[This article was written by Anita Ginsburg.]
Busy professionals know that they must manage their office calls in an organized and efficient manner if they want to succeed. It doesn’t matter if you’re the owner of a company or a lower tier employee. Disorganization and inefficiency waste time and money. The following tips can help you to better manage your office calls:
Choose a Gatekeeper
If a receptionist transfers calls to your direct line, make certain that this employee is capable of wise judgment. They must be able to separate effortlessly urgent and other important calls that you need to pick up immediately from non-important ones that can go to voicemail. They must also be able to remain professional and calm no matter the situation. Additionally, an excellent gatekeeper can save you time and money by determining if someone else can handle a call. If a caller needs you to conduct some sort of research or reply via email, your gatekeeper can also reduce your workload by handling some of these tasks.
Invest in Calling Features
Most telecommunications companies offer business customers a wide selection of business phone solutions to help make managing office calls and other work processes easier. Set up a toll-free phone number and VOIP service with or without an automated phone tree and remote call center with agents who can act as gatekeepers for your inbound or after-hours calls.
Consider setting up a readable voicemail service that translates the audio into text and sends it to you via email. Another option is to track how well your advertisements are performing based on the number and type of calls received on a specific phone line that was displayed in an ad.
Update All Contacts Often
It’s critical that you also manage your contacts. Remove any outdated names and numbers from your contacts regularly so that you can scroll through the list quickly during those times you can’t type a name to search. If your phone offers a voice search option, turn it on to make finding a contact even easier.
It’s also important that you make certain that your voicemail and away email responses reflect your actual schedule, current contact number, and location or circumstances, if applicable, at all times. Otherwise, you might start to receive a lot of voicemails for no other reason than you didn’t advise close contacts or the public that you changed your office hours or went on vacation.
Create a Callback Plan
Many office workers take direct calls or check their voicemails throughout the day. Some people literally stop whatever they’re doing to reply to a caller. This type of impulsive behavior can cause you to work inefficiently. Instead, if possible, never take direct calls unless you recognize the caller’s number or you expect the call. Organize voicemails by urgency and type on a callback list, and then pick specific times of day to call people back by category. Some telecommunications providers can also provide you with this service using automated systems or live agents.
Controlling how consumers perceive you is an important part of building a successful business and brand. If you fail to manage your calls as optimally as possible, members of your target market might start to believe that you don’t care about them or their interest in your business. Ignoring questions, missing complaint and sales calls, or sounding rushed on the phone as the result of call mismanagement can make customers perceive you as highly disorganized or even lazy. Start thinking today about how you can improve your business and public presence through these call management strategies.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.