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Manage Your Time Effectively By Using A Virtual Switchboard
If you run a small business it is likely that you wear several hats by necessity and this makes it all the more important to manage your time effectively. It is also important to build a reputation for always doing what you say you will do. Being reliable is the easiest way to ensure customers give you more business. Itís just so much easier to use someone you know will do the job rather than someone who has to be chased.
One of the areas that should be immediately addressed is how you manage incoming phone calls since you can save valuable time by not allowing work to be interrupted it is all too easy to allow them to disrupt what you are doing. How many times have you answered the phone in the middle of doing something else then, when the call ends, forget to finish the previous job? This endangers your reliability and can easily lose you business. So itís important to manage incoming phone calls effectively otherwise you run the risk that they will mismanage you.
You can save valuable time by not allowing work to be interrupted. A good way to manage phone calls is to allocate specific time slots when you will make return calls. Perhaps one hour in the morning and another in the afternoon. Callers wonít mind waiting for your return call if they know you are reliable about so doing.
You can safely avoid answering every phone call by offering callers the ability to leave a voicemail message. Your greeting shouldnít just request callers to leave a message. Be more specific by asking callers to leave their name, phone number and what it is they want. This enables you to prepare your answer to their query. Otherwise youíll find yourself responding to a caller to ask what they want then having to call them back again with the answer.
Itís amazing how often people will call simultaneously, especially as your business becomes busier. If you only have one incoming line this can be a problem. However, it can easily be solved by using a virtual switchboard service that, in the UK at least, is often available free of charge.
A virtual switchboard is never engaged even if you only have one incoming line. Every caller will be answered and, if you are not answering calls right away, will invite them to leave a message. Most virtual switchboards will email the message to you as a voice file, which has much more clarity than an old fashioned answering machine. Many will even email you the phone numbers of callers who hang up without leaving a message.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should always answer calls in a professional way by announcing the name of your business. This can be difficult for home workers with only one phone line unable to distinguish between business and private calls. But it is easily solved by another function of most virtual switchboards called a whisper. When you answer a call from the virtual switchboard, the whisper feature will announce that it is a business call and invite you to accept it by pressing a key on your handset. This way you can either ignore the call and send it to voicemail or answer it straight away in the name of your business.
With modern technology every business however small can handle calls effectively and in a way that enables the business owner to make the most of every valuable minute.
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