Verbatim helps Africa to fight Ebola – and receives the AquAid Badge of Support

Verbatim’s support of AquAid has provided Africa with a much needed new water well to provide clean, safe water – a vital resource that will help villagers there fight the current outbreak of Ebola.

Verbatim's new water well in Africa

Verbatim’s new water well in Africa

Now completed the pump (called an Elephant Pump) bears Verbatim’s name as seen in the picture. We are equally proud to display our AquAid Badge of Support and the team here were all touched when we received a certificate and letter of thanks from the people aided by this new water well. Verbatim will continue to support AquAid as a long standing commitment to helping the people of Africa, especially during times of crisis.

Founder and owner of Verbatim – Graham Hill says this…

“As a boy I lived in northern Nigeria for 4 years and as a young Graduate trainee I had temporary posts in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. I have also travelled on business extensively to Sudan, Algeria and Libya. What struck me then (and this is going back 40 years) was that women would walk for miles every day from their villages to collect fresh water in pots on their heads and then return to their village hours later. Nothing much has changed sadly and to think you and I turn on the tap every day and take it for granted, yet millions of our fellow beings don’t have access to fresh water and good sanitation. We need to stop thinking of it as an African problem but one shared by our species / fellow humans and now with Ebola – which I know will be exacerbated by the lack of hygiene and fresh water. So I applaud AquAid and am proud to contribute via this trusted supplier.”

More about Ebola

Star Wars spotted at Greenham Common

As every Star Wars fan now knows, the Millennium Falcon and two X-wing fighters have been spotted at Greenham Common in West Berkshire, just a 40 mile drive along the M4 to Pinewood Studios, and home to Verbatim – Thames Valley’s leading call answering service for businesses.

With ‘Episode 7’ of Star Wars currently back on track and into its second chunk of filming at Pinewood, the production is approaching the end of its primary shooting phase, and with various locations around the UK being used – scenes have been shot at Puzzlewood, Skellig Island… now Berkshire!

A quick look at the Greenham Common site shows the legendary Millenium Falcon, much-loved stock light YT-1300 freighter owned by Han Solo and co-piloted by his partner Chewbacca.

Early rumours seem to suggest that Solo no longer owns the ship and that the character portrayed by Oscar Isaacs is the new captain of the Falcon. Nobody outside the production knows as yet but there’s no doubt that the ship is looking in great shape, even in her half-completed form, says earth bound Greenham Common based Verbatim. Should non-earthlings descend on Newbury, don’t worry – Verbatim’s 24/7 emergency call out has you covered.

May the calls be with you!

Winners receive their weight in beer

We joined in this year’s World Cup football fever by running a Keepy-Uppy Challenge throughout the duration of the Games – the lucky winners were awarded their weight in beer.

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The challenge was run throughout the World Cup games, and the winners were announced on 16th July. Local businesses on the Greenham Business Park received a personal printed invitation to enter the challenge at Verbatim’s offices – entry sessions were held every Monday and Friday for anyone wanting to drop in and have their best keepy-uppy effort recorded by the Verbatim team. Winner Aman (above left) – a 23 year old employee of Norma UK Ltd, was thrilled to win the challenge after completing an amazing 75 non-stop keepy-ups at Verbatim’s offices just days before the competition closed. He was greeted at Windsor & Eton Brewery on Friday 25th July where he was given 14 cases of beer. Aman said…

“I was ecstatic to find out I was the winner of the keepy-uppy challenge. I took my friends from work along with me and we all had a go. Competition between me and my work friends was tough but I managed to leave with the highest. A few hours later I received a call that I had won! I was over the moon! I had only trained a day before attempting the challenge so was pleased with the result. Upon receiving the beer I was greeted very pleasantly by the Windsor and Eton Brewery where I was given a full tour of the factory and got to taste a variety of their beers! I even got up on the scales and did some keepy-uppy’s. In the end I received 14 crates, was extremely chuffed with my winnings!  I will most definitely be attempting this challenge again next year!”

Challengers could also post a video of their best keepy-uppy attempt on Verbatim’s Facebook page. Winners for this category were also awarded their weight in beer. Winners Richard and Carlos seen below receiving their 8 cases of beer.

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The winner of the £50 M&S voucher – for predicting the final score successfully is Richard White (below) receiving his prize from Graham Hill.

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More fun was had with Verbatim’s ‘Keep your eye on the ball’ challenge. Footballs were carefully (and sneakily) hidden within the 4 page quarterly printed newsletter that Verbatim sends to clients, and with some balls only being 3 mm in diameters this was not an easy ‘spot’. The winners – who spotted all 8 balls – were Hannah and Jane from Guardian Preservation Services who each received a ‘His and Hers World Cup Goodie Pack’ including a bottle of bubbly and luxury chocolates for her,and cider and crisps for him.

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Hannah and Jane receiving their Goodie Pack prize for spotting all 8 balls hidden in the Verbatim newsletter

Staff profile: Ann’s story – 16 years at Verbatim!

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Staff profile: Ann Davidson – 16 years working for Verbatim

In 1998 I found myself at home with a two year old son.  I needed to get back to work and answered an ad in the local paper for a job at Verbatim.

I got the job and started working 3 mornings a week and the odd Saturday morning.  We worked in an office on Main Street, Greenham Business Park and 6 of us sat cosily around a group of desks with our phones and notebooks with a fax machine in the corner.

We started off taking calls, noting down the clients id, typing up the messages and in nine times out of ten, printing the message off and getting up from our seats to manually fax the message over.  Early days and not very high tech but we did the job and the clients were pleased!

As AJ grew, so did Verbatim, we knocked a hole in the wall and moved into the adjoining office.  As AJ went to school I increased my hours to work around his school day and Verbatim, being the family friendly company allowed me work around him all the way through his school years.

We grew bigger and eventually moved into new, bigger offices at Venture West.  More clients, more staff and more hours to work but new technology including emails and texts and automated faxing!

A series of mishaps happened along the way with me, my mums passing and the death of my lovely husband Ken.  My extended family at Verbatim rallied round and supported me with love and compassion.  When times have been tough for me, Graham and the team have always been there and helped me through the bad times, as they do with all of us.

Moving on, my son has just turned 18!  I have now been here 16 years.  I love to chat with my clients and callers and have some great friends and colleagues here.  We always look out for each other through good and bad.  We laugh together, cry together but above all work together to make Verbatim what it is today.  The fundamentals of the job remain the same, answer my phone, talk to my callers in a friendly and professional way,  deliver the message and fulfil my client’s needs.  Job done!!

I cant see me leaving until pension day – which unfortunately is nearer than I would like!!!!

Ann Davidson

Managing your phones need not be a Herculean task

Verbatim, the phone answering serviceAre you excited about the Olympics? It is getting ever closer and the anticipation grows as the torch winds its way through the UK, but much like a dark cloud on the day of a barbecue, there may be trouble ahead if you are a business hoping to trade during the event.

Naturally we wish our Olympians every success this summer and hope that they are laden down with gold medals and hope that the hundreds of thousands of spectators get to their venues in time to witness our triumph.

Verbatim, The Phone Answering ServiceHowever, all the passion comes at a price and without doubt will impact on businesses, not least making it difficult for staff to get to work and clients to access your business if you are near a venue. Perhaps employees have taken time off to watch the Olympics – or even to avoid it?

The point is your telephone will be under more pressure than normal for a British summer and we do know that people will hang up an unanswered telephone in less time than it takes Usain Bolt to run 100 metres. And don’t even think of using an answer phone – seven out of ten people do not leave a message and never call back! Continue reading

When snow stops you reaching the office who will answer your phones?

Snow at New Greenham Park, Newbury, Berkshire

Like it or not when it snows here in the UK it does seem to have a paralysing effect and businesses can struggle to function as workers stay home and the forecast always seems bleak.

Indeed if the Daily Mail is to be believed we are only ever a few minutes away from the worst snow storms since time began! However, here at Verbatim, The Phone Answering Service, we have yet to be troubled by snow – although during that last bad spell we did have someone trek in on skis!

We have always had a can do and get it done attitude and that means we know how to help businesses blighted by a white out.If your calls are diverted to us we can connect them to the relevant member of staff wherever they are stranded courtesy of the British weather.

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Are you being seduced by telephone technology?

The Daily Telegraph reported a story on 24th August 2011 about Devonian Brian Evans’s experience of phone technology when booking a hospital appointment. They covered it in their third item on their Comments section. This is the complete item.

“Speak after the tone…

“When Brian Evans rang his hospital in Devon for an appointment, he found himself talking to a machine. End of article

It is a sadly normal experience.

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To all business owners and staff affected by the riots in London and other UK cities

We wish all of you and your staff and loved ones well in these difficult times. I have been awake all night worrying about my sons and daughter who live in south London. They tell me some of the steets are like war zones. I was really pleased to hear that the spirit of Londoners is still stong and that people are gathering together for the clean up.

Keeping your business open

My firm Verbatim is supporting Workspace Plc and Homefinders of Hackney with a call answering and overflow telephone answering service.  They can send staff home early knowing that their business can remain “open” because their calls are routed to my dedicated team of telephone receptionists in Newbury.

Let me know if you or any of your friends need support to keep their business going.

Verbatim the telephone answering service will be delighted to support them during this period just to keep them up and running until sanity on the streets return!

Would you trust your business calls to a bunch of convicted criminals?

Indian Call Centres driving down costs by employing Jail birds!

We kid you not! We are flabbergasted having just read an article quoting the Indian call centre, Radiant Infosystems, who are planning to implement this bizarre idea to staff a telephone answering service. This Indian call centre has plans to help rehabilitate criminals and offer them employment while getting dirt cheap labour by employing them to staff an inbound call answering service at the Hyderabad Cherlapally Central Jail.

The plan is to hire 250 of the inmates, who can earn up to £1.50 per day, (note up to £1.50 per day), to do things like handle bank account applications and insurance claim forms.

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Is your marketing spend hitting the target?

Once upon a time back in the dark old days of the last century The Viscount Leverhulme of Lever Bros, fame said

50% of my advertising is wasted but I don’t know which 50% it is!”

This was so true for all businesses large or small; those with the deepest pockets could take the 50% punt, but for business owners like you and me the odds were stacked against us.

In the 21st Century that’s all changed with the advent of a liberal telecoms market.

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