virtual's blog

August 2018 - The countdown to Christmas

We are nearing the end of the summer holidays and as the holiday season comes to an end our thoughts turn to Autumn and the new challenges and opportunities it will bring.

Autumn, like Spring, is a great time to take stock, make plans and do some housekeeping, with Christmas on the near horizon businesses involved in retail will be bracing themselves for their
busiest time of year; 20 to 40% of annual sales is the average within the retail sector in December.

This peak, whilst being the most important in the year can also bring its own challenges in terms of offering consistent customer service. Balancing the everyday needs whilst also managing a peak in customer contact can cause a small business serious difficulty.

Here at The Virtual Business Centre we can help manage the peaks in demand by answering your phones for you and we can also take orders and offer order fulfilment via our warehouse facilities.

With a one month rolling contract basis and a one to three day setup we can help!

For more information email: or call us on: 01666 511340

July 2018 - Why calling your customers can be just as important as them calling you.

Last month we talked about holiday cover and how The Virtual Business Centre can step in whilst you are away. This month we will be considering using the holiday season as an ideal time to clean data, talk to clients and take stock of your customer relationships.

Here at The Virtual Business Centre we not only take inbound calls but have a dedicated outbound team who can make calls to your customers on your behalf.

Often we only hear from customers when they are unhappy and that can be damaging to a long term business relationship, keeping in touch regularly makes customers feel valued and listened to and has a positive effect.

We have completed call campaigns to many different end users in various different ways, from customer surveys to quarterly bench marking, from post sales satisfaction to follow up calls on product samples. We work closely with you to determine the outcome you want to achieve and create a process and script so it is a completely bespoke solution.

Keep in touch with the most important part of your business: your customers.

For more information email: or call Claire on: 01666 511340

June 2018 - Holiday cover

It’s almost the school holidays and that hopefully means time off but are you worried about who will answering your phones?

For many small businesses this can be problematic, it’s hard when you are the only one answering emails, taking orders and answering phones at the best of times but during holidays it can seem like an impossibility. Even large businesses need to be able to offer their staff flexibility within the school holidays and we can be here to facilitate that.

Here at The Virtual Business Centre we are hugely experienced in adapting to clients’ needs at short notice and our staff are highly adaptable giving them the ability to understand and respond to each client’s individual requirements. Most of our staff have worked for us for 8 years or more giving a wealth of experience and knowledge and a commitment to excellent customer service.

We answer phones for about 200 different clients ranging from individuals just starting out on their business journey to huge household names. We can take messages, process orders and tickets, book into diary management systems and also offer order fulfilment from our warehouse facility.

May 2018 - Outbound calls with The Virtual Business Centre

BLOG – May 2018 Outbound calls with the Virtual Business Centre
Over the last few months we have talked in general terms about the concepts surrounding data cleansing and data protection and this month we are going to take a depth look at how The Virtual Business Centre could manage an outbound call campaign for your business.
The process often starts with an incoming request on the back of a recommendation from other clients. Our first step is usually a phone call to establish the nature of the project and then a meeting to work out the exact scope of the data and to determine exactly what the client wants to achieve.

April 2018 - Extend your working day

Last month we looked at the important issue of data protection and this month we are going to look at extending the working day and adding value to what you can offer your customers in terms of availability and responsiveness to telephone calls.
Expectations from your customers will be changing year on year as we move towards an age where everything and everyone is available 24/7. Whilst the use of smartphones has increased our ability work flexibly outside core business hours it is still very difficult to be available to take all calls all the time whilst also maintaining a good level of customer service. Having more people to answer phones is the obvious solution but in reality this can be very difficult for a small company to achieve when margins are tight and often the number of staff employed is very few. There can be a constant battle to manage the needs of a business to enable it to grow and succeed whilst also looking after your most precious resource, your existing customers.
If you aren’t able to answer a call you may find your competitor can.

March 2018 - Clean Data

In last month’s blog we dealt with the importance of clean data and this month we are going to take a look at the importance of data protection and the use of data by call centres.

With so many high profile scandals regarding the misuse of private data being seen within the media last year your customers will be understandably concerned about where and how their data might be used and stored so it is vital you deal with call centres who are experienced and professional in their dealings with data.

Before appointing a call centre you should research thoroughly and check that they are registered with regards to Data Protection. The Virtual Business Centre are registered with the ICO (the Information Commissioner’s Office) who are the Regulators of the Data Protection Act and are there to protect how personal data is used in the public domain.

A good quality call centre will take this issue very seriously and will have strict procedures in place to ensure they are compliant with the rules around the use of personal data.

February 2018 - Re-establish yourself

Early Spring and traditionally a time for spring cleaning and new beginnings and it’s no different in the business sector. Clean data is one of the most valuable resources a company can have and a skilled call centre can help you maintain your customer data. Bad data gives your customers the wrong impression, incorrect emails, addresses and misspellings of names all contribute to wrongly communicate that a company may be unprofessional and slapdash in its dealings.

A good call centre can hugely impact how your company is perceived and lets your customers know how you value your interactions with them.

We were approached by a company who were looking to re-establish themselves within a market sector they had not been involved with for some time. The aim of the outbound call campaign was to contact previous suppliers and engage with them in their new partner programme. We made 5000 outbound calls and were able to triple the number of official partners creating a new revenue stream. Working closely with the company we trained our team of staff to understand the complexities of the products and services and therefore be as effective as possible when making the calls.

How to answer a telephone circa 1906!

When it comes to professional telephone answering, we feel we are top of the class - it's all about being clear and concise whilst engaging the caller - things have thankfully moved on a bit since this amusing advice was issued in the August, 1906 Pacific States Telephone & Telegraph Company directory for San Francisco, California .

How to Answer a Telephone Call circa 1906:

"Remove the hand telephone from the hook and say "Here is Main 297" (or whatever your number may be).
The party calling should say "Here is main 298," (or whatever the number may be).
Much friction and annoyance will be avoided if this simple plan is carried out."

Theo Paphitis #SBS - Small Business Sunday Statistics - 08/03/2015

Statistics for #SBS 08/03/2015

note : number in brackets indicate last weeks figures.

Time Period Tweets
17:00-17:30 148 (176)
17:31-18:00 164 (177)
18:01-18:30 154 (223)
18:31-19:00 186 (214)
19:01-19:30 211 (233)

Total Tweets - 863 (1023)

Unique Tweeters - 656 (680)

New to #SBS - 167 (167)

Most Tweets Per Tweeter - 8 (17)

Busiest Period 5 min period - 19:00-19:05 (18:20-18:25)

Max Tweets per 5 min period - 44 (46)

What is #SBS

#SBS or Small Business Sunday is 2hrs 30 minutes of small businesses tweeting @theopaphitis on a Sunday starting at 17:00 and finishing at 19:30. Theo will review the tweets and RT his top 6 on Monday evening at 8pm.

Remember all tweets must be @theopaphitis and include #sbs.

Theo Paphitis #SBS - Small Business Sunday Statistics - 01/03/2015

Statistics for #SBS 01/03/2015

note : number in brackets indicate last weeks figures.

Time Period Tweets
17:00-17:30 176 (255)
17:31-18:00 177 (231)
18:01-18:30 223 (252)
18:31-19:00 214 (215)
19:01-19:30 233 (421)

Total Tweets - 1023 (1374)

Unique Tweeters - 680 (730)

New to #SBS - 167 (210)

Most Tweets Per Tweeter - 17 (196)

Busiest Period 5 min period - 18:20-18:25 (19:10-19:15)

Max Tweets per 5 min period - 46 (101)

What is #SBS

#SBS or Small Business Sunday is 2hrs 30 minutes of small businesses tweeting @theopaphitis on a Sunday starting at 17:00 and finishing at 19:30. Theo will review the tweets and RT his top 6 on Monday evening at 8pm.

Remember all tweets must be @theopaphitis and include #sbs.