There are many challenges to setting up and running your VA business. In this article we’ll discuss how using Callagenix hosted phone services enables you to present a professional image to clients whilst making it simple for you to manage your calls.
What are hosted phone numbers and services?
A normal phone number is fixed to a specific physical location (line) and the services available are limited by the pbx switchboard installed at that location, or by the basic services provided by the phone supplier.
Hosted numbers are held in the cloud and can be pointed to any other landline or mobile number. You manage your numbers via your online control panel and divert calls where you want them to go.
Callagenix offers a full range of numbers but we’d normally recommend an 01, 02 or 03 number as they are trusted by the public and cheap for them to call. If you’d prefer another number type, e.g. an 0844 or 0800 number you can choose one of those instead. The majority of our numbers are free to reserve, but we also have a selection of memorable numbers are available for a small, one-off fee if you’d prefer something that sticks in the mind more.
Hosted services work in the same way as their regular counterparts, except they are hosted in the cloud. There is a wide range of services to choose from and you can mix and match them to create the perfect system for you. Services are easy to add and configure, but the chances are you’ll only need to use a few of the simple ones in your VA business. Example services you might use are Call Divert, Answerphone, Time of Day (to manage your opening hours) and possibly Fax to Email.
Should you ever want to add more advanced features, such as Group Diverts, Call Menus, Caller Select or Call Recording they will be there waiting for you. Plus, it’s a simple task to integrate them into your existing set up.
Let’s take a look at the main advantages of choosing a hosted phone service:
Flexible and Scalable
You can add or remove new services and numbers at any time, allowing you to adapt to the changing needs of your business. All changes are immediate, putting you in complete control.As your business grows, your phone system seamlessly grows and adapts with it.
Should you ever move home or office, or want to work from a different location for a while, you can easily do this with Callagenix. Simply divert all calls to your new landline or a mobile number and work from wherever you are. You need never miss an important call again.
Hosted phone services offer you great choice and flexibility. To get the same functionality with traditional equipment would cost a significant amount of money. With hosted services you also avoid the need to install an additional phone line (or lines) for your business and the associated hassle and ongoing monthly costs.
Work / Life Balance
Another advantage of using a hosted number and services is that you can work from home but still set up fixed business hours with the time-of-day service. If a client calls you out of hours, you can play them a recorded message advising your office hours, divert the call to another phone, such as your mobile, or else send them direct to voicemail. If they leave a message, you are notified by email and a recording of their message is included as an audio file attachment.
Setting things up in this way allows you to make a clear distinction between your work life and your home life, whilst still giving you the flexibility to receive important messages and enquiries.
Your hosted phone number can also be used to receive faxes. Our system automatically recognizes when a fax, rather than a call, is coming through. It then converts the fax to a pdf file and sends it as an attachment to your email address.
We understand that not all VA’s offer the same services and work in the same way. The good news is that our services are flexible enough to adapt to any requirements you may have.
Let’s take a look at how Callagenix services can be used by three different types of VA:
Services for a VA Offering Admin Services
If you offer various admin-type services, having a hosted phone number and services will make you look professional and help you draw a line between your home life and your work life.
A typical set up for an admin services VA might be:
A regional 01 or 02 number (or possibly an 0333 number) as your business number, connected to a Call Divert service to forward calls to your home number with a whisper message set up. When you pick up the phone,you hear a prompt telling you when it’s a business call so you can answer accordingly.
Additional services to consider are the Answerphone service, which emails you a copy of any messages as an attachment, as well as Fax to Email service so you can receive faxes as a pdf direct to your inbox. These would be combined with the Time of Day service so you can fix your working hours and avoid having clients calling you directly when you’ve finished for the day.
Services for a VA Offering Call Answering Services
Whether you offer call answering as your main service, or provide overflow cover for clients at busy times, a hosted phone system will make your life easier and help you impress your clients.
The set-up is similar to that of the Admin VA, above, but with additional numbers added and assigned to each client to identify where each call is coming from. The whisper message then tells you who the call is for, so you can answer with the correct company name. You can transfer calls back to your client if required, take a message, or else transfer the caller to voicemail for them to leave a message. You can also easily set up call queuing for busy times if you want to.
Itemised call logs also make it easy to invoice clients for any work done and provides them with a report of all you have done.
Services for Call Answering Teams
If you manage a team of VAs and deal with multiple clients, then hosted phone services are the perfect solution.
You can easily add new numbers to your account to assign to clients. You can set up multiple extensions and call groups and manage them all through your online control panel. Set up shift patterns, access to services, and call answering priorities, and use our Wallboard and Reporting features to make sure everything is running smoothly.
You could also set up each team member with a softphone and a VoIP service to have everyone on your network, no matter where they are actually working from.
As the requirements for Call Answering Teams can vary, it’s best to contact us for advice on the best way to optimize your system.
As you can see, there are many advantages to using hosted phone services for your VA business. However, we appreciate that it can all be a bit confusing at first so if you have any questions please let us know and we’ll help you find the best solution for your needs.
We’ll even help you set it all up and let you test it out for free before you go ahead. All services are pay-as-you-go (no long-term contracts), so you’ll never spend more than you need to.
Please click here to visit our site or call 0333 247 0000 to make an enquiry. Please be sure to mention the Society of Virtual Assistants when you enquire.