Does your phone ring off the hook at the worst times of the day? Unexpected business calls can disrupt your flow and eat up big chunks of your time; BUT because they also give you the chance to offer customer care or to make a sale, you can’t just ignore them!
What can be done?
We have put together some advice on how you can minimise the disruption to your day and still allow your customers to contact you when they want to. (VA approved: We use these in our business daily!)
Manage Your Incoming Business Calls By…
Having a Dedicated Business Line
If you run a business from home, then it pays to have a separate phone number that you use for business calls only. This not only helps add to business professionalism, but it means that you know your incoming calls will be about business and not Aunt Mary ringing for a chinwag!
Framing The Call Correctly
You can save a lot of time on idle chit chat by correctly framing the call to begin with. When you pick up the phone deliver a professional greeting that gives your caller all the information they need upfront. Greet them, tell them your business name and your own name, then ask ‘how may I help you?’
This kind of greeting prevents the need for the caller to ask too many questions and encourages them to get straight to the point. You can use your time wisely to answer their query, not chat about the weather!
Keep Your Calls On Track
While chatting is a great way to build a relationship with your clients, it takes up a lot of time. Try to keep business calls on track and to the point. Prioritise your time as you speak. If it is a quick question, then answer it straight away. If it is more complex and research is required, arrange a time to call the client back when you have more time to focus.
Have A Way To Keep Notes
Keep a notepad and pen by the phone or an open document on your computer where you can take notes while on the call. This will stop you wasting time trying to recall what you spoke about and which actions you have to make when you hang up the phone. You might also choose to have a cheat sheet of the questions you get asked all the time at hand so that you can quickly produce the information that you need.
Always close each conversation with a recap of what you spoke about and what steps will follow the phone call. Then your caller knows what to expect, and you know what you have to do.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
When people call a business, they are explicitly expecting human interaction. But you might not always be available to speak. For those times, you need to have a friendly voicemail service set up to take their details and advise them that you will call them back. That way, they still have their call acknowledged, and you can call them back at a convenient time.
Have An Email Option
Make it easy for your customers to contact you in a way that is not by phone. That could be via email or a messenger app. Both of these ways are great as you can answer the queries in your own time. You could even have a set time of the day where you solely answer client messages. This allows you to group all of your client interaction into one period and focus on other areas throughout the day.
Only Deal With The Important Calls
Let’s face it; there are a lot of queries that you don’t need to answer personally. Sure, the person on the other end of the phone wants an answer, but that could be from anyone who has the right information. Instead of wasting time returning calls that relate to queries of this kind, only return the important calls that need your personal touch.
For all the others, use a skilled VA like the ones on our team at Virtual Assistants.
A word from Virtual Assistants Director, Terri Boote – “I will let you in on a little secret, I don’t actually clear my own voicemail messages, my VA does. Yes, I know it is funny that a VA specialist has a VA of her own, but it is vital to have someone to help me keep my business running efficiently and prevents me from downtime. One of the services we offer our clients (and one that my VA does for me) is to check and clear your voicemail messages, then phone back the people who left the messages. We quantify the query, answer the simple questions ourselves and only give you a small list of calls to make. Then, you can make those business calls at a time that suits you”.
So, if you hate clearing your voicemail messages then let us handle it for you. Gain precious time back in your day and only make the calls that truly need your personal touch. Get in touch with us today to see how this service could work for your business.