"teleBIZZ has been an important response partner to BP over the last 5 years. We have relied on their IT expertise and professional, friendly call centre team to develop and expedite an efficient reliable response strategy for mobilizing the BP Regional Emergency Response Team for the Europe Africa and Middle East region."
BP Crisis & Emergency Response Manager
The death of the nine to five working culture through advances in technology has led a "virtual receptionist" firm into agreeing an unusual new partnership. Telebizz, which operates out-of-hours services for companies including BP, has signed a deal with fellow virtual receptionist firm Essential Business Solutions (EBS) to handle night time calls. Each firm will handle calls for each other taken during the hours of darkness. The reason they can do this? Because EBS is based in Sydney, Australia.
Telebizz's managing director, Gillie Scherr, said the move had only been made possible by technological advances made in the last few years.
"One of the great opportunities is that we will be able to offer 24/7 back-up for business clients," she said.
"We will be bringing a lot of business from Australia to the Westcountry. In Australia they haven't had the technology until very recently - we could not have done this two or three years ago."
Sydney is 11 hours ahead of GMT, meaning that EBS is ideally placed to handle night work for the English company and vice-versa.
Virtual Receptionist is a personalised message-taking service.
When clients ring they are greeted by a virtual receptionist giving your company name, who then informs them that you are not currently available and takes any messages they might want to leave or can transfer the caller, dependant on the client needing, for example, emergency call-outs.
Messages are then sent instantly to the client via e-mail and SMS if desired.
The message is also stored in a private "web-based office" so they can be accessed remotely.
Ms Scherr said the firm had been looking for ways to take its operation 24-hour for some time, but it had been difficult to do so within the United Kingdom. A chance trip "Down Under" changed the situation.
"We have not offered our Virtual Receptionist clients a 24/7 solution in the past, as there have been all sort of issues such as the costs of overnight staffing and the difficulties of running overnight home working teams," Ms Scherr said.
"We have increasingly had more and more enquiries for 24/7 services, as even the smallest companies can be working in a global market or just want to take an edge on their competitors.
"With so many people working from home these days, often in the evenings, people catch up on their e-mails and want to make a few calls.
"We had a trip to Australia over Christmas and I found the customer service in the country was so good that I thought that doing this made so much sense. The difference is that they are not so used to virtual receptionist systems as we are."
The link-up has seen Telebizz ship its server technology to New South Wales in Australia ahead of a planned March 1 launch for the joint service.
Telebizz is based at Langage Business Park outside Plymouth, its home for the last ten years. It was set up by Ms Scherr and her husband Nick Lunn, and employs 20 staff.