Coronavirus closing offshore call centres

| March 25, 2020

With more than 50 million people in the Philippines now under lockdown, the world’s largest offshore call centres with 1.3 million call centre workers[i], are forced to close indefinitely leaving Australian businesses stranded. Australia’s onshore call centres are also struggling to cope as capacity is cut by up to 50% to accommodate staff safe distancing guidelines.

“In the past weeks, we’ve seen a huge spike in calls from companies scrambling to either replace now defunct South-East Asian call centre operations or to back-up over-stretched Australian call centre teams” says Michael Davison, CEO of Virtual Headquarters.

“We are considered the best option for these companies because we already have a national network of local professional receptionists working from home. They have the same technology as the big call centres, but our system allows them to work remotely answering calls 24/7.  The Australian based reception team already answer calls for up to 10,000 Australian businesses daily which include small and medium sized companies, as well as some of the biggest known brands.”

Mostly in their 40’s and with kids all grown up, these virtual receptionists are now stepping in to answer the calls of companies hit by the Coronavirus Covid-19 crisis.  Businesses are struggling to keep operations going with in-house receptionists forced home to look after school children, staff working remotely, or people falling sick or at risk of infection.  Looking for ways to keep sales and service operations going, this easily scalable resource of call answering professionals has come as a welcome relief to many big businesses who otherwise had calls from frantic customers going unanswered.

“Virtual receptionists have been the backbone of Australian small and medium sized businesses for over a decade” says Michael.  “We don’t have the overheads of call centre buildings, so we pass those cost savings on to our customers in the form of lower prices and our receptionists get to stay at home and earn a good living.  It is a win-win.”

The virtual receptionist industry in Australia started around 2005.  At that time big business pushed most of their call answering operations offshore to cut operating costs.  Meanwhile small and medium sized businesses turned to virtual receptionist service providers who offered their customers a genuine Australian accent, local knowledge and a sense of real connection.  With the Covid-19 crisis, Australia’s big businesses using local virtual receptionists are set to give their customers the reassurance and sense of trust they are looking for by connecting them to someone they can more easily relate to in difficult times.

And it isn’t just big business that these virtual receptionists are going to be supporting.  The shut-down announced in Australia will mean small businesses may need to quickly adopt an online ecommerce model which often works best with telephone sales and service able to handle any number of multiple inbound calls at a time.

“We know that business owners are struggling right now, and we want to help them,” Mr Davison.  Virtual Headquarters are offering businesses access to their virtual receptionist service with immediate set up in a 7 Day Virtual Receptionist Free Trial.  The Free Trial instantly provides businesses a local business phone number to divert calls to and a virtual receptionist answering their calls within minutes.

“We can answer all calls for those businesses 24/7, including responding to basic customer enquiries, so they can focus on more business-critical issues such as restructuring, staff and financing.  We are also offering back-up services for sick employees, staff working from home or to help overwhelmed in-house receptionists”, he says.