By Claire Brewerton of the Virtual Business Centre
Many professional consultants in business (and trades people) can struggle to answer their phone when they are the sole employee of their business.
This becomes even more tricky when the business owner takes a break. At the Virtual Business Centre, we’ve found that some business owners don’t receive lots of calls, however the ones they do are often very important.
Those calls can be from:
- Clients asking questions or making appointments.
- Clients who don’t want to use email to communicate.
- Potential clients who want to make first contact.
- Possible clients who want to know the answers to some initial questions.
- Occasional marketing calls.
It can be difficult to consider investing in something which doesn’t have an obvious or immediate connection to a business deal. However it can be so important to maintain customer service when the business owner needs to take a break.
One business owner we provide holiday cover for is Fiona Scott of Scott Media, based in Swindon.
Fiona said, “Recently I took off for my annual two-week summer holiday, and during those first few days I spotted an email from someone who wanted to talk to me and who had clearly resorted to email (their words). This person said it didn’t bode well that they couldn’t talk to me on the phone or couldn’t leave a message. I now know this person, previously unknown to me, came via a word-of-mouth referral and has the potential to be an ongoing client.
“My first thought when I got that ‘narky’ email was to think ‘what the hell I don’t even know you!’, my second thought was ‘it’s a fair point’. I got in touch with the team at the Virtual Business Centre, and within two hours they were ready to answer my calls while I was away and understood what I needed them to say and do, depending on the needs of the caller.”
What were the outcomes?
The first one was business. Fiona got work from it.
She had ten calls during that ‘almost’ two weeks. All were answered, messages were sent to her VA and email so, if necessary, action could be taken. She also paid a little extra so that really urgent messages could be sent via text – this happened twice.
What does this outsourcing of calls mean for a business owner?
- You can go away without worrying about missing or losing business opportunities which literally ring up.
- You can go away without worrying if something urgent came up, you wouldn’t know about it.
- You can set your own parameters – what do you want to hear about while away – and what do you not want to hear about until your return?
- You can go into a client meeting on your return and not be distracted by telephone calls.
- You can go to a networking meeting or virtual event and be truly present – and not miss any important calls.
- You can switch your phone to the answer service when you need to get your head down to complete a task without interruption.
- You can, if I wish, switch your phone over at weekends.
- You can screen calls if you need to – you can tell the answer phone service which calls you are not interested in.
- You can be confident that relevant callers can speak to a human being and be heard.
- You will feel more professional.
Virtual Business Centre is based in Brinkworth near Chippenham and offers outsourced telephone answering, telemarketing and call centre services. To find out more visit www.virtualbusinesscentre.com
Pictured above: Claire Brewerton (left) and Fiona Scott (right)