Your phone and the Pavlovian Response

These days phones are almost everywhere. You probably have one in your pocket or handbag, one on your desk at work, and you no doubt have a landline at home too (though these days, it’s often hard to see why). You might even make the distinction between a personal and work mobile, to add more crazy in to the mix.

Phones are there to make communication easier; however, they make getting things done so much harder.

It rings, you answer it; it’s a Pavlovian response and a habit the vast majority of us can’t resist.

However, if you want to get more done it is essential you remember your phone, whatever guise it comes under, is meant to be a tool to help you, not constantly interrupt your day.

Here are my top tips for putting your phone in its place and ensuring you remember who owns who in this relationship!

#1 – Busy? Don’t answer it

You have a phone so you can be reached, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be available constantly. I have a client who will answer her phone no matter where she is – even when in the bathroom!

If you’re busy, you’re busy. Let it go to voicemail, trust me, if it’s important they will leave a message or call back!

#2 – Turn it off

Did you know you can actually turn your phone off? I know, it seems to be news to a lot of other people too. When you really need some quiet, uninterrupted time I strongly suggest turning your phone off. It doesn’t have to be all day, maybe just an hour, but knowing you can’t have any rings, bings or notifications for a whole glorious 60 minutes is an amazing feeling.

Personally I just put my phone on flight mode, but it’s amazing how productive I can be during that short space of time. If nothing else, it stops you being tempted to keep checking if you have missed something. It’s off, just leave it be for a while!

#3 – Respond with a text

If I have my phone on, but I’m not in a position where I can, or want to answer it I tend to cancel the call and immediately reply with a pre-set message such as “Sorry, currently in a meeting, will call you back shortly” or something to that effect.

It can be a great way of acknowledging the call (which is the main reason most people want to answer it in the first place) without being bogged down in having to deal with it there and then. It also buys you some time so the individual won’t phone you back in five minutes simply thinking there was a problem with the connection.

Of course, while everyone can no doubt accept the benefit of having periods of peace and quiet, there is always The Fear. The Fear that the call you miss is going to be the next big lead, client or job. What if they don’t leave a message, and you can’t call them back?

If you suffer from The Fear, then consider getting someone in to handle your calls for you.  Using our call handling service might give you the perfect solution – available for an ongoing basis, or just temporarily to give you the peace and quiet you need to get on with the vital things.

Your call is important to us – or is it?

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a large company or call centre, you are likely to have been exposed to the joys of the automated system.  The pre-recorded voice asking you to select the correct option (many of which never really make sense) and assuring you, every 30 seconds, that your call is important to them.

 

In an ideal world you might hope that your call would be answered immediately, by a cheerful and helpful real live human being. However, with a large organisation experiencing a high volume of calls, that’s not realistic and most of us accept that.

 

Which is why the small business has an advantage.  Your phones aren’t going to be ringing off the hook, you’re not going to have an automated system, or a queue of frustrated people waiting to speak to you.  You should be able to deliver immediate customer service, answers and resolutions the second your customer needs it.

 

Yet, so many small businesses fail to do that, because they don’t have an effective call answering system.

 

Yes, it should be simple; you have a phone, doesn’t matter if it’s landline or mobile, someone calls, you answer.  Job done.

 

Why then, when we phone sole traders and SMEs do so many calls go unanswered?  You ring, no one’s there. If you’re lucky, maybe there’s a voicemail facility – but do you leave a message?  The reality is few people do.  When they do, statistics (and our own personal experiences) show that very few of these are ever returned.

 

The problem is that if you’re a sole trader, you’re having to wear many hats.  You’ve got to answer the calls, do the customer service, chase down leads, do the marketing, balance the books, keep an eye on stock levels, and do the actual work your customers need.

 

Sometimes you’re so busy you don’t have time to make phone calls – even though doing so will help ensure the next lot of revenue for your business.  Really, when you think about it, it’s daft; however, it happens, and it’s perfectly understandable.

 

It even makes sense.

 

What doesn’t make sense though is recognising it’s an issue, and then doing nothing about it.  Why would you continue to miss calls, and risk missing out on customers and income, when all you have to do is get in touch with us?

 

A quick call to Time Saving Heroes and we can have your calls diverted to one of our receptionists, who will answer them as though they work in your business.  Never miss another call again, provide your customers with a fantastic experience, and increase satisfaction and profits.

 

Call us today on 0161 883 2024 or email lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk for more information.

How much is a call handling service worth?

Back in January we answered the question how much should a call handling service cost?  We know that, as business owners, your primary concern is going to be your bottom line. When you decide whether to go ahead with a service or product, you need to know how much it’s going to cost you, your business and what impact that’s going to have on profits.

However, when you simply focus on how much something is going to cost you, you’re not paying attention to the bigger picture.  The reality is, asking how much it is, is ultimately the wrong question.

Instead, you should be asking, how much is it worth?

 

The price of missed calls

Without a professional call handling option (whether that’s inhouse or outsourced) there’s a high chance you’re going to miss calls.  Those calls could be from suppliers, providing you with an update, or they could be from customers.  They could also be from potential customers, or people who are hoping to make a referral to you.

Unfortunately, here at Time Saving Heroes we don’t have a crystal ball.  So, we’re not going to pretend to know for one second how many calls you might miss each day, each week or each month.  Equally, we don’t know how much those calls might be worth to you and your business.

However, we can take an educated guess.

Let’s suppose you miss just one call a week using your current system.

Equally, let’s suppose that call would have been worth £10 per month, for the next 12 months.  That’s £120 lost to your business, from just one call.

Times that by 52, for each week of the year, and you’ve suddenly cost your business a potential £6,240.

Not only have you lost that money, but you’ve also missed out on 52 new customers.  That’s 52 people you can’t upsell to, and that’s 52 people who will no longer be able to recommend you to other people.  Even worse, that’s 52 people who have gone elsewhere, are spending their money with your competitors, and are no doubt recommending your customers over you.

Really, how much is that worth?

Saving you time and money

Here at Time Saving Heroes our standard call answering package is £50 per month.  That ensures your calls are answered, messages are taken, appointments are booked and queries are handled professionally.

That’s £600 per year.

A good call answering service with the right team will pay for itself, rather than cost you anything.  A really good one will even increase your revenue.

 

If you want to find out more about getting us on your side, give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

Why you shouldn’t just have your mobile number on your business cards

Just this morning I was talking to one of our new start-up clients about her business cards, and she was querying whether to put her mobile number on them or not.  She’s a one-woman band, working from home and therefore only has a mobile number.

Equally, because she’s in that starting zone the phone hasn’t started ringing yet.  At this precise moment she thinks the best thing she can offer her potential clients is constant access – she never wants to miss a call, because she never wants to miss business.

All of which makes perfect sense.

However, she hadn’t really thought about what happens when it does start ringing.  The problem with a phone is it’s quite difficult to ignore, especially if you think there’s a sale at the other end.  With most people not wanting to leave voicemails, we have a Pavlovian response to pick up.  Even if we’re at the hairdressers, the supermarket or in the middle of cooking dinner.

That’s all personal choice, but if a new client or a lead calls whilst you’re in an unsuitable location, and they can hear kids screaming in the background, or someone asking if you want fries with that, it’s not going to give the most professional of first impressions.

And they might not call back.

We had a good old chat about it, and she said the problem was she didn’t want to be tied to her house, and she didn’t want to get an office set up just so she could have a landline.  Which is when I asked if she’d ever thought about a Virtual Receptionist.

The benefit of using our call handling service is you have immediate access to a landline number, which will always be answered professionally, to give the right impression of your business.  Our service also means you can have a dedicated voicemail for out of hours, or you can have calls diverted back to you to deal with if you prefer.

We have clients who give out their landline number on their business card and for sales, but once a customer has been confirmed, they move them to their mobiles.  It’s one option, and one that works very well for many.

Another bonus of having a landline number is that it makes you look bigger than you actually are.  We all know we say size doesn’t matter, but let’s not be shy, sometimes it does.  If you only have a mobile number on your business cards it says very clearly that you’re the only person to speak to.  There is no one else.

If you have a landline answered by a professional team, you automatically create a hierarchy.  Now, we’re not saying you’re going to get lots of complaints, but on the odd occasion when someone does want to complain, this hierarchy can work to your advantage.  Either the caller can be placated by an experienced customer service team, or they will feel their complaint has been escalated if they are eventually put through to you.

If they have access to you straight away, there’s nowhere for them to go after that if they remain disappointed.  Other than potentially social media. And nobody wants that.

 

If you want some advice about what to put on your business cards, are just starting out and want to find out about our packages, or just fancy a chat (we love a good chat), give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

 

How much should a call handling service cost?

How much a call handling service costs you will depend largely on what sort of service you’re hoping to receive. Not all offerings are created equal.

 

Human Voicemail

There are some organisations that will only provide you with a human voicemail option. This essentially means that whilst a real-live person will answer your calls, they will do nothing more than simply take a message. These messages may then be emailed to you, or sent over via SMS or even WhatsApp; all depending on your preferences.

This is the most basic option and will usually cost in the region of £30 per month. You might then have additional charges depending on the number of calls you receive, and if you want any add on services, such as customer call back.

 

Customer Service

Other companies, such as Time Saving Heroes, offer a more customer service focussed answering solution. With this option your calls are answered by an individual, or team, who have been trained to understand how your business operates. They act as though they are part of your business, rather than an outsourced entity.

This is essential because it allows them to provide a better level of service to your customer – able to answer questions, deal with queries, handle complaints, make appointments, check order status and even upsell.

Prices for this level of service vary greatly; however, you should never expect to pay less then £50 per month. This ensures that staff are fully trained and able to best represent your company professionally. You may also have additional charges to pay if you exceed your call limits.

 

Virtual Reception

Larger call handling and answering services often have their own office space, and use this to be able to offer a full virtual reception package. This will include not only the customer service element of call handling, but will also allow you to direct any post to their office buildings, which will they will handle on your behalf. They may also have conferencing facilities for you to use, or hot desk options if you require some different to work for any reason.

Again, charges will vary, but virtual reception prices tend to be in the region of £5 per month alone, so expect to pay towards £60 per month for the full package (depending on location, of course).
If you want to find out more about the services we offer here at Time Saving Heroes, please give us a call on 0161 883 2024.

Christmas 2017 Opening Hours

Here at Time Saving Heroes we value your customers as much as you do.  However, we also value our staff, which is why we are also going to be taking a break over the Christmas period.

 

We’d like all our clients to note that our admin section will be closing at 5pm on Friday, 22nd December 2017.  We will then be running a reduced service from 10am on Wednesday, 27th December 2017 until 10am on Wednesday, January 3rd 2018.

 

Our customer service and call handling team will be going on leave from 7pm on Saturday, 23rd December until 10am on Wednesday, 27th December 2017.  They will then go on leave again at 5pm on Sunday, 31st December 2017 and will return at 8am on Wednesday, 3rd January 2018.

 

We would all like to take the time to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for the new year.  Thank you for your support throughout 2017 – and we look forward to working with you again in 2018.

 

When it comes to call handling, you have 3 choices

We recently announced our popular call handling service is back, and it’s better than ever.  We now have a dedicated team able to take your calls, and that’s created the opportunity for us to differentiate ourselves from other company’s offering the same service.

As a result, we have three different options to choose from.

Option 1: Holiday cover

Day to day you may find you’re in control of your phone calls, able to answer them whilst you’re at work, or keeping on top of any messages that come through.

You might even have staff on hand who handle this side of the business for you.

But what happens when you’re on holiday, or your staff take a break?  Who handles the calls then?

We offer a short term package to suit your needs, whether it’s for a week, 10 days or longer.  Our team will be on hand to answer your calls and deal with them according to your instructions.

This is ideal for people who need extra support for a short period of time and don’t want to be saddled with a contract or any set-up fees.

Option 2: Monthly cover

If you’re struggling to stay on top of your calls, or want the added bonus of ensuring every incoming call is handled in a timely and professional manner, then our monthly cover is ideal for you.

There’s no set up fee, and our pricing structure is competitive and easy to follow.

Calls will be answered between 8am and 5pm, Monday-Friday with messages being sent via email or text, depending on your preferences.

We can also offer an additional assistance package whereby we provide customer service support to your callers.

Option 3: Emergency cover

Time Saving Heroes pride ourselves on our ability to be reactive to the little emergencies that crop up in your business.

Kids off sick?  Stuck on a job? Receptionist caught in traffic and unable to come in on time? Whatever the issue, we offer emergency call handling cover for as long (or as short) as you need it.

It’s quick and easy to set up (we can have you up and running within 10 minutes), cancel or extend.

 

How to find out more

If you want to have a chat, and find out more about our exciting new call handling, give us a ring on 0161 883 2024 or email lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk