Answering phones ?!

Leanna Kalka

New Member
I have just started my business about a month ago and have been asked about answering phones for people. Which I would expect that I could have their phones transferred to me, but my question is what is the best and most inexpensive way of doing this? Isn't there software that you can get phone numbers so that I can use these numbers to have the customers forward their calls to? I am confused about this. I obviously don't want to use my business or (personal) numbers, but just am unsure about the best way to do go about providing this service.

Can anyone help with this? Or is this a service that most VA's just would rather not mess with.
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
Good question - I don't offer answering phones as a standard service but I do answer phones for select clients when they go on holiday.

In those instances I set up a Skype-In number that is *local to my client's area code* (it's a minimal expense but I do invoice for it). My client then handles setting up the call forwarding from her end so that her line rings through to the special SkypeIn line. I set up a voice mail for the hours I am out of office OR reroute the calls back to the client's business voicemail - then go in the next a.m. and check for calls that need to be returned.

It's not something I do often, or even have been asked to do often, but for special clients I'll offer nearly any service once in a while that helps them feel that they're contracting a luxury ;)
 

Leanna Kalka

New Member
I'm not reallly offering it as a service either, but I do understand VA seems to be a fairly new concept for the most part in my area, so I guess I am willing to start small in an effort to help clients learn what a VA can do for them.

I did go to Skype and purchased a Skype #. Fairly inexpensive to do actually. Purchase for 3 months to try it out basically. See how it goes.

It was nice that when I purchased the number, I got voicemail with it. So if this all turns out to work okay, I can see possibly purchasing a couple more skype #'s possibly for transcription purposes? I'm not quite sure if that is possible though. We'll just have to see how this transpires.

Thanks for your help on this Tess!! :sunny: :thumbsup:
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
You're most welcome :) Yes, it is nice that a Skype number comes with free voicemail.

I think you can purchase up to ten incoming numbers with one Skype account - and you can purchase numbers either local to U.S. area codes or in many countries across the world as well.
 

Kerans VA

Member
Hello Leanna,

I actually answered phones for a client last year and I wouldn't do it again. While the client supplied the phone (equipped with voice mail) and I had a fair amount of freedom as to when I was answering the phone, I still found it too restrictive. Perhaps it would work better for someone that doesn't have small children, but it also made me feel too much like an employee.

Now it would be a premium service I might offer to established clients, but that would be the extent of it. Hope that helps!
 

Rebecka Melson

New Member
I agree with Kate, I HATE answering phones. It makes it hard to concentrate on the work you are doing when you're being interrupted constantly. That's what answering services are for.
 
Hello Everyone,

Reading this question, another question popped into my head. The answer is probably pretty obvious, but I am going to ask anyway. Let's say you have multiple clients in which you offer phone answering services. You would most likely need multiple phone lines in order to have their calls transferred? I mean, you probably shouldn't have one phone line with multiple clients' clients calling you from. It would probably get confusing, no?

I have a whole bunch of questions, as soon as I get my thoughts together, I will be posting a Getting Started Question thread of my own! :)
 
T

TriciaVA

Guest
I never thought about answering calls as being restricting but I can see what you are talking about. I am going to have to think on that and check out the skype. Thanks for the information.
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
Hello Everyone,

Reading this question, another question popped into my head. The answer is probably pretty obvious, but I am going to ask anyway. Let's say you have multiple clients in which you offer phone answering services. You would most likely need multiple phone lines in order to have their calls transferred? I mean, you probably shouldn't have one phone line with multiple clients' clients calling you from. It would probably get confusing, no?

I have a whole bunch of questions, as soon as I get my thoughts together, I will be posting a Getting Started Question thread of my own! :)
:) It's a good question actually, but I've never had to deal with the logistics of answering for more than one client at a time - it's just once in a while when someone goes on holiday - but yes, you'd likely need to have some kind of multi-line phone system in order to answer appropriately for each client's business and if you were going to take voice mail for numerous clients it's an even bigger ball of wax.

I actually don't know a single VA who answers phones regularly, much less numerous phone lines on a daily basis but hopefully someone with some experience in that area can jump in here and give you some insight. ;)
 

bsetc

New Member
Hello! I know I'm a little late to chime in but I wanted to also agree with others that answering phones can be a bit restrictive. You may find that it takes up too much of your time to do so and leaves you not as much time to focus on different things during the day.

Once you do setup a system that works, please share it! I'm sure there would be others who would love to know how to answer multiple lines if you decide to do that.
 

Leanna Kalka

New Member
Thank you all for your input. I had been on the fence as to whether this was a service that I really would want to offer. I am pretty concerned with the time aspect that might be involved. One potential referral keeps telling me he needs someone to answer phones and I'm just not really wanting to do that.
 

equipbiz

New Member
Answering phones is not something we have ever wanted to get involved in - it would be too restrictive and just isn't really an area that we would personally want to concentrate efforts on. There are lots of phone answering services that offer this exclusively to businesses. Most of our clients use an answering service plus VA services from us.

I think (just a personal opinion) that clients who are 'new' to the whole VA way of working are more likely to ask for this service ... I know we have been asked about it by 'newbies' ... but once it was explained to them about what our 'niche' area is and how best to maximise our service at a cost saving to them, they quickly rethink it.
 
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