An iPad app could be your office’s next receptionist

| December 26, 2013

A start-up company based in Colorado has introduced a technology that could trigger a change in the hospitality industry. A new app called “Receptionist” now makes it possible to run an unmanned front desk via an iPad. Small businesses that can’t afford a salaried employee for the job can benefit the most from the virtual receptionist.

Who introduced it?

Receptionist is the brainchild of TextUs.Biz, which develops and sells SMS-powered business apps for small- to medium-sized businesses. The start-up company, which is based in Boulder, Colorado, was founded in 2012 by Ted Guggenheim and Andrew Kimmell.

Guggenheim, president of TextUs.Biz, says that the app “is making the transition from an ‘un-manned’ front desk, to a cool and efficient visitor management solution, effortless.” He says, “We have listened to what our customers have been telling us and responded with a product that is as easy to implement as plugging it in.”

How Receptionist works?

Receptionist’s simple touch screen interface comes with three default buttons—Contacts, Delivery, and Check-out. The app can be installed on an iPad, and visitors can enter their purpose of visit and personal details, and choose a contact they wish to meet.

The virtual receptionist will inform the employee of the visitor’s arrival via a text message or an email, allowing for a two-way conversation. The response will be instantly visible on the iPad screen.

The app is also enabled with voice prompts that tell visitors what to expect while the contact is being reached. This new Visitor Management System tool also takes pictures of your guests and keeps log info on who has checked in. It comes with custom buttons for personalized navigation, and can be connected wirelessly to a badge printer.

How much does it cost?

The “Receptionist in a Box” package includes an iPad 2 pre-installed with the Receptionist app, a secure ArmorActive iPad enclosure and desk-top stand, and the first two months of the Receptionist service, among other things.

A TextUs.Biz press release states that, “After the initial two free months, pricing for Receptionist starts at $49 per month for a company with less than 24 employees, and scales up to $249 per month for companies with over than 100 employees.”

Those who want to preserve the human element, but don’t want to increase the cost of their business, can opt for services like Ruby, the virtual receptionist.  A team of trained receptionists based in Portland, Oregon, answer their customers’ clientele with personalized greetings, connect and transfer their calls to where customers (businesses) want. Callers receive all the information they would expect from an in-house receptionist—company information, directions to the office, etc.—from a bunch of cheerful receptionists far away from the actual place of business.

While some think that jobs like these are thankless and should be left for machines to accomplish, others believe that over reliance on technology could put humans out of a job. It seems the app is doing both very well.

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Category: New Products, Office courtesy

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