Can a Virtual Office Presence Help Expand Your Business?
June 15, 2012
By David Gitonga
, TMCnet Contributing Writer
What rewards would you reap if you had a 24-hour answering service for your clientele? It is easy to see how this could positively impact your business. The challenge, however, is that the returns to provide such a program just don’t add up. The best solution would thus be a call handling service that takes your inquiries and passes the details along to the business. At a fraction of the price, you can have a virtual call center take care of your clientele with a 24/7 answering service that would include customer support, order taking and messaging, among other things.
To create a competent appearance, you can customize your scripts so that call handling representatives can represent your products and services without any glitches. Since call center representatives are already trained in phone etiquette, you can easily set up aggressive promotional campaigns for your business without the expense of taking on and mentoring your own staff.
Of course, you don’t want to pick a call handling service company blindly. You first need to check if the agents have practical experience and an all round knowledge of your market sector. Listening in while they handle existing clientele will also help you gauge their telephone capabilities, politeness, cheerfulness and their overall outlook. It is also good to look at the software programs that will be used and the personnel available; some businesses require real-time correlation, and the software packages that are in place will be a determining factor. A call handling service should additionally be able to provide you with a detailed report of calls, as well as get results to help you gauge their effectiveness.
Call center expenses are something you also want to take into consideration. It goes without saying that the more qualified the representatives are, the more effective the service will be offered to your customers, and the deeper you will have to dig into your pocket. While you should be able to strike a balance between shared and specialist workers, you may want specific coaching for expert people who will be handling distinct sectors, while shared personnel take on wider and more general areas. Most call centers will generally charge a price per day, per call, or per minute.
A majority of call handling providers also offer complete virtual office plans when you upgrade to using their full virtual office services. For the most part, the simplicity that comes with this arrangement means that small businesses can acquire a virtual address and contact numbers with post mail forwarding. In some cases, the provider may even offer a physical space where you can meet clients and enjoy the benefits of a strategically-positioned office with all its comforts while keeping costs down. You can even have a trained virtual receptionist to handle phone calls, data entry, and admin duties. These solutions are ideal for small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow, yet lack the financing required to take that next step.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo