Whether you’re a professional working from home or you’re trying to remain competitive, contracting virtual office services is a great way to outsource peripheral office duties without shortchanging your clients. If you want to do it right, choose a service provider that customizes your virtual office to your way of doing business. The most common virtual office service is the call center or reception desk. This is often the first point of contact between you and your clients, and it can affect the way they view you and your company. Rather than just answer and direct calls, the service should be personable as well as personal. This is best achieved through a process known as a ‘warm transfer.’
Aren’t All Call Center Services the Same?
At too many reception desks, a caller is either greeted by a computerized voice menu or simply put through to the appropriate line or department. A warm transfer provides a more personal transition by providing information to the call recipient up front. It makes the receiver look and feel more professional, and it helps the caller feel like they matter. The other benefits of this type of call handling seem small, but they may make a big impression.
- Enables a more personal greeting. When you know who’s calling and why, you can greet them by name. That’s a big improvement over a generic hello.
- Enables you to prioritize calls. Rather than allowing the phone to keep ringing because you’re on another line or busy with other duties, a warm greeting will allow you to impart information or confirm appointments without disrupting your schedule.
- Provides a superior level of customer service. If you know who’s calling and why, you’ll have a minute to pull up accounts or find necessary information before you take the call.
- Allows you to get out of calls you’d rather avoid. This is one function of personal assistants that many people rely on, whether they’ll admit it or not. We’ve all had disruptions on the job from chatty people or annoying sales representatives. Having your virtual assistant act as an intermediary will allow you to avoid time wasters in a professional way without giving offense.
- Gives you more information about the caller in advance. This ties in with points one and three by clarifying both the person and the purpose. If you don’t know Bob from one company, but are waiting for a call from a Bob at a different company, there will be less confusion.
With so many service providers to choose from, it helps to know exactly what you’re looking for before you select a company. Whether you’re looking at online call center providers or a local business, ask the right questions and try to check out how they perform before you sign a contract. You can do this by asking for a list of references or checking out their work yourself by interacting with businesses they serve. Word of mouth from satisfied customers is another good way to find a provider.