A secretary over the Internet

Find out how one small business owner offered a unique service using the internet.

Find out how one small business owner offered a unique service using the internet.

UPDATE: We’re sorry but this Small Business Video has been temporarily removed. However, the transcription is below – a very interesting case study on the combination of teleworking and broadband internet.

If you’re a company in a specialist sector such as property, law or medicine, or even a large corporate, you often need rapid, accurate transcriptions of dictation. However, in many cases there is often no dedicated secretarial function or insufficient resources in-house. A cost-effective solution is to outsource, but this requires dictation to be sent to typists and then documents returned to the client. A slow, cumbersome process, you may think – but not so with the expansion of broadband.

Norfolk-based OutSec spotted a gap in the market as the availability of broadband grew and placed the internet at the heart of its business strategy. It now provides outsourced secretarial services to a wide range of companies across the UK through its team of 85 secretaries and pool of 250 specialists.

BT Business Broadband has allowed the company to rapidly expand, focusing on teleworking as the best way to broaden its business. The secretaries are based at home and access their work over the internet.

A web presence was essential for OutSec. As a result, it quickly developed a website that allowed it to attract new customers but, more importantly, created a bespoke solution, called FileManager, that allows clients to upload and download large voice files directly to the site. This removed the need for couriering tapes to the secretaries and avoided the problems that can come with using email to transfer large amounts of data.

“Depending on the length of the dictation, the sound files that customers need to get to us can be huge,” explained Richard Phillips, director at OutSec. “By allowing customers to upload the files directly onto the website instead, our secretaries have immediate access to the dictation and can rapidly begin typing up the documents.”

The company also wanted to be able to use transcribers around the world, in multiple time zones, so that jobs from UK-based clients requiring a rapid turnaround could be incorporated.

“For many of our clients, the documents are required within a tight timeframe,” said Phillips. “Broadband has enabled us to meet the growing needs of clients and deliver the level of service they require.

” OutSec is currently growing at around five per cent per month and has more than 180 customers and 800 individual users across the country. These cover a wide range of sectors, including law, accountancy, surveying, inventory and medicine. It has also been recognised in the teleworking category of the annual DTI E-commerce Awards for its innovative use of broadband.

“Broadband has been at the heart of our success,” concluded Phillips. “Without it, our growth would have been a lot slower, because teleworking would have been less cost effective and we couldn’t have provided the levels of service that keep our clients happy and win OutSec new business.”

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