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:
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.”
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.
Use phone features to automate your call process:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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