Hiring virtual office services can be as complicated or as straight forward as you like. Multinational virtual office providers have delivered exponential growth during the recent recession as companies seek to downsize their operations in remote locations while at the same time, correctly, not wishing to show signs of retraction from their desirable markets.
In these times of 24/7 constant online communications, customers and suppliers alike expect and demand to be able to talk to their contacts at a time that they wish and it is interesting that the larger companies who embrace unified communications are the slowest to adopt all that this technology offers. Perhaps their view is we’re big, you’re small, or at least not as big as us, so “speak to the hand” or the usual “leave a voice mail after the tone” and maybe they will get back to you eventually – this is a huge mistake.
Users and customers are not lacking in the intelligence department, they want to speak to a human being. In a recent survey, most callers valued the option to speak to an operator or call agent as worth 90% more than most of all the other options presented on an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Essentially, they just want to talk to somebody and often wanting to be able to clarify doubts easily.
Virtual office services therefore divide themselves into two categories and therefore, 2 price ranges. If for example, you are a US company with the need to service your clients in Portugal and you are considering virtual office services but only comfortable negotiating for these services in English, you will have to pay a certain premium. If however you have someone on the ground who has a mother tongue in Portuguese, this is another matter; a locally brokered deal will work better for you every time. The basic maxim is “the further away you are, the more you will pay”.
Before buying or contracting a service, ask for user references from companies similar to yours, the most important thing is that the call agents should be professional and look after the caller, even if they know that the party sought by the caller is on a sales trip to Timbuktu and cannot be reached for 2 weeks, they should be seen to try to transfer the call. If all fail, note the caller’s correct name and contact details and promise to get the called party to get back as soon as possible to the caller.
The call agent from a virtual office service center should also take note of the callers who have called in, even if the agent who took the call is not working on the shift, they should pass the details on to their colleague with key details. Assuming the caller has something urgent to discuss, the real value of the virtual office services come into play here. If the operator is able to say with true conviction that they have talked with the called party and he or she understands the matter is urgent and will get back to the caller as soon as possible with the caller being satisfied, the mission will be accomplished and the reason for using a virtual office service will have been justified.