the most part, our clients don’t receive many after-hours calls, but our voicemail notification service lets you get those few and far-between that do come in.

For those who use our appointment setting services, these are not available after hours. Clients, of course, can leave a message with their desired appointment time, which can be accommodated the next morning! Smiledog can handle these messages and the appointment follow-up, or you can do it. As with everything at Smiledog, the services are customizable according to what works best for your situation.

Getting Started With Smiledog Is Easy!

Smiledog works hard to get everyone up and running fast and without hassle — most of our clients can be using our services within 24-48 hours. You can call to set up services, or you can sign up online — it’s so easy! You don’t need to change your business phone or marketing materials, because your existing lines are forwarded to your Smiledog dedicated line. Most phone systems already have the capability for call forwarding, so there is no complicated technical setup for most clients.

We are sure you’ll love our affordable virtual reception services, and we’re looking forward to helping you grow your business and increase your productivity.

Call our office to learn more or sign up today, or you can use the contact form on this page. Ready to sign up now? Visit our GETTING STARTED page for everything you need to know to get going!

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24 x 7 Virtual Reception and Answering Service

Smiledog prides itself on being a virtual reception provider that really listen to its prospective clients, offering them ways to increase and grow their business, no matter what their current circumstances may be. They do this by offering a variety of different services that businesses can use depending on their needs, which can later be changed or altered if needed, in order meet the needs of a growing company.

What Does Full Service Mean To Smiledog?

Our staff really shines when it comes to full-time virtual reception services. With one simple call forwarding function, Smiledog can answer all of your incoming calls according to your predetermined script, announce and transfer calls as needed, and take messages as you direct. For businesses that are appointment-based, Smiledog can also use live, dynamic web-based calendaring systems to book appointments for you. This means no double-booking, even if you are booking an appointment with a client at your office at the same time.

24 X 7 Backup Answering Services

We offer 24×7 backup answering service for clients that need that kind of coverage. This is the type of service that many plumbers, roofing, or those in health services might need for clients with after-hours emergency needs. This service is a little different than the services offered during normal business hours, but no less effective in getting you your messages as soon as they come in. We can use auto-attendants or redirects to other numbers as well. You let us know your needs, and we make it happen.

Typically, incoming calls after hours are routed to voicemail, where clients are invited to leave a message for you. As soon as the call is completed, you’re notified via email with the audio message attached. We can also use alternative notification services such as text/SMS. This means that you get your after hours messages immediately, without any kind of delays. We want to serve our clients to the best of our ability at all hours, so this is why you can count on us for reliable after hours services. For those who use our appointment-setting services, unfortunately we cannot provide these services after hours.

Getting Started With Smiledog Is Easy

Smiledog makes it easy for any business to get started with their services, and most businesses can be up and running within 24-48 hours. We can get you started over the phone or even right online —it’s really that easy! There is no need to change your number or any of your marketing materials to use Smiledog services, so you can try Smiledog with confidence. In addition, you can probably do the forwarding easily using the phone system you already have. There is no complicated changes to your phone system needed, in most cases.

We think you’ll love versatile and affordable of virtual reception services —not only how it makes messaging easier and more convenient, but also how it can increase your productivity and business volume.

Call our office today or use our contact form to get in touch and learn more about our services. If you want to sign up today, it’s very easy! Just visit our GETTING STARTED page!

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How Do I Get My Calls From My Office To My Offsite Receptionist?

One of the most common questions that we’re asked here at Smiledog is, “How the heck do my incoming calls get to your offsite receptionist?” After all, many of our clients are not in the same city as we are. The answer may be surprising: it actually isn’t that tough at all to make this transition, and it is likely that your current phone system already has the technical capability built right in. If you’re interested in making the transition to an offsite receptionist, the transition could be as easy as changing a few programming options.

We Offer A Variety Of Options To Our Clients

We offer three types of call forwarding features, and businesses choose the option that best fits their business needs. We offer full call-forwarding, “busy” call forwarding, and “no-answer” or delayed call forwarding. Once you sign up with Smiledog services and choose your type of call forwarding, services are as easy as forwarding to your unique, dedicated Smiledog phone number you receive upon signup.

Full Call Forwarding

Full call forwarding is the solution for clients who don’t currently have in-house reception, and wish to have all incoming calls answered by our friendly receptionists. This is an easy, hassle-free setup. All you do is forward your current business line to us and leave the settings in place permanently. You go from no reception to full-service, friendly reception in a matter of hours — no reading resumes, running background checks, or haggling over hourly pay. It’s really that easy!

Busy Call Forwarding

Busy call forwarding is the next option that we offer to our clients, where the line is forwarded to Smiledog only when your line rings busy. This makes Smiledog a backup reception, ready to take the call when your current receptionist is busy with other clients. Forget missing important calls — you’ll get your messages instantly via email or text from our receptionists.

No-Answer Or Delayed Call Forwarding

The final type of call forwarding that we offer to our clients is a no-answer or delayed call forward option. In this scenario, your callers are sent to Smiledog’s receptionist after a set of rings with no answer. Most of these clients tend to have periodic episodes of high call volume, or receptionists that double as office administrators and who have duties that periodically take them away from the phones. After a number of rings that you specify — usually 3 or 4 — the call is forwarded to Smiledog. Using this option prevents missing calls (and potential new business) and relieves you of the need to hire a another person to your payroll.

If you are ready to expand and grow your business, one way to do that is to use virtual reception. We allow you to take more calls, get more messages, and book more business.

Call our office today or use our online contact form to learn more, or visit our GETTING STARTED page and sign up right now!

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How Do I Call Forward My Current Phone Number to a Virtual Receptionist?

Getting started with Smiledog offsite virtual reception service is about as easy at it gets. We live in a technological age where the Internet makes it easy to make a change such as starting virtual reception services quick and pain-free. The main issue our clients experience during the setup process is forwarding a current business line to the new, exclusive Smiledog phone line.

No Need To Change Your Current Number!

When you start with Smiledog, we don’t expect you to change your number. We understand the marketing money that you’ve invested in your advertising, and changing your number in phone books, business cards, and in other venues can be costly as well as a hassle. That’s why we provide a number to which you can forward your current line, making the change to your Smiledog number seamless and easy.

Easy Full-Time Virtual Reception

There are a few ways that you can use Smiledog services. The first way that many of our clients choose to use our services is as a full-time reception solution. This service is straight-forward and simple, meaning that you forward your phone line to our service as a permanent reception solution. We answer all incoming calls according to your preferred script, announce and transfer calls or take messages as you direct from day to day.

You might be wondering how to forward your number, and most of our clients can do it themselves at their business location. Should you run into difficulty during this step, you can call your telephone provider and they can direct you step-by-step how to forward, or send a technician to assist you. Call forwarding in this manner results in all calls being forwarded to Smiledog when clients make a call to your office number.

Backup Reception Only When You Need It

Smiledog also offers backup reception options for their clients, which can work a few different ways. How you use it is entirely up to you. Some clients use Smiledog only when they are out of the office, turning on the call forwarding when they leave.

An alternative option for backup reception is to set up no-answer or delayed call forwarding. This is a great option for those who have in-house reception with periodic high call volume, or who also deal with administrative manners or helping clients in the office. For these times when the in-house receptionist isn’t available, calls can be forwarded to Smiledog. Usually in this scenario, you might have an auto-forward that engages after 3 or 4 rings.

We Help You Every Step Of The Way

For those wanting this more involved forwarding setup, we will assist you in getting everything exactly as you want it. Smiledog wants you to have your virtual reception settings arranged exactly in the manner that most benefits your business and helps it to grow. We are here for our clients, and we are flexible, tailoring our services to meet your needs.

If you are ready to try virtual reception services, call our office direct today or use our contact form to get in touch. You can also visit our GETTING STARTED page and sign up now! We are excited to learn more about your business and help you discover the ways that Smiledog can help you grow even further!

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How Do Offsite Virtual Receptionists Handle Calls if I’m Out Of The Office?

Smiledog has a few key goals as a provider of virtual reception services, not the least of which is to provide services that are every bit as smooth as traditional in-house reception. After all, who wants sub-par reception services? For many of our clients, the person answering the business phone is the main “face” of the business — the first point of contact.

If you are thinking about using Smiledog for your business, you might be wondering how calls are handled when you are unavailable to take them — whether you’re out of the office, on vacation, or otherwise engaged. There are a few ways that Smiledog handles this sort of situation, with the most important factor being whether or not we know you’re out of the office.

Notifying Smiledog When Out-Of-Office

The best way to keep things quick and efficient in the handling of calls when you’re out of the office is to notify Smiledog of your absence. If we know that you’re gone for a block of time, we can automatically take the message without going through any other steps to locate you. For the convenience of your clients calling in to reach you, we always suggest you notify Smiledog when unable to take calls for a longer-than-normal period of time.

If You’re Unable To Notify Smiledog

Of course, unexpected things happen, and your virtual receptionist isn’t always foremost in your mind! Those times when you simply cannot contact Smiledog to let us know about your out-of-office status, we will answer calls according to our established best practices.

Under normal circumstances, if you receive an incoming call, Smiledog attempts to call your preferred line to announce the call to you and determine if you’re available for a transfer. If so, we proceed, and if not, we take a message and relay it immediately via email.

So, if you’re out of the office but are unable to let us know, we’ll continue answering calls as usual and sending the messages via email.

You Can Depend On Smiledog

Smiledog can handle calls when you’re out of the office, whether you’re able to let us know about the absence or not. We never want to send callers into the black hole of a voicemail, especially when you’re out of the office and unable to check it. Most people are able to access their email via home computer or smartphone, meaning you can still check your messages even when away from the office.

Call Smiledog today to discuss your business goals, and learn how we can help streamline your operations and keep things going even when you’re out of the office!

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How Virtual Receptionists Handle Companies With Multiple Employees & Extensions

Smiledog offers businesses of all sizes services tailor-made for the scope of their operations. Virtual receptionist services are not just for small offices with a few people or for home-based businesses. Smiledog’s services are a scalable, offering full service virtual reception for larger businesses, from 10 — 100 employees. If you have many employees who each need to be able to receive calls and have messages taken, it’s no problem handling these multiple lines.

Smiledog’s Systems Are Built To Scale

Smiledog’s systems can handle multiple employee extensions or cell numbers, in addition to emails. Our established set of best practices help us to efficiently handle all incoming calls for your business. When we receive a call for one of your employees by name, we announce the call to that person’s preferred line, whether office, cell, or home. If unavailable, we’ll take the message and send it instantly to their preferred email.

How Does It Work?

Let’s say you operate a law firm with 20 attorneys on staff. We would have each attorney’s name in our system, in addition to their contact information and email address. Each attorney can call in with their schedule for the day, letting Smiledog know if they’ll be in the office and available, or elsewhere with clients and needing messages taken. The only difference between Smiledog receptionists and in-house receptionists is where the receptionist is sitting.

Virtual Reception For Offices Of All Sizes

Smiledog’s reliable virtual receptionist services are scalable, working well for one-person shops all the way to busy 100-person offices. If you have a large office and are considering virtual reception, give Smiledog a call today to discuss how we can streamline your reception and simplify your office operations!

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Can My Offsite Virtual Receptionist Transfer calls Live to Me?

A common question people ask about virtual receptionists is a very simple one: can my offsite virtual receptionist transfer live calls to me? Smiledog promotes its services as completely seamless, where callers cannot tell they’ve reached a virtual — rather than an in-house — receptionist. So, just as an in-house receptionist can transfer live calls, so too can offsite virtual receptionists. In fact, this is the default “first choice” option for answering calls.

The Smiledog Way

Smiledog has an established set of “best practices” that govern the way that our virtual receptionists handle calls. We’ve found it to be an efficient way of handling calls, while maintaining professionalism and prioritizing customer satisfaction.

When answering an inbound call, the receptionist will first “announce” the call to you. When setting up service, Smiledog gets a list of established phone lines to which you want calls routed. We’ll attempt to connect to those lines, asking first if you’re available to take the call. After we get the go-ahead, the call is transferred. Even though the call was received in our call center, it is immediately connected to you, wherever you may be.

Some clients worry about dropped calls in the midst of transferring, but rest easy! Smiledog stays on top of industry advancements. We use the best available technology that allows receptionists to simply place callers on hold for a brief moment while connecting with you.

And what if you are unavailable to answer when Smiledog tries to make contact? Smiledog receptionists take a message — callers are not simply sent to voicemail.

Screen Calls Easily And Discreetly

Smiledog services allows busy professionals to screen calls, taking important calls as needed, and taking messages for less urgent matters. Even when you don’t have time for a call, your clients leave messages with a friendly receptionist, instead of impersonal voicemail.

Contact Smiledog today to discuss your business needs, and discover how we can help you realize your goals!

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Will my Virtual Receptionist Take Messages for me?

One of the chief primary duties of a receptionist, virtual or in-house, is to take messages from callers and getting them to you as soon as possible. Smiledog’s system is set up in a way that messages are handled quickly and efficiently, ensuring that virtual reception is every bit as effective for businesses as in-house reception.

Update Smiledog As Often — Or As Little — As You Need

Smiledog’s unique services allow businesses to call in each day to inform on-duty receptionists of your availability. You can be as detailed as you wish, from simply saying you’ll be in meetings all day to identifying the meetings and their times specifically. If you’re busy and forget to let Smiledog know your status, we attempt to announce the call on your various extensions before taking a message from the caller.

Smiledog Takes Detailed Messages

Virtual receptionists take detailed messages, which are entered into the system immediately and sent via email. Some clients like to receive their messages via text, which is another option for clients who find themselves “on the go” for much of the day. Your preferences are always our priority — we find many businesses prefer messages via email so as to provide a permanent record of call activity.

We Aim To Make Your Customers Happy

During the sign-up process for Smiledog, we try to learn about your business, its culture, and what we can do to provide a seamless experience to your callers. If there are particular questions you want asked in the course of taking message, you can specify the details you want recorded from callers. If you decide changes are needed, you can make them at any time by calling us and discussing your needs.

Smiledog’s goal as a virtual reception provider is to provide you with top-notch reception services that give callers the feeling they are reaching your office directly. Customers dealing with a friendly and efficient virtual receptionist will have a positive impression of your business’s customer service.

Call Smiledog today to discuss your business goals, and learn how we can help boost your business and increase your bottom line through the use of virtual receptionists!

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Do I have to Change my Businesses Phone Number To Use An Offsite Receptionist

When considering switching to virtual receptionist services, clients often ask us if they have to change their phone number. This is a big concern for business owners, who invest a lot of money into websites, business cards, ads, and other marketing materials. Updating their phone number in so many places can be a hassle — not to mention expensive.

The good news is that today’s phone answering technology allows you to enjoy all the perks of virtual reception without having to change your current phone number. Most Smiledog clients use our services in one of three ways. Let’s explore three scenarios for potential Smiledog clients!

Full-Time Reception Services

When you sign up for full-time reception services with Smiledog, you will take your current phone number and forward it to the number provided to you at sign-up. That’s it! Smiledog takes care of everything else, meaning using our services is easy and hassle-free. When you forward your current line, you get full-service reception without having to change your phone number.

Part-Time Reception and Back-Up Services

If you have an in-house receptionist you like, but who occasionally gets overloaded with calls, you can use our services on a part-time basis. This also works if you are usually available to answer calls yourself, but want back-up service when you’re busy with clients or out of the office. Whatever your part-time and back-up needs, Smiledog has a level of service that is right for you.

For example, you may want to set up services such that Smiledog is routed the call after 3 rings without answer. This frees up your existing receptionist to assist with other office duties or handle high call volume without leaving your callers hanging.

Establish Your New Business With Smiledog

If you are just getting started with your business, you can hire Smiledog either full-time or part-time, and use your assigned Smiledog line as your business phone. You can publish this number on all marketing materials, including business cards, websites, ads, and more. The business line remains yours, even if you don’t stay with Smiledog. You can port the number to another provider as you wish.

Call Smiledog today to learn about our services, and how we can help streamline your operations and grow your business!

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