More Telephone Tips
Here are more time management tips to handle inbound phone calls efficiently. (See Time Management Tips for Outgoing Phone Calls for more time-saving ways to handle calls.)
5) Keep a message pad and writing implements by all your phones, so you can jot down details during the inbound phone call.
This is not only good time management at the time, helping to keep you focused on the call, but a help to time management later if you need to find and/or review the details of a particular conversation.
6) Give your clients and customers the email option.
Many of them will use email to contact you rather than phoning if they know what your email address is. Ensure that your company's email address is prominent on your business cards and on your website, if you have one. If you have their email addresses, send email to your current clients and customers, mentioning the email option and presenting it as a way to improve communications.
7) Use technology to manage the time you're spending answering the phone.
As a minimum, your business should have an answering machine and voice mail. Set these up with appropriate business scripts, and use them to answer the telephone for you when you're out of the office or need to work on something uninterrupted. Then schedule time to answer these telephone messages each day. In terms of time management, you'll gain valuable time by grouping telephone calls together.
8) If you're running a home-based business, get a separate business phone or line.
You need to have a second "business-only" telephone with its own "business-only" answering machine and/or voice mail. Not only is this more professional, but it will save you the time it takes to wade through messages and determining which ones are business-related.
9) It's always best to have a person answer the phone.
Having a machine pick up or worse, an automated "choose one of these numbers" system is a real turn off that will cost you business when people don't bother to leave messages or call back. If answering inbound phone calls is taking up too much time during your day, consider hiring a receptionist or a professional answering service to answer the phone for you. The cost of having someone else do it may be more than offset by the increase in your productivity and better sales.
10) Keep a written script of frequently asked questions (and answers) posted by your phone.
It saves you and your employees time if they don't have to search for answers or think about how to answer a particular request when answering the phone.
Telephone Tips Summary
Remember, the telephone is supposed to be a business tool, not an intrusive timewaster that rules your working day. Handling your inbound phone calls according to these time management tips will help you better manage your time, improve your productivity, and put your telephone back in its proper place - helping you run your business rather than running you.