Jacqui Frost

Are You Committing This Business Sin?

When a simple 'misunderstanding' becomes expensive ...

Posted on: 27/08/2015   By: Jacqui Frost

As a professional services firm, what impression does your front of house operation make on potential and existing customers? In particular, I'm talking about the way your calls are handled. And before you think, ''We're all sorted, thanks,'' - Wait ...

All is not as it seems. In fact, I'm willing to bet that right now - completely innocently - you're committing a serious business sin, which is undermining your professionalism, starving your staff of their time and costing you cash.

"And if you don't fix this, the situation will only get worse as your business grows!"

Let me explain.

You can't blame your receptionist!

If you have a receptionist, you probably think you have your front of house neatly covered. You have someone dedicated to Call Handling who can confidently field calls so your administrative and support staff don't need to be the first point of contact.

But what happens when the receptionist can't pick up? I promise this scenario will occur (and probably more than you think). Toilet breaks, lunch breaks and coffee breaks are the obvious examples. But what about when your receptionist is busy on another call? Then what happens?

There's a risk you'll miss a call - and who knows where that could lead:

  • A hot new lead goes elsewhere

  • You wait longer than necessary for the critical information you need

  • A fraught customer gets irritated and slates you on social media

In short, you can't rely on your receptionist because that person can't be in two places at once, no matter how good they are!

Your contingency doesn't work either

What's more, you can't rely on redirecting overflow calls to your back office staff, your support team, or your administrators either.

This is a tactic a number of our clients used to do. After all, it does seem like a very sensible solution (on the surface at least). Simply create extra capacity in your Call Handling system by making everyone else responsible for picking up, if your receptionist is otherwise occupied.

Let me reveal three reasons why this approach is a big 'no no':

  1. It's distracting

    I'm guessing you hired a receptionist because you didn't want your core staff unnecessarily disturbed during their working day. and neither do they! When your head is down and focused, the last thing you want is the phone to put you off - especially if the call is something you can't help with.

  2. It wastes time

    If your core staff have to answer phone calls, which aren't meant for them, they'll lose time during their working day. And don't make the mistake of thinking that the time lost is only the few minutes it takes to answer a call. That's simply not the case. Various scientific studies have found it can take more than 20 minutes to get back on task after an interruption.

    Just imagine the negative impact this has on your productivity and your ability to get stuff done.

  3. Poor customer service

    Your core staff don't want to be answering their colleagues' calls - even if it is just a one off. As a result, it's likely the caller will sense the annoyance and irritation. Not the best impression of your business, is it?

There is an easier way!

The fact is, you DON'T need to be 100% responsible for your Call Handling. Whilst it's a smart move to employ a receptionist to handle your incoming calls, it's even smarter to introduce a flexible Call Handling capacity for when your phone lines are unattended or busy.

"This is the service that a professional Call Handling business like The Office Genie can provide!"

Instead of diverting any overflow calls to your behind the scenes staff, simply divert to our professional call handlers. It means your customers can always get to speak with a real person - and your core staff are left alone to do the work they can do best.

If you're in any doubt as to the impact that insufficient capacity to answer every inbound call could have on your professional services firm, let's chat. I think you'll be surprised. To discover more, give one of the Genies a quick call on 01604 529170.

And if you have any questions or comments, please pop them in the space below.

Until next time ...


More about Jacqui Frost ...


I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.

Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!

I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.

Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!


+44 (0) 1604 529170



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