15 Time Management Tips for Handling Phone Calls

  • February 26, 2020
  • Author: Jana Carlson

Handling phone calls is a vital part of any business, though the time spent on phone calls is often wasted. Your productivity is impacted by each call. Phone tag is a perpetual time suck and calls can last too long or disrupt your workflow.

Effective time management must include a strategy for handling both incoming and outgoing phone calls. These 15 time management tips for handling phone calls can help you improve your productivity:

1. Answer with a proper greeting. 

Start an incoming phone call politely and efficiently by answering with your name, the name of your business, and a question. Something like, “Thanks for calling UnitedCloud. This is Jana. How may I help you?” This avoids questions like, “Is this UnitedCloud?” and addresses the purpose of the call immediately.

2. Eliminate Unnecessary Calls

Auto Attendant can answer your calls automatically and direct them to the appropriate extension. Using a customized greeting for your virtual assistant can eliminate unnecessary calls by answering common questions such as your hours of business and your location. 

3. Prioritize 

If you receive a call that does not need to be handled immediately, consider letting it go to voicemail, or ask the caller when it would be convenient to call them back. 

4. Stick to the Purpose of the Call

Phone calls quickly get out of control when someone loves to chat. Kindly but firmly keep the call on track with comments like, “So what you’re saying is…” or “Is [insert summary] an accurate summary of what you’re saying?”

5. Summarize the Call

Details of a call are easily forgotten or misunderstood. Summarize the details of the call to ensure both parties are on the same page. Arranging a meeting is the perfect case for this. End the call with, “I’ll meet you at your office at 2:00 p.m. on Friday and we’ll discuss your idea for business marketing then.”

6. Log Call Details

It’s often handy to review the details of a call. During the call, you can jot notes in a place you’ll remember to refer to later. After the call, send a follow-up email to the person you spoke with outlining what the call was about and reiterating important details. Call recording is a valuable feature that automatically keeps a record of the entire conversation to refer back to later. 

7. Use Phone Automation

Use phone features to automate your call process:

  • Customize your voicemail greeting and let your calls go to voicemail for a scheduled time of focused work. 
  • Voicemail-to-Email and Voicemail-to-Text save time. Transcription lets you scan the voicemail message at a glance. Take action on a Voicemail-to-Email message by forwarding it to someone else or assigning a task for yourself later. 
  • Use Answering Rules and Time Frames to automate your available times. 
  • Auto Attendant acts as a virtual assistant to direct calls to the appropriate extension, saving you time if you’re not the person the caller needs. 
  • Call Blocking allows you to block unwanted calls. 
  • Call Forwarding can send office calls to your mobile device when you’re on the go so you don’t miss a thing. 

8. Separate Business & Personal Phone Calls

If you work from home, having a separate phone line for your business will help you stay on top of phone calls without sacrificing off-hours time. Cloud phone systems make this an affordable option

9. Keep Contact Information Updated

It’s frustrating to make a phone call only to discover the number is no longer in service or the person no longer works there. Avoid wasting time trying to reach people who are unavailable by updating your contact information. 

The more detail you add to your contact information, the better. For instance, if a contact is in a different time zone than you, make note of that. It’ll save you the frustration of calling them when before or after their work hours.

10. Have Your Contact’s Information in Front of You

Have the information about the contact in front of you during a call and make note of relevant details for future reference. The more information you can see during the call, the less you’ll have to go over details that have already been discussed. A CRM system makes this easy, but if all you have is a notebook, use it! 

11. Plan Your Calls

Keeping a running agenda for the phone calls you need to make. This will help each call stay focused on the points you need to cover. You’ll also avoid having to repeat a call because you forgot to discuss something important. 

12. Schedule Calls

Set aside a block of time for phone calls to improve your productivity. The sense of accomplishment after getting through 10 phone calls in an hour is highly motivating. Schedule phone meetings and plan to reply to voicemail messages during this time block. 

When planning to make phone calls, be mindful of times when the contacts you’re trying to connect with are available. Scheduling phone time over lunch hour usually isn’t the most productive.

13. Free Up Your Hands

Use a speakerphone or headset to keep your hands free to jot notes or update your CRM. If you’re a skilled multi-tasker, having your hands free allows you to work on something else while you talk. 

14. Leave Detailed Messages

If you must leave a voicemail message, make it as detailed as possible. This is helpful to the person you’re calling. They can get themselves organized before calling you back to save the back-and-forth in your conversation. If you end up playing phone tag, they may be able to give you the information you need on your voicemail if you’ve specified what it is. 

15. Master Your Phone

Never forget that your phone is a tool. You are the master of your phone. Don’t let it run your day. Decide when and how you’ll use it and stick to your plan. 

Practicing some of these time management tips for handling your phone calls should save you some time and improve your productivity at work. 

Upgrade your phone with time-saving features and automation. Talk to a UnitedCloud specialist today to learn more.

Related posts
Image

15 Ways to Overcome the Work-from-Home Sanity Challenge

Working from home has its benefits, but staying sane while trying to be productive in your work is a job in itself. Isolation, distraction, and a lack of motivation are all factors that seem to work against you at home. Here are 15 ways to stay sane while working from home: 1. Set boundaries. Communicate […]

Read more
Image

UnitedCloud Featured on eChannelNews

UnitedCloud was featured on eChannelNews in an interview with Julian Lee. Reo Harb discussed the benefits of our cloud communications solutions.  Listen to the interview here.  Here are a few highlights: Reasons UnitedCloud is the Right Choice for Channel Partners & their Clients   High quality, reliable and well-supported: Feature-rich technology with multiple redundancies. Set […]

Read more
Image

Why You Need to Improve Communications in Your Vet Practice and How to Make it Happen

Poor communication and customer service are the top reasons clients leave a veterinary clinic. Clearly, focusing on the quality of service and communication in your practice is essential.  Here are 3 reasons why you need to improve communications in your vet practice: 1. Veterinarian-Client Communication is Key to Better Pet Care As a veterinarian, your […]

Read more