5 Time-Management Tips for Your Trade Business

Aaron Mason

The following is a guest blog post written by Aaron Mason, CEO and Founder of Combine AI (the software company behind Emma.ai).

COVID-19 has greatly impacted where and how we spend our time. The increased time spent at home has encouraged many of us to take on home improvement projects like renovating the kitchen or finally getting around to fixing that broken tap. As a result of this, trades people may actually have seen a rise in new leads and sales recently — which is great!

But what happens when the influx of calls and managing bookings takes away from time you need to get real work done? Are consultations, quotes, and scheduling tasks taking up more and more of your week? You might need a little extra help better managing your time so you can get more done and keep your customers happy. 

How can you do less work, but get more done?

1. Get help taking on qualified leads  

Whether you have been recommended by happy past clients or someone has found you online, you need to qualify these leads and visit the ones that are qualified. 

To do so without adding more to your plate, you can outsource customer calls, lead qualification, and appointment booking to a virtual receptionist service like Smith.ai. Receptionists can use automated scheduling assistants like Emma.ai to make scheduling calls and adding travel time that much easier. 

We’ll let you in on a secret: Some of your competitors may have outsourced some of their sales process and automated parts of it, too. 

2. Increase your availability by delegating or automating tasks 

Virtual receptionist and web chat services are ready day and night to ensure your customers can get in touch with your business and talk to a real person. You can rest easy knowing all enquiries are actioned, with meaningful information, so your customers can get the answers they are looking for, without you having to lift a finger. 

Integration with apps such as Emma.ai also makes scheduling appointments a breeze. No longer does appointment scheduling have to entail countless back-and-forth emails trying to find a time to suit both parties. Instead, customers can simply get in touch with your virtual receptionists who can then access your shared calendar and make appointments on your behalf.

24/7 availability means every new lead’s call is answered, yet you are never interrupted in the middle of work or any other time. This frees up time for tasks such as discussing customer requirements and issuing quotes in a timely manner, which can often be delayed. In turn, you can expect to see greater customer satisfaction and an increase in revenue. And, of course, by outsourcing the most time-consuming admin tasks to your virtual receptionists, a greater work-life balance can be achieved, which can often be a challenge for those who run their own business. 

3. Offer accurate arrival times to clients 

Tools such as Emma.ai take appointment scheduling one step further by accounting for travel time when arranging appointments. Emma.ai is able to calculate the most efficient form of transport, and route, for any required journey. This ensures that factors such as traffic, road closures, roadworks and accidents are all accounted for in anticipating how much time you’ll need to get to each appointment. 

More accurate "Estimated Time of Arrivals" increase customer satisfaction as they have a better idea of  what time they can expect you. Additionally, when you manage your schedule with Emma.ai, you’ll know about traffic delays as soon as they’re important, which enables your virtual receptionists to notify customers of potential delays. In a society that doesn’t like to wait, these updates can make the difference in a sale, meeting, review, or even a referral.

4. Flexible rescheduling to manage emergencies

We’ve all had home emergencies where a pipe has spontaneously started leaking, or a blocked drain has finally given up the ghost. In those circumstances, your customers need help and they need it fast. This is not a time when a wait-in window of 8am-6pm will suffice; customers need to be kept in the loop as to your ETA. This leads to a better customer experience because they won’t be forced to wait hours at home until you arrive. 

If you need to rearrange your schedule, use your virtual receptionists and automated scheduling tool to keep your calendar and customers up-to-date. If a job takes longer than expected, a scheduling tool that includes a built-in travel time calculator will let you know if you’re going to be late to the next appointment. Have your virtual receptionists notify the next customer, and reschedule the appointment if necessary. There’s no need to spend even more time on scheduling when you’re already late.

5. Use time-management tools to communicate with your team

For those who manage a team of people, using a shared calendar can provide insights as to how well teams are managing their time, and whether there are any areas that could be improved. In a quick glance at your calendar, you can determine if an employee has a free time slot, needs help, or is behind schedule. You can also book appointments on behalf of your employees. Improved time management means businesses run more efficiently, ensuring vital time and resources are reserved for the tasks that really need them. 

In addition, managers can make big-picture assessments of workloads, identifying if any employees are taking on too many appointments, or if others have large gaps of time that could be filled with new appointments. Managers having access to employee’s calendars can ensure that employees’ welfare is taken into account and can be proactively monitored. 

The takeaways 

Ultimately, employing the use of AI-based assistant tools such as virtual receptionists and appointment scheduling software allows trade teams to preserve their time for the tasks that really need them. This enhances customer satisfaction as well, thanks to improved communication and more accurate appointment times. Better time and workflow management is the key for trade professionals to run their businesses more efficiently, allowing for increased productivity and revenue.

Try Emma.ai for yourself

If you want to start streamlining your working day, so that you have more time to spend on the tasks that really require your skill set, give Emma.ai a try today. Use code SMITHAI for 25% off the first year. Head on over to Emma.ai to learn more.

Aaron Mason

Dr. Aaron Mason is CEO and Founder of Combine AI (the software company behind Emma.ai). Aaron is passionate about creating products that improve business productivity through combining AI and human intelligence.

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