Monthly Archives: July 2015

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The Magic of Outsourcing Your Call Handling

The Magic of Outsourcing Your Call Handling

Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Your Telephone Answering Service

One of the most important decisions that business owners and managers need to make is whether to perform some activity in-house, or whether to outsource it to a more specialised third party. Each side will have its pros and cons, so the wise manager will need to compare the two sides thoroughly before coming to a decision. This is something that also applies to the question of how to handle the telephone answering service of a business. In the past, this type of thing would be handled by a personal assistant who is an employee, but today, that no longer needs to be the case.

The Benefits of Outsourcing

One of the pluses of outsourcing is that it allows your company to be more flexible. So for example, if you find that your need for individuals to handle order processing drastically increases at certain points in the year, you can negotiate with a telephone answering service to provide the necessary additional people during those times. This allows you to ensure that there are enough individuals answering phones so that your order processing doesn’t get bogged down, but you still remain flexible so that when the demand for order processing decreases, you can simply adjust the number of outsourced staff downwards. It’s much less flexible if you do this in-house because your firm will need to hire additional employees or workers in order to be able to do so. The lack of flexibility will be a further drain on the company’s resources.

Another benefit of outsourcing is that the telephone answering service staffs are specialists in what they do. Whether the job involves simply answering calls, or something more intensive such as telemarketing, these individuals know how to do it well because that is what their job is all about. This is unlike the in-house option, where employees will tend to be more like generalists, who sometimes handle phone calls but often handle other responsibilities.

 

The Downsides of Outsourcing

One possible disadvantage to outsourcing is where the staff of the telephone answering service lack the knowledge to properly address questions that callers ask. This is why it is very important to hire a firm like Easy Answering, which makes it a point to ensure that any personal assistants who are handling calls have sufficiently in-depth knowledge about your company.

Another possible downside involves telephone answering services, which attempt to lock their clients into longer term contracts. This is a problem because it tends to nullify the advantage of flexibility, which is one of the reasons to outsource in the first place. So again, you need to choose a firm like Easy Answering, which does not obligate clients to enter into long-term contracts, so that you can maintain the flexibility to increase or decrease the number of individuals involved, as needed.

 

The Magic of Easyanswering.co.uk is we can appear to be in your office when we are in fact your online partner, at your side throughout the day.

Easy Answering Service -The Magic Of Easyanswering (Enhanced) from Alice Walker on Vimeo.

Music: All the things by M.A.G. Trio (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/MAG_Trio/MAG_Trio_plays_Standards/All_the_things_)

Check out the testimonials of easyanswering to get an idea of what their clients appreciate about their service. They might just be that piece of magic that your business needs to reach the next level.

 


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Retirement and the new pension provisions

Retirement and the new pension provisions

One of the founding members of the RTLcooperative is Fergus Muirhead. Those of you who know Fergus will be aware that as well as being passionate about piping he is also “On the money” when it comes to financial matters and planning for your retirement. He is one of Scotland’s leading financial advisers and as such, is regularly requested by the BBC and other TV Cos to provide comment and advice on a regular basis on TV and Radio.

He is more than happy to take questions from our members about their retirement planning or other financial concerns that may have occurred. He asks that you contact him in the first place with any general type questions through his Moneysucks.net website. Just drop him a line info@moneysucks.net  but don’t  be surprised if you then end up hearing him chatting about your type of concern on the Johnnie Beattie Radio Show or the afternoon news with Jackie Bird!

In his Moneysucks.net website this month he discusses the pension reforms published in the last budget back in April and subsequent changes. Pension reform has been the subject of much comment throughout the financial press ever since. He makes the point that:- The changes are complicated and are not quite as clear as was initially suggested so no question is too straightforward or simplistic to answer. It’s become clear, for example, that many people may have a bigger tax liability than they initially thought so it’s wise to check out exactly what tax you will have to pay before you take money out of your fund, since once it’s out it can’t go back in.


People have been asking about the ‘free’ information the Government is offering. I would suggest that you go to the Pension Wise site at www.pensionwise.gov.uk. There are full details on that site of the options available and how the recently introduced changes impact what you can now do with your pension pot. You can also call Pension Wise if you are looking for more information. You do have to be aware, however, that while they can give you general guidance and information on the new rules, they are not qualified to give you specific advice relating to your situation. They can’t, for example, tell you which option is best for you or advice you which products you should buy. For that you will need to talk to an Independent Financial Adviser, and you can find one who is suitably qualified and in your area at www.unbiased.co.uk .

The rules that came into force this month are in relation to the choices you have available with the money you have in a personal pension. These rules allow you to take the money in your pension fund whenever you like, without having to buy an annuity, or income, with your pension fund. If you have already ‘sold’ your pension funds in exchange for an income you are not likely to be impacted by these rules. You will, instead, be hoping that the Government delivers on its promise of extending the pension changes to people like you who are already in receipt of an income.

They have said that they will, although the details of how this will work are not clear yet. The thinking is that you will be able to carry out some sort of ‘reverse purchase’ where you sell your income back to someone in exchange for a lump sum. At this point it’s not clear who you will sell it to, whether it will be the company that you bought the annuity from or from one of a number of third parties that decide to become involved in this new market. It’s also not clear at this stage what value there will be for you in taking this course of action. It will require careful consideration that what you are doing is actually good value for money. There are likely to be lots of charges to the various parties involved so you will need to make sure that buying back your lump sum does make sense for you, and is more attractive than continuing to take a regular income.


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Drink Drive Rehabilitation Schemes In Scotland

Drink Drive Rehabilitation Schemes In Scotland

Why is the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) an effective disposal for Courts for people found guilty of a Drink Driving offence?

Since 2000 every Sheriff Court in Scotland has had the option of referring people convicted of a Drink Drive Offence to a rehabilitation Course as part of their disposal. The Road Traffic Offenders Act (ROTA, 1988) makes provision for sentencing drink drive offenders and for the conduct of approved DDRS training providers.

An article published in the early 1970’s (Martinson, 1974) about the impossibility of reducing re-offending attracted considerable academic activity including research, theorising and debate. There is now a belief that much that can be done to reduce re-offending, including offering offenders an offence focused group-work intervention. Effective programs utilise the risk, need and responsivity principles. They are also community based, have a range of treatment modalities and have program integrity (McGuire, 1995).

How does the DDRS fit with the ‘What works’ debate?

The Risk Principle: There is a match between the offender risk level and the intensity of the intervention. From experience of delivering these course, most drink drive offenders are not versatile offenders involved in a range of offending but first time offenders. The 16 hours of education in the DDRS is suitably pitched for the risk of re-offending these participants pose.

The Needs Principle: Interventions should address criminogenic needs (i.e. needs that contribute to the offending). The DDRS focuses on behavioural change models, cognitive distortions, increasing knowledge about alcohol consumption and legislation and relapse prevention planning.

Responsivity Principle: The intervention should be structured, have a range of participatory rather than didactic methods of learning and should draw on the experiences of the participants. The DDRS is a structured course that uses experiential participatory methods for learning. The ISM course is also developed particularly for a Scottish culture drawing on legislative changes and Government Policies on Alcohol consumption and healthier lifestyles.

Community based: Interventions based in the community yield more effective outcomes. The DDRS is facilitated in the community, which is likely to enhance real-life learning.

Treatment modality: The most effective interventions are multi-modal (i.e. recognise the breadth of participant’s difficulties), are skills orientated and utilise cognitive-behavioural methods. The DDRS has scope for participants to discuss the range of difficulties contributing to their offence, develops strategies and skills for managing drink driving behaviour and is underpinned by a Cognitive Behavioural model for understanding and implementing behavioural change.

Programme Integrity: The intervention is facilitated as per the stated aims, there is sufficient resources and facilitators are appropriately trained and supported. There should also be an agreed plan for monitoring and evaluation. The DDRS is aligned to the prescribed syllabus as set by the Driving & Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA). All staff are trained to at least degree level and are experienced in facilitating behavioural change training. Both ISM and the DVSA have an administrative infrastructure for evaluation and monitoring of both participants and the standards adopted by the facilitators. These are systematically recorded and submitted on an annual basis to the DVSA, who publish these for public information.

                              This evidence demonstrates the suitability of the DDRS as a disposal in reducing the likelihood of re-offending and making Scotland’s roads safer!!!

Drink Drive Rehab Courses In Scotland


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What to Do if You’re Accused of Money Laundering in Scotland

Money Laundering Infographic

What to Do if You’re Accused of Money Laundering in Scotland

It can be very intimidating to be faced with an accusation that you or your company are or have been  involved in money laundering. When it comes to the specific crime of money laundering, in Scotland the court can impose imprisonment, confiscation, or a fine on the convicted individual, or both, and the amounts or lengths of time involved can be significant. So in the event an accusation is levelled against you, it’s important for you to move quickly. Here are some of the key steps that need to be taken.

 

Get Yourself Specialist Counsel

If you are accused of money laundering or concealing the proceeds of crime, Scotland law can seem very complicated and opaque, even to someone who works in the financial sector or who is knowledgeable in accounting. This is why it is important to find lawyers who have a wide range of experience, not just in Scottish law, in general, but also in money laundering regulations in particular. Specialist lawyers won’t just know what money laundering is or what the penalty for proceeds of crime concealment can be, they will also know the best and most appropriate way in which to defend your case.

 

Set Up Your Defence Team and Strategy

One of the benefits of having specialist counsel, such as Kinloch and Co., is that their lawyers will help you to gather experts who will be vital in preparing your defence. For example, you may need forensic accountants to go over your company’s financial records, in order to prove that the funds in question actually came from legitimate sources. Kinloch & Co. won’t just bring in highly qualified forensic accountants, but they will also find those experts who have experience testifying in money laundering cases, and who are capable of presenting their findings in convincing and effective ways.

 

Move Quickly and Take Initiative

Throughout this process, from its very inception when you were accused until the final ruling is handed down, it will always be crucial to move quickly. This is why, once an accusation regarding money laundering comes to your attention, you already need to get on the phone and call someone like David Kinloch. If you hesitate, you lose valuable time. Keep in mind that the parties making the accusation against have all the resources that the State can muster to win their case. That means significant resources and many legal professionals that they are able to throw into the case to get you convicted and to make sure you lose that money or property.

Remember that the penalty for money laundering is severe, and so you need to get your team in place and moving as quickly as possible. So make the call immediately, go in for an appointment, and discuss the details of your case with your counsel. Have any relevant company or financial documentation on hand right away, so that you can present the relevant records to your lawyers. Also, make note of any knowledge you or your staff may possess, which could be important to your situation. You need to take the initiative because, as with most litigation, the person who snoozes loses.


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Leading Legal Excellence

lawScot 1

Leading Legal Excellence

The legal market is going through unprecedented change. The challenge of the digital era coupled with new expectations from clients requires those within the legal profession to adapt, to innovate, to modernise, to take risks and grasp new opportunities.

The Law Society of Scotland have organised a conference that will be opened by The Law Society President, Christine McLintock they say in their website :- “We are delighted to welcome Lord Hodge, Justice of the UK Supreme Court as our opening keynote speaker with the afternoon’s keynote session being delivered by Karl Chapman, CEO of successful new UK legal market entrant Riverview Law. Throughout the day you will be spoilt for choice with over 16 different topics for you to choose from within Rule of Law, Business, In House lawyers and the Economy streamed sessions.

This year’s conference will see Solicitors from Private Practice and In-house come together with colleagues from other professions at our post conference networking event, to celebrate both the winner of the annual In-house Lawyers Group Rising Star Award and the 50th anniversary of the Scottish Law Commission.

Registration fees for the conference are from £130.00 inclusive of VAT and the conference will count towards 6hours CPD.

Find out more information and register


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How to Find Support and Assistance for Your Business

How to Find Support and Assistance for Your Business

 Logo

I am one of those bores who keeps extolling the virtues of the 80/20 rule or Pareto’s theorem, however the response I often get from other lawyers and business people on an almost daily basis is how can I delegate when I don’t have the time to even think about what I need done?

When your practice gets a little too busy and too hot to handle then it is time to delegate or get some help in to establish some breathing space. You need to work “on your business and not in it” as the business gurus say! A Virtual PA can be a temporary solution or may even be a long term solution to your business bottleneck.

However, it’s not easy to find good, reliable support. Many independent contractors are unreliable, unavailable when you need them, or their work quality is not up to speed. It may be that it takes you too much time explaining what you need done to ever trust them to actually deal with  the task in hand. A practical suggestion at this stage is to ask an employee who carries out a regular piece of work for you to write down the full sequence of events involved in that sequence and to provide examples of the type of things they say or write or do when carrying out that procedure. This will take you a long way to breaking down a role into manageable chunks that can be delegated when required.

There are many options when it comes to searching for and utilizing outside contractors.
Here are a few of the basic options:

If you need secretarial support and support with those phones, then you do not want to be tied into an expensive contract with high monthly recurring fees. The answer I have used at Roadtrafficaw is Easyanswering.co.uk.

I would not hesitate to recomend the ladies at Easyanswering.co.uk for all the members of the RTLcooperative as they have proved to me over the years that they really do care about your business and they consistently deliver a high standard of service. We have been using their service for a couple of years now so I speak from experience.

Your calls are answered by one of your 3 named PA’s – not by “the next available operator” – they will quickly get to know you, your business and importantly your customers. They tailor their service to their client’s requirements and not to what they think you need – they appreciate that every client is different. They will assign 3 named PA’s one of whom will be your account manager, so your calls are answered by someone who knows about you and your business and not simply “the next available operator. No long term contracts. Clients choose to use them because they want to, not because they are tied to a contract. Charges are very simple. You pay for messages relayed – and not for every call logged on your incoming line. They screen your calls for unwanted callers including unsolicited sales calls. This means that you can manage your budget and your time much more effectively. Because the ladies are local (Based in Hamilton) your clients get the feeling that they are based right there in your office and it makes for a easy trasition to pass on calls and messages.

 

 

1. Temp or Staff Agencies

One common source for contract staffing is placement agencies. The benefit of these agencies is they have done all the hard work of sorting through and vetting hundreds of job seekers, with the goal of finding someone who is a better fit for your needs.
The drawback of placement or temp agencies is the additional cost. “Contract recruitment agencies have a set percentage or fee which they recoup and this doesn’t vary that much, regardless of the hourly rate paid to the contractor,” Several agencies meet the demand in Glasgow.

Jobs, careers, employment and recruitment at reed.co.ukAgency Central - Celebrating 10 years helping you find recruitment agencies

2. Other Professionals In Your Industry

One great source for finding extra help is simply by talking to other people in your line of work. Get in touch with the Glasgow Bar Association and ask if they are aware of any lawyers or legal staff that might meet your needs. Check the Notrice Board at your local court common room.  You can draft up an email to your equals at other firms and tell them you need extra help. You may find someone whose practice is currently a little slow and would be willing to do the work. They may be willing to lend you a staff member just like the football teams do nowadays relieving the burden of long term salary obligation for a staff member that isn’t needed, at that present time. It may even be someone they want to share to improve the level of experience that the person receives.  Have a look at Sharing A Trainee Solicitor.

3. Gumtree

Gumtree has a tremendously popular jobs board, and you can post a job announcement for a few quid. Advertise for exactly what you want. And if you do hire a temporary worker permanently, you will not have to pay a mega finders fee like you would, if you  had you gone through an agency.
There is also a section on Craigslist called “Resumes” which allows any job seeker to post their resume or qualifications. If you search in this section for “lawyer,” “attorney,” or “paralegal,” then you can find just lawyers, attorneys or paralegals who are looking for work.
As with any hire, you should verify their qualifications by calling their references before making a hiring decision. Don’t over look this as people can be VERY economical with the truth when they post for a job online.

4. University Job Boards

Get your secretary or assistant to take a hike up to the Uni. Just kidding! Go online and search for the University notice boards or email direct to the Faculty where you think they may have some hidden talent waiting to be discovered. eg If you are making a video for your business you might want to try the Film school or if you are making a radio commercial or Podcast you might want to try the Media training courses. Check out local online University job boards. Most universities have dedicated jobs websites where they will allow you to post an ad to their system for free.
You may also want to contact the local university career offices directly. I contacted my law school’s Dilploma office Director, Eileen Patterson, and she said she recommends that employers post a job to the Law school’s LinkedIn Group, as the students all look to develop their CVs online and they are encouraged topost to LinkedIn

 

5. Post a Notice on Your Website or OUR website (RTLcooperative.com)

You may also draft up a job description, the duration of the assignment, and any other requirements and post it on your website or blog. You can then share this post by emailing the link to others or by posting it to social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Send it to us at the RTLcooperative and we will post it here and send out an email to the members of the cooperative.
Do you have any better suggestions for finding good independent contractors? Please leave your ideas in the comments below.

 

Author

Graham Walker LLb, DipLP, NP

Practising Solicitor Scotland


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ISM Psychological Services Ltd

ISM Psychological Services Ltd Launch New Website

We are delighted to announce to all members and the world in general that Sharron Reilly and her team at ISM Psychological Services have launched a new website.

After some improvements and polishing of the old website she has relaunched and produced a short promo video (through her membership of the RTLcooperative)  to help promote the site.

An easy way to introduce members and their clients and contacts to this new service, now available in Scotland, is simply to share the video with them. It highlights how easy it is to access the website on all mobile devices, tablets, phones etc.

ISM Psychological Services from The RTLcooperative on Vimeo.

 


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Fergus Muirhead’s New TV Show

Category : Member Information

Fergus Muirhead Financial Adviser

Fergus Muirhead’s New TV Show

One of our newest members but oldest friends is Fergus Muirhead. He has been filming at the BBC all week for a new TV programme. Why not check out his latest contribution all about pensions.

Right on The Money is full of great tips on how to get the best value from your money. It’s on every morning this week at 9.15am. Check out some of the great stuff you can see and hear on the programme on its new website

We are hoping to get Fergus to allow us to use his Money Sucks 60 second video snippets on our website and for him to provide us all with a bit of free advice on our financial health and financial planning.

Fergus is an experienced writer and broadcaster. He has written on all aspects of money and consumer issues for a number of newspapers and magazines as diverse as Scotland on Sunday, The Herald, The Sunday Herald, the Sun, The News of the World and the Journal of the Probate Section of the Law Society. He wrote a regular column in Moneywise Magazine and for five years he was Consumer Champion at best selling magazine Women’s Own.

He is the author of three money advice booklets for One Parent Families as well as a number of Chapters in the Probate Section Journal Yearbook. He has also written on-line content for RBS ‘Money Sense’ website as well as their ‘Teacher’s Guide to Finance’ Booklets.

As well as his writing credits Fergus has appeared regularly on a number of radio and TV programmes. These include GMTV, BBC Breakfast, Homes Live and Location, Location, Location for TV and Macaulay & Co, The Phil Williams Show and many BBC News programmes on radio.

He can currently be seen and heard on his regular money and consumer slot on BBC Scotland’s flagship TV news programme Reporting Scotland and on the lunchtime radio show John Beattie.

Away from his desk Fergus has travelled the world playing bagpipes and he has acted as Compere at every Piping Live Festival in Glasgow as well as at the prestigious William Kennedy Festival in Armagh. He is a respected performer at Burns Suppers – his Tam o’ Shanter is well worth seeing we are told.

Apart from being on the telly and all the stuff he regularly does he can be approached at any time by our members for a review of their financial plans and some specific advice on the financial issues that affect us all. More information about Fergus Muirhead can be found on his personal website and on his moneysucks website

 


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Are You Ready For Video?

Category : Video Marketing

Are You Ready For Video?

Video marketing is a powerful medium to communicate and connect with prospective and current clients. Videos  do not need to cost a fortune, can be quick and easy to produce, and can be online within minutes. With video you can make that personal message and get through to your potential clients in a way that only a personal meeting can usually achieve. The big firms struggle with this as they need to have a committee decide who will be the face of the company etc, but for small to medium sized businesses it makes a great deal of sense to get a video online ASAP.

Producing Your  Video
Although you can buy a camera and create your own videos, quality and content can suffer unless you know how to use lighting, locations, and audio to create professional looking and sounding content. Then you must edit.

If your video looks poor and unprofessional, people might assume the same about your firm and the services you offer. It needs to be good but does not need to be a massive outlay.

You would hire someone to create a website or signage for your office or even a letterhead – video is just another part of that marketing equation.

Develop A Video Marketing Strategy

  • Do you intend to appeal to emotions? If so, could music be used to heighten those emotions? It’s the old advertising line “Make them feel the pain, make the pain worse and only then offer YOUR solution”.
  • Decide on the tone of the piece: documentary, informative, funny… Funny is very tough and should only be tried by those with a very strong message or the super confident.
  • Do you want to be in it yourself or are you a bit camera shy? You do NOT need to be in the video to create an effective marketing instrument. You can use stock video with voice over or you could film your business managers communicating the message. Live filming is usually more expensive, but if edited properly it can have a long shelf life and be used in many different areas of your business.
  • What do you need the video to do – demonstrate your abilities, introduce you to a market place, train staff, recruit , explain a concept or process? Decide how you will distribute your video: link on website; Youtube, promoted with Youtube ads; or Facebook Inclusion in your feed. In the office, on a TV, online with an insert on your website. Decide where you will host (hold) the video – Youtube, Vimeo etc.
  • Why not try an interview? If unsure about a script or what and when to say your bit, have the video produced for you and have the cameraman interview you. It is a bit more hassle and expense as another microphone is sometimes required and edits can be more difficult, but it is a format that works well for many professionals, especially when used with skillful editing.
  • Is the subject in question full of jargon or does it have sophisticated content? If so, seek a producer with experience in your area who can understand and communicate the content clearly.
  • More and more people access content online. At Roadtrafficlaw.com we have seen a massive change in our traffic now that the majority of it is accessed on mobiles and tablets etc. People are turning to video and can’t even be bothered to read through content anymore. Be at the forefront of this opportunity, and make sure that you utilise video in your marketing mix.
  • Will you create yours now or wait for your competitors to take the lead?

If you need assistance with creating video for your business please get in touch with Alice today. She can arrange a free consultation to explain the pros, cons, and the expense involved. Email her at ahw@rtlcooperative.com

 


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Building A Good Landing Page

Category : Uncategorized

Brilliant Article From the Unbounce Website- Read, Learn, Improve

A Recipe for the Perfect Landing Page

the perfect landing page recipe