Ignore the phone. Does that sound radical to you? It’s not advice that you would expect coming from a business coach.
Shouldn’t you be always available with the highest level of customer service?
Yes. However, your first obligation is always the person right in front of you. Customer service dictates that you should give your full focus to the person that is here right now.
Guess what? Your client didn’t choose you for your product or service. She could have found a million other places to get what you have to offer. There is an Uber for everything! You can even order cleaning help off Amazon these days! She came for the feeling she gets when she buys it from YOU.
But what about the phone? I should really ignore it?
Yes, but I have to add a caveat.
Dedicate time to listen to your voicemails and return calls. Let people know when they can expect to hear back from you. Be sure to leave a clear voicemail that sets the expectations upfront. If you’re running a professional business, it should be within 24 hours. Maybe even sooner.
You get to work around your own schedule and no longer live in a reactive mode. You can be in the driver’s seat of your business.
Okay, so I tried that method and it’s just too overwhelming!
At 9pm at night I sit down with hours of work ahead of me!
Can you set aside smaller pockets of time during the day so that it doesn’t have to add up all at once?
No, I can’t. I’m completely swamped!
Okay. I hear you.
I have something to say that you might not want to hear. This is the time to hire a secretary.
I don’t want to hire. Isn’t there a better way?
Hiring is a better way. But if you want other ideas, I will be happy to share. How about automating?
Maybe things will be easier if you get a special phone system that answers all the basic questions and directs only the most important calls to you. What about moving all your bookings online? You can now relax and let your calendar handle all of that craziness for you.
I like everything What you’re saying, but what about emergencies?
Since when do you work in the emergency business? Are you an ambulance?
OK, I’ll grant you that sometimes there are situations that require immediate attention.
In those cases, keep it short. And apologize like you mean it. If it’s a true emergency, the client will understand and be empathetic. Especially if your service is always so superb.
Oh, and an emergency is not finishing a conversation with your mother about your sister’s holiday plans.
This concept is not rocket science, but it does take practice.
Respect others with the gift of your full attention. And don’t be surprised when they keep coming back for more!