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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Graham Walker LLb, DipLP, NP
Practising Solicitor Scotland