The phone is always ringing—or at least, it should be if business is good. And yet, you don’t exactly want to be tethered to the desk all day or have your time eaten up by fielding phone calls left and right. How are you supposed to find the balance? As a decision-maker or business owner, it’s your job to talk to people and make sure that everyone who contacts your company gets what they need. That starts by answering the phone.
Of course, that phone is also going to eat up valuable hours of your day. It could create a situation where you never get anything done because you’re constantly bouncing between phone calls and only spending a few minutes at a time on other work. How do you do it? How do those successful, multi-millionaire business professionals do it? How is it that everyone is making and taking calls, but you’re the only one who is always on the phone?
In the list below, we’ll cover everything from time management tips to productivity assistance that will help you delegate your time, regulate your phone usage, and keep calls to a minimum when you are busy running your business.
The best thing that you can do is to set a dedicated time each day to reply to messages, make phone calls, and return calls that you’ve missed. Then, you will have the time and attention to address everything relatively quickly and move on with your day. This is much better than dropping everything to pick up the phone and return calls randomly as you go about your day. That’s a total disruption, which is where a dedicated time for calls can come in handy.
Rather than just ignoring a call or letting it go to voicemail, you can use the quick reply feature that allows you to send a text. This acknowledges that you got their call and that you do want to talk to them, but you aren’t available at this exact moment. This will allow you to transition into setting up a time and date for a call. If the prospects know that you’re sincere, they’ll be happy to make adjustments or be more flexible in their availability. It might even get people to email you, skipping the phone entirely.
While you can’t force people to use one platform or another to reach out, you can suggestively advise them on how they’ll get a better response. For example, if you hate talking on the phone (as most of us do), you can easily send a message or tell them that it’s much easier to reach you via email or text so that you don’t miss anything important. This will also make whoever is contacting you feel special because you’re giving them insights about your preferences for contact.
You can’t tell clients that you’re available 24/7 and then never answer their after-hours calls because you don’t feel like it. On the same hand, though, you also can’t be constantly available for clients to your detriment. When you start a business, list your business hours carefully. Make sure that you are giving people hours of operation, as well as preferred calling hours. You might even want to set up an after-hours communication plan with a third-party answering service like the team at Smith.ai so that you can keep your boundaries and still field all those calls.
If you want to get off the phone completely, you can always hire someone else to field the calls for you. This will ensure that you never have to take a call unless it has been deemed necessary and that all calls will still be answered professionally, promptly, and by someone who knows what they’re talking about. Of course, hiring someone can get expensive and for SMBs, money is never easy to come by. If you realize that hiring someone isn’t on your list of possibilities, you might want to stick to outsourcing to a third-party receptionist service instead. In either case, have dedicated people doing the work.
Don’t just randomly pick up the phone here and there to return calls. Yes, you should return calls as soon as possible, but you should also do it efficiently instead of interrupting the rest of your day. Having to field the phone calls and still try to manage other aspects of your business can prove to be quite a challenge. Fortunately, if you take the time to create processes and standards, you will have a much easier time fielding calls and you’ll find that you spend a lot less time on the phone overall.
This can also help ensure that leads aren’t dropped and calls aren’t missed, helping improve your conversion rates and marketing success in more ways than one.
You’ve got a business to run and you don’t have a budget big enough to bring on the type of assistance that you need fielding phone calls and messages all day long. Fortunately, you no longer have to choose the lesser of two evils. You can choose to work with the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, who will deliver top-rate service for every single call that comes in, no matter what time of night or day.
Our 24/7 receptionists can also assist with things like lead intake and appointment scheduling, as well as outbound sales and support, and more. Plus, we’ll help you create a strategy to make sure it’s all well-managed and take care of anything else you need.
Schedule a consultation to learn more about how the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can field your business calls and improve communications. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 727-6484.