Virtual Office Services
There are many services offered by the typical virtual office provider, these include telephone call handling, mail handling, virtual PA's and the provision of special rate (0845 and 0870) telephone numbers.
Telephone call handling
As a small business there will always be times when it is not possible to take calls unless you operate a dedicated call centre or have a full time receptionist.
As you may know, a large number of people will not leave messages on answer phones or voicemail systems (in fact it can be as high as 50% of all callers. Unanswered phones and, engaged tones can all annoy your caller, and if it's a prospective customer this the last thing you would want to happen - who knows it may be a big contract or sale. If somebody is trying to call you, then you should show them that their call is valued and appreciated at the very least. The best way to demonstrate appreciation this is to answer their call personally by a human being and not leave it to a machine.
You could employ staff to answer your phones and, indeed, you may already do so. But employing people means that you have all the the costs of employment (Salaries, pension payments, Employers National Insurance for example), plus the cost of providing the phone lines and phone equipment and the cost of offices in which to accommodate them. Even with this expenditure still some calls could go unanswered, either because all your staff are already on the phone, or you are short staffed because of holidays or sickness.The solution is to use a call handling service.
The best method is one that means that you still answer the calls you are able to. Using the latest technology, it is possible to divert all the calls which you don't answer straight to a dedicated team of call handlers, without the caller even knowing. These will answer the phone in your name and take a message for you, or may even be able to answer questions on your behalf.
The service normally costs a fraction of what it would cost to employ your own staff to handle calls. The better call handling companies can handle any reasonable number of calls made to your number at the same time, thus reducing the risk of engaged tones.
The use of email is growing and there are predictions that normal mail is on it's way out, but at the moment it’s still an important form of communication between businesses. However, if you’re working from home, you may not wish to give out your personal address for one reason or another. If you’re away from your home or office on a regular basis, you may not always receive your mail as quickly as you wish. Or if your business comprises several people in different locations, you may still want a single address for people to be able to send post to before it is sent to the individual concerned.
Many virtual office suppliers can receive post for you and then forward it to your own address, or store it for you to pick up.
You may like the idea of having a personal assistant but feel that you can not afford the expense of employing someone, or you may feel that there would not be enough for them to do if you employ someone full time. Many virtual offices can provide you with a named PA, who will have a small team of people supporting them. Normally your PA will contact with you as often as you like (for example once a day, twice a day or every two days), and can undertake the same wide range of tasks you would expect a personal assistant to perform if you employed them direct (with the possible exceptions of making you a coffee or going to the post office for you ) – from managing your calls and appointments to fulfilling the many duties normally associated with running your business. Your clients will be speaking to the same small group of people each time they call, so they will become familiar with the names and voices and may even get the impression that you are running a larger business than is the case.
At Forest Software we are happy to recomend needmoretime who are experts in the field of virtual office services and virtual PA's. They can provide the whole range of services from 0800/0845/0870 phone numbers to mail management and event catalogue requests fulfillment and dispatch and well as virtual PA's and the more typical telephone answering service.