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I run a medium size web design/marketing business and have resisted getting a telephone receptionist/virtual PA service for years and years because I adamantly believe my clients and colleagues should be able to get straight through to me without putting obstacles in their path.
However, everybody keeps saying having a virtual PA to answer the phone will save me time. I can't see how that can be the case, other than to filter out the odd cold caller. (Even, in many cases, because the PA does not know my complex business inside out, he or she will probably not be able to determine which is and is not a caller I want to speak to.)
Here's why: say somebody phones me and wants to speak to me... the PA will pick up the phone, ask their details, call me, ask if I want to speak to them (which I obviously will if they are a colleague/client), then put the person through to me. No time saved.
If the PA takes a message when I am out, then I still have to call the person back. No different to having voicemail.
If I am busy and choose not to take the call, then I still have to call the person back. There is a likelihood the other person will not be free when I call them back, so it could lead to telephone ping-pong when the matter could have been addressed then and there the first time.
Basically, what are the tangible advantages in having a telephone receptionist/virtual PA?
My problem is like yours. I am not sure that I could trust anyone to take these calls for me.
Maybe a solution like that could help, without putting a person in the way.