Phone calls can be a necessary form of communication for many businesses. However, it’s possible to spend so much time on the phone that it becomes a nuisance and ends up getting in the way of other important work duties. In these cases, it’s worth exploring ways to reduce phone call time. Below are just a few useful ways to spend less time on the phone as a business owner.
Share phone answering duties with employees
A simple way in which many employers reduce time on the phone is by sharing phone answering duty with employees. This could include training employees to deal with general enquiries so that they’re not constantly passing the phone to you.
In an office setting, you may even be able to train certain employees to deal with certain phone calls, including setting up a phone menu and various extensions so that phone calls go to the right person. This could take the pressure off you if you currently answer all phone calls, however you need to make sure that you’re not putting too much extra pressure on your employees if they are already burdened with a lot of tasks.
Hire an in-house dedicated receptionist
Some companies find it beneficial to hire an in-house receptionist whose main job duty is to answer calls. If you’re getting constant phone calls, this could take the pressure off of you (and your team if you’re sharing phone calls and struggling to answer them all).
Of course, this is an expensive solution and only worthwhile if you’re truly getting constant phone calls (although there could be other duties you can also assign to a receptionist).
Outsource a phone call answering service
You can also consider outsourcing the task of answering the phone to a phone answering company. They will have dedicated staff members who can answer the phone for you just like a receptionist, and it will usually cost less than hiring an in-house receptionist.
Some call answering services are open 24/7, allowing your company to receive phone calls around the clock. They are useful services for many emergency contractors who may rely on around-the-clock calls but may not always be available to answer them.
Use a phone with caller ID and spam blocking facilities
Being able to filter out spam calls can be useful. Most smartphones have in-built caller ID, spam alert and number blocking features to prevent having to pick up unnecessary and annoying calls. Landline phone systems often do not have these features in-built, however there are some handsets you can buy that do have these features.
Such features could help you filter out only the most important calls, so that you’re not wasting time speaking to unwanted cold-callers.
Create an online form on your website
While supplying a phone number or call button on your website is worthwhile, you should consider whether phone calls are always the most efficient way to generate customers. Offering an online form can help to reduce phone calls by allowing you to deal with enquiries via email in your own time.
Some customers actually prefer online forms to having to pick up the phone. Consequently, you could generate more sales by adding an online form alongside a phone number/call button.
Create an FAQs page
A FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page is worth providing on your website to reduce general phone enquiries.
Consider all the frequent questions you get via phone call that could be answered on a FAQs page. FAQs don’t necessarily have to have a dedicated page and could be included on a contact page or even your homepage - just make sure that they’re not too difficult to find.
Set up a website instant chat service/chatbot
Triggering a chat box to appear on your website could enable visitors to get in touch via instant message instead of via phone call. This could be a great feature to have on your site if you prefer talking via text instead of phone call. You could also find that customers that wouldn’t have otherwise phoned you are willing to get in touch via his chatbox.
Of course, if you find instant messages to be just as annoying to deal with as phone calls, you may not see the benefit of one of these features. That said, you can always hire or outsource a virtual sales rep to answer these messages for you. There is also the option of AI chatbots, which can be programmed to provide intelligent automated responses (although at an added cost compared to standard chat features).
Use apps to monitor field employee progress
If you have lots of workers employed out of the office in remote locations (such as a team of plumbers or salespeople), you could find that communicating with these employees takes up a lot of your time. Instead of relying on phone calls, one solution to this could be to use a field service app to monitor employees and their progress.
Your field workers can report progress on jobs through this app and you can check these reports in your own time. This saves you having to regularly call field workers to see how they’re getting along and helps promote a greater sense of autonomy among your workers.
Learn how to wrap up meandering phone calls
Do you find that some individual phone calls drag on too long? In these cases, it’s a case of learning how to wrap up phone calls so that you’re not wasting time retreading topics or being forced to listen to unimportant waffling.
You can find some great tips here on how to wrap up phone calls such as reminding the caller of the time and returning to the original point.
Establish strict phoneline opening times
If you find that you’re constantly interrupting your free time to answer phone calls, it could be time to bring in phoneline opening times. These could apply to customers and employees - and you could go so far as to turn off your work phone during non-work hours.
Setting up an answering machine can still allow callers to leave a message. Make sure that your phoneline opening times aren’t too restrictive so that you end up missing important calls.