10 October 2012

Telephone Tips For Busy People

By Paul Roy, Director of Sales

I see it as common practice that many people push their calls to voice mail as they deem themselves to be busy to answer the call. I believe if you are not faced with a close dead line that requires your immediate attention you are actually taking more time to push to voice mail. Consider the lost time to retrieve the voice mail and then call them back if they leave a message.  I keep going back to the point that many callers hang up when they are greeted by voice mail or an automated attendant.  If the call was an inquiry for your services you have lost the opportunity to gain a new piece of business to a competitor.

Let imagine you’re in a meeting and your phone rings.  What would you do?  Do you let it go to voice mail or do you answer it.  My decision would depend on who the call is from and of course who I am  meeting with.  These things often require a split second decision. Making the right choice can make or break an opportunity.

Here are some tips that work for me while I am in a meeting.

  1. 1.I look and see who the call is from on my screen display.
  2. 2.If the call is from a friend or family member I allow it to go to voice mail. They will leave a message as there is an expectation I will return the call.
  3. 3.If the meeting is an extremely important one I just put the phone to mute and forget I have it.

Personally I have Answer365 who handles my calls when I am in a meeting. The caller then gets the human touch.  Not voice mail.  Yes. Every caller leaves a message.

  1. 4.Another possible scenario is that you are in a meeting that is less important and the call is one I want to take. I handle it thisI look the person I am in the meeting with straight in the eye and I say ‘ I have a personal policy of answering my calls. I will just be two seconds to advise them I will call them back.  Would that be OK ?’  They never say no.  Here is where it gets good. ‘ I advise the caller I am in a meeting at the moment. May I call you back following my meeting? ‘  It’s that simple.  What happens at this moment in time is that the person you are in the meeting with sees you value their time and they have your full attention.  This helps build credibility with your customer or potential customer.  Never ever, get engaged in a conversation with the caller while you are in a meeting with another person.  
  2. 5.If you are not in a meeting and your phone rings, just answer it.

One of the main reasons I handle calls this way is that I absolutely hate voice mail.  In fact most people do and that is why 80 percent of callers hang up when they get voice mail.  Today’s business climate is strongly based on trust and relationships. Good phone handling practices will help you become more effective in business.

You may wish to try some of these tips yourself, however I suggest tht you establish a personal set of rules you are familiar with so you do not stumble through the exercise of what you should do when your phone rings in a meeting. Pick up the phone when possible. Good things will happen. Maybe, just maybe, it’s a new customer.