Grow Your Business

 girl-with-phone

Whether you are kick-starting your business or you are already well-established in the market, Zeb PA has the answer to make sure your company keeps growing. After all, what business is not in the market for expansion? By using our telephone answering service you can ensure that you will not miss a call again; enabling business growth daily.

Zeb PA, the answering service and outsourcing company, look after businesses across the spectrum. From roofers to surgeons, with a rate of 98.9% of calls answered. Our client portfolio consists of more than 700 companies with 80% of them made up of small enterprises with only 1-5 staff members.

Dealing with a constant flow of phone-calls can be extremely time consuming for somebody who is trying to generate business in all avenues. Zeb PA can manage this for you with our trained virtual PA’s – we can be the voice of your business. Taking calls as if we are sitting in your reception. From diary management, new enquiries and deterring unwanted sales calls, we can save you precious time in your day to concentrate on the growth of your business, all by answering the phone for you.

With a personalised service for each and every company, we can provide excellent customer care to all your current and potential customers. You may be asking yourself, ‘I already have a receptionist, how could I benefit from this?’ Of course your receptionist is able to handle calls coming in, but there is only so much one person can do. Any calls that would go unanswered due to phone lines being engaged, we can answer for you. What does a customer hate more than trying to speak to somebody and being sent to voicemail, or not being able to get through at all after numerous times? A recent survey, (2015 Aspect Consumer Experience) revealed that 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. Having a voice at the other end of the phone for each of your customers will show reliability in your company, help you maintain great relationships and keep the level of customer service at the standard you require.

Zeb PA – growing your business with every call that you might otherwise have missed.

Kirsty Summerford – Zeb PA

Absence

Sickness absence Line – Make your ‘Absence Management’ more organised

 

Absence

Absence management is a very complex matter for businesses owners and professionals working in the HR department and it has a lot of hidden financial costs associated with it. Increased workload for existing staff, ill health retirements, decreased productivity; all of this affects your business profitability with it’s impact on your company reaching up to 3 times the primary estimation. Having a good solid Absence Management process in your organisation can help reduce Absenteeism and provide true and clear data insights of its impact.

Putting in place a structured outsourced Sickness Absence Line that your employees or contractors contact as their first point of call takes away the emphasis put on managers. In most company’s it’s the manager / line manager’s responsibility to log and pass on details of employee’s absences. Sadly, this is often where the process falls down and it isn’t followed through correctly for one reason or another.

Having a dedicated sickness line ensures that all absences get logged correctly. Once the employee makes the call to inform the company of their work absence, the information gets logged immediately and all the details are passed onto the relevant parties. Having a structured process like this in place allows companies to stream line their employee sickness absence process so that nothing gets missed. It provides the company with a greater insight, pin pointing any patterns in absence. It can also bring precision in measurement, by using a set of predefined categories; which allows the business owners to start targeting absence types and take necessary measures for preventing repetitions. Freeing the line managers from taking sickness calls is one of the major advantages of implementing an outsourced sickness absence line. It takes away the stress and responsibility of having an individual log and report to HR.

So, the most important question is – how determined are you about managing absenteeism in your organisation? If you want to run your business efficiently and increase its productivity, a competent and outsourced Sickness Absence Line is your key to a radical improvement in your employees’ absence levels. Zeb.Pa’s sickness absence line is available 24/7, it’s secure and fast, and is a guaranteed service for reducing sickness absence rates, thus decreasing your costs.

For more details on this service contact

Janine.kirkland@zebpa.co.uk

Tel 0208 234 6104

By Janine Kirkland

Zeb Pa

The Importance of a dedicated ‘Event telephone line’

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What makes an event ‘Successful?

Business entrepreneurs and event planners say that an event is successful when it is well organised, it is able to meet its objectives and it creates a huge buzz amongst its target audience.

Organising any size event takes a lot of skill but for large scale events in particular there is more pressure and a higher expectation to pull all the jigsaw pieces together and pull off the perfect event. Lots of things can go wrong while organising a large event but all event planners will tell you the same thing… communication is key. Effective communication goes to great lengths to help run such events more smoothly. This is where a ‘Dedicated events line’ comes in!

These are a few reasons why you should have a dedicated phone number and telephone answering service for your large event.

Firstly, event planners as talented as they are at juggling and wearing lots of hats whilst organising an event. They are not your typical, trained telephone operator that will efficiently answer any event related questions over the phone.

Having just one dedicated person to rely on to take all the calls or answer all the event related questions isn’t a good idea either. Definitely not a good first impression of an event if that person can’t answer the phone because they are away from their desk, tied up on another call off sick, on lunch etc.

So to make things easier and a lot more professional you should have a dedicated phone number and telephone answering service for your event. This way, your event planner will not be swamped by hundreds of phone calls every day and will be able to focus solely on organising and running your event smoothly.

Having a dedicated events line and telephone answering service can also add to your Marketing efforts for the big event. At Zeb.PA our telephone answering staff are trained professionals who can provide a seamless and sleek service by competently answering any event queries and providing event related information over the phone. This will make your large event look even larger and more professional; thereby giving the event a ‘Blowfish Effect’.

In addition, no matter how large your event is going to be you’ll always want to be cost effective; RIGHT? It’s far more expensive to hire a full-time receptionist than to hire a telephone answering service. This can lead to a huge cost saving.

Finally, unlike your usual event planner or a dedicated receptionist whose services are only available during the office hours, a telephone answering service provider can answer all your calls 24/7. So you’ll constantly have someone to deal with the public queries and provide quality client service.

 

For further details on our dedicated Events line contact

janine.kirkland@zebpa.co.uk

0208 234 6104

 

Written by

Janine Kirkland

6 Guidelines for Effective Credit Control

6 Guidelines for Effective Credit Control for Subscription Services:

 

  1. Take payment up front if you can. Otherwise you could be providing the service for nothing if the customer cancels early.
  2. Take a deposit. This can be in addition to or as well as a “set up fee”.
  3. Try to obtain the client’s card or bank details so you can set up a regular means of payment, preferably by direct debit.
  4. Stipulate your credit terms, and stick to them. If your invoice says “Due on receipt” then chase immediately.
  5. Do not let arrears build up, as one month’s arrears can easily become three or four.
  6. Do not overlook a payment that a customer might have missed for one month.
Zeb PA

Professional tip for small Businesses!

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Its hard work and a real challenge running your own business.  The market place is full of new start-ups and this is why it’s important from the start that you give your business a chance to keep up with the competition by giving it the right first impression!

So picture this scenario. Your website is your virtual shop that makes your presence known to your customers.  Your potential client has just checked out your website and presuming you have this right, the customer is now looking to invest in your product or service.  The customer has a quick question so searches for the landline number and can only find a mobile.  What does this say to a customer? Red Alert!  Is this a real company? Will it still be existing tomorrow, in a week, next month?

The psychology behind a customer purchase is pure and simple; The customer wants assurance that they are dealing with a professional company.

A local landline number says so much to your potential customers and its importance is often over looked by start-ups and small companies. The truth is this can impact the decision on whether a customer commits to purchase with your business or not.

Whilst you may well be working from home in your PJ’s (let’s be honest as a small business owner who has not done that) having a land line number on your website, business card, flyers, gives customers that instant association that you and your team (even though that team may just be you) are a professional company.  It tells customers you are an established local company and it gives them the reassurance they need to make that purchase.

With Zeb.PA you can choose a local landline number that rings straight through to your mobile or have it diverted to another landline. You are in control of your number so your clients can reach you wherever you are.

At just £5 per month our numbers are an affordable option so all small business owners can give their business ‘the right first impression’. We can even have you set up on the same day.

A local landline number says so much to your customers. It tells them you’re established. It’s reassuring and looks professional. But it’s no good if you’re not there to take their call…

Zeb.PA also offers a professional Telephone answering service for times you aren’t able to get to the phone. Starts at £35 per month (includes free landline).

 

For further information contact:

janine.kirkland@zebpa.co.uk

0208 234 6104

 

Written by Janine Kirkland

 

Don’t Forget to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

Main thing

In the words of Brigadier General Gary E. Huffman, “The main thing to remember is, the main thing is the main thing.”

in military operations  this related to “mission creep” but it is just as apt in the world of business. Essentially, it means concentrating on your core business and not being distracted by other opportunities that end up taking resources away from your main money making activity.

If your core business is no longer profitable then naturally it may be important to consider diversification, but it may be better to refocus.

Back in 1990, Harvard academics C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel identified the need for businesses to concentrate on their “core competencies”. This means a roofer is better off sticking to roofing and not getting involved in general building, or it might not be a good idea for a security company who are known for only supplying personnel to offer equipment as well.

This idea has been taken further since the early 1990s, as large firms began to outsource parts of their business to other companies. These activities were usually those that did not generate any revenue in themselves. These included customer service call centres, delivery, and IT. As these activities consumed resources, such as management time and money, it made sense to hand these over to another company with expertise in that field.

Outsourcing leaves businesses free to concentrate on doing what they do best, and in recent years small businesses have also been able to benefit from all the advantages that it offers. These include:

 

  1. Freeing up time, for both managers and existing staff
  2. Keeping costs down by reducing overheads
  3. Allowing flexibility and agility in times of rapid change and uncertainty

 

But it is also important to remember that the right outsourcing firm is chosen. Their values need to be your values, and their vision must be aligned with yours. Attention to detail and customer service might be two of these of these values, for it’s almost certain they form part of your main thing.

Are All Your Eggs in One Basket?

Eggs in basket

 

Eggs come in all different sizes but pretty much the same shape. But it doesn’t really matter whether they’re from ostriches or wrens, if they’re all in one basket then you need to watch that basket.

 

If you’re running a business, no matter how small, you need to manage and minimise risk. You can’t eliminate it completely, of course, as all entrepreneurial activity involves risk.

 

You can take out insurance, but this will only protect against certain types of risk. Your terms and conditions may be cast iron but they can’t cover all eventualities. One of the biggest risks is not having a broad enough spread of customers.

 

It’s a tremendously exciting moment when you land your first big client but it’s important not to neglect your other clients as a result. However, it’s almost a given that once you’ve been in business for some time the Pareto Principle will begin to assert itself. The Pareto Principle is more often known as “The 80/20 Rule”, and in this context it usually means that 20 per cent of clients generate 80 per cent of your turnover.

 

The greatest fear will then be the loss of one of those big clients. Large clients know this, and they may try to take advantage of the fact. How then, do you reduce your exposure to this level of risk?

 

  1. Quantify your level of risk. How much is that big client paying you?
  2. Look after that big client, provide exceptional service, dovetail into their business, and they’ll find it difficult to leave.
  3. Never stop marketing, and aim to recruit new clients to the value of the big client as soon as possible.
  4. Do everything right. Pay attention to detail.
  5. Don’t take your eye off the ball and avoid complacency at all costs. In the words of Emil Gumbel, the German statistician, “It’s impossible that the improbable will never happen.”

 

But remember, that big client chose you because of what you do. Others will too.

14 Tips on What Telephone Answering Service to Use

Susan

Given that the vast bulk of the 5 million plus businesses in the UK are “small” ones, http://www.fsb.org.uk/stats , then the number of them who have a use for a telephone answering service is significant. There could be a variety of reasons why they find it beneficial to use an answering service:

  • A roofer might not want to miss new enquiries whilst they’re out on site.
  • A solicitor will not want to be interrupted while they’re preparing a brief or in court.
  • A medical practitioner can’t be disturbed if they’re with a patient.

So if you’ve recognised the need for an answering service then it will be a good idea to think about the following:

  1. What do you need them for?
    Is it simply a case of having someone on hand to answer the phone and take messages, or do you require more complicated work to be carried out? Either way, you need to be certain that your calls will handled with professionalism at all times.
  2. Ask how long they’ve been in business.
    A good reputation takes time to acquire. So does expertise. Startups are simply unlikely to have all the resources to employ the number of staff required to operate a professional service. Those that don’t aren’t going to be around for very long. If they’ve been in business for 10 years or more then they must be keeping their customers happy.
  3. Ask for testimonials.
    These will help you sort the wheat from the chaff. A good answering service will be able to provide plenty of references and testimonials. It may also pay to ask around or do some research online.
  4. Test them out.
    At the very least, a professional telephone answering service will offer a free trial. This will allow you to gauge the quality of the service, and how many calls they might take for you.
  5. What are their response times?
    How long does it take for them to answer the phone? How did they answer the phone when you made your initial enquiry? Were you able to speak to someone about your requirements straightaway, or were they so busy it took some time for them to get back to you?
  6. Ask about accuracy.
    A common issue with call answering services is poor accuracy, with phone numbers being taken down incorrectly, and callers’ names being spelt wrong. Whilst 100 per cent accuracy can never be achieved, the agents should at least be reading back numbers and asking for unusual names to be spelt out. Familiarity with the phonetic alphabet is essential.
  7. Find a local company.
    Having some knowledge of the local area, coupled with agents speaking with the same accent as your callers will help if you want the service to be seamless.
  8. What does their website look like? Are they investing money in their shop front?
    If they’re unable to find the resources to fund an up to date website then they’re unlikely to be running a successful business.
  9. Is their technology state of the art?
    Technology has become crucial for the delivery of an efficient call answering service. Ask the provider what systems they use and how often they update them.
  10. What size are they? Too small or too big?
    A company with thousands of clients will certainly have lost the personal touch, but if they’re small with just one or two staff then their capacity won’t extend beyond handling a couple of dozen clients
  11. Treat them like your own staff.
    Ensure you brief your call answering service thoroughly, giving them as much information as you would provide to your own team.
  12. You’re investing in the future of your business.
    You may think that your calls are better handled in-house by your team, or by yourself. However, you or your team might not always be available, or you could spend your time more productively on the tasks in hand. Compare your missed call rate and potential lost business with the modest spend you’d make on telephone answering.
  13. He who buys on price buys twice.
    Beware of answering services offering out their services too cheaply. This inevitably means they have to compromise on the number of staff they employ and how much they pay them. Poorly paid staff are poorly motivated. This will be reflected in the service they provide.
  14. Is it their core business?
    There are plenty of business centres and other companies who have decided to offer or include telephone answering as a bolt on service. Most of their revenue will be derived from other sources, such as office rental. Consequently, there is no incentive for them to provide an efficient service.

Hiring Now!

Hiring Now!

How many organisations are saying that at the moment? A lot more than before, but what’s stopping even more from doing so?

No organisation takes on staff unless they really need them but if you want to grow your business then sooner or later you’ll have to employ somebody. If you’ve ever read “The E-Myth” by Michael E. Gerber then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it then you might find it will change you and your business.

If, on the other hand, you haven’t got any plans to grow your business then think about what your competitors are doing. A business is like a tree in the forest. If you’re not growing then others are, and slowly they will grow around you, taking away your light and nutrients. They may not even allow you to progress beyond the seedling stage.
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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs of Apple was, by most accounts, a perfectionist. When Ken Segall, an Apple consultant, failed to notice the keyboard on an iMac used in an advert was a subtly different shade of blue to the rest of computer Steve Jobs went ballistic.

You might wonder then, how Steve Jobs became CEO of a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Think of perfectionists and you might think of accountants, engineers or surveyors. They are all worthy professions but not necessarily suited to taking the helm of a business.
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