Hi folks, here’s another post, with my snark in red of course.
There are several great reasons to return calls, versus always answering the phone:
- Unless your specific job is to answer the phone, you’ve got other things to do.
- Returning calls allows you to formulate an opinion about what the person left a message about (Next post, why you should leave detailed messages).
- Returning calls allows you to do homework on the issue the person left a message about.
- Answering the phone, and having to tell the person a lie or exaggeration to get them off your back until you have a real answer is grossly inefficient, not helpful, and doesn’t inspire trust.
- Unless the caller is delusional, no one expects you to always be sitting at your desk, or walking around with your cellphone in your hand, waiting for their call. If you are doing phone support however, you will be calling that person back with an appropriate answer fairly quickly.
- Most calls are not THAT important.
You should return calls in batches. Leverage your time effectively!
For example, If you start work at 7:30 AM, you should have a short meeting with your boss fairly soon in the morning (7:40 AM) to discuss objectives (hopefully it’s a short meeting, you have things to do). After that meeting, check phone messages, do homework and return calls. Next process email (no more than 30 minutes). (I KNOW you have lots, Mark S., Ken H., and Bob B.! Get better at deciphering what’s important, what’s less important, and what’s absolute B.S.).
Your phone will ring. Do you answer it? Do you ignore it? Can you turn the ringer down?
Read this next part twice and show it to your boss, IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT:Every interruption from your definite purpose puts you a little more behind. Many things that are “urgent” are only important to another person or department from THEIR bad planning. They almost always have NOTHING to do with what YOU need to be doing. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, DO WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING!
If you have an on-site boss, you may be redirected to the unimportant-to-your-established-goals-items, but let HIM or HER direct that bad planning. Eventually, he or she may deliver some push-back to the (bad-planning) department and get you some relief. Or he or she may be FIRED for their complicity in bad-planning (hope springs eternal…).
Okay, back to the scheduled example:
7:50 AM Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
10 AM Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
1 PM, Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
4 PM, Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
In general, it’s much more effective to do tasks in batches, whether they be returning calls, making calls, processing email, or whatever it is you are supposed to be doing. If you are doing sales, you’ll need to return calls maybe twice as frequently, and not answering all the time.
That’s enough for now.
Think about it, pass it around and comment if you like.
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
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