Claire Brewerton, co-founder of the family-run Virtual Business Centre, based in the South West of the UK is celebrating the 21st anniversary of the business which works with brands across the country and in Europe.
The 47-year-old co-founded the Wiltshire business in 1999 with her husband Marc Brewerton with the backing of her parents Ken and Barbara Cooper. Ken was already well known as a local businessman and owned Brinkworth House which he ran as a business centre. In fact Ken had originally created his first business centre, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, in Manchester in the 1980s.
Claire said: "Based upon Marc's strong IT support skills and my marketing background we saw a gap in the market between physical office space and working from home - it was already clear that there was a need for people to have a virtual office for their businesses to give them that professional edge, or simply to outsource tasks to make their own business more efficient. That need has grown and grown and we believe it will continue to do so.
"Marc and I had always planned to return to Wiltshire when the time came to think about having a family so setting up our business was the perfect solution - especially in the early days as I was able to run Brinkworth House for my father whilst establishing The Virtual Business Centre."
For most of its life, the Virtual Business Centre was based in Brinkworth House working with businesses up and down the UK. However in 2019, after months of planning and preparation, the team of 25 moved to a purpose-built unit at nearby Malthouse Cottage Farm.
"It was a natural evolution of the business for us," Claire said. "We wanted our own space for our team and we have the capacity now to grow significantly and offer more services. Our ethos is to offer a friendly and efficient voice on the telephone to engender confidence in our clients' service or products. We believe great customer service will naturally generate sales."
Claire and her team provide services including telephone answering, intelligent telemarketing, outsourced customer service department, live chat, marketing via text service and email inbox management. They offer cover seven days a week from 8am to 11pm at night, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm at weekends and only close over the Easter weekend and Christmas.
During lockdown, the business has continued as normal - based upon Claire and Marc's technological skillset and resources, their staff were all provided with secure laptops and VOIP phones to enable them to work safely and securely from home. Staff will now gradually return to the office on a shift rota basis to ensure social distancing.
Their clients vary enormously and include high-end shoe manufacturer Eves & Gray London; Aqueos which offers equine and dog products; Herbs on the Hill offering herb-based natural skin care products and business owners like Chris Goodchild of Supportwise IT Services Ltd. They also provide telephony, booking and customer query handling for major sporting events which cannot be named.
Picture shows Claire Brewerton, co-founder of the Virtual Business Centre celebrating the company's 21st anniversary as her team work remotely.
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