Call Handling: How To Cope With A Surge In Calls
The easy solution to flexing capacity and managing your calls ...
Posted on: 22/01/2015 By: Jacqui Frost
As the end of January looms, tens of thousands of business owners across the country are frantically submitting their tax returns and finding the money to pay their tax bill. Be honest now; are you leaving your submission to the last minute?
If so, you're not alone. According to a recent Express article: "Although six million people have filed their return so far, another five million still haven't done so with just days remaining before the midnight deadline on January 31st."
With so many last minute submissions, there's no surprise January can be pretty stressful for business owners, but perhaps even more so for accountants!
"With all the last minute panic, January is a peak month for accountancy firms!"
And with enquiries jamming your phone lines, what can you do to stay on top of that mounting pile of tax returns? The good news is there's a very simple answer. Let me explain. Firstly, STOP answering your phone! Tell me, which of these phone scenarios are you up against?
It's always up to you to answer your phone,
You're picking up more and more calls these days because the overflow automatically rings through to your desk.
Whatever the cause, the first thing you need to do is delegate the responsibility of Call Handling to someone else. Preferably, someone with exceptional phone skills who can confidently handle calls and offer a first class service.
"Trust me; this delegation makes good financial sense!"
After all, it takes valuable time for you to field your calls - and it's not just time spent on the phone that you'll lose. Once you're distracted it can take a while to get back on task - and I'm willing to bet there's no time to spare right now.
In addition, I'm confident your hourly rate (and your tax return sanity) is worth significantly more to you and your business than day-to-day Call Handling. And whilst you will have to take some calls, wouldn't you rather choose when they take place?
Create a time to call people back
Next, plan time in your diary when you're available to take and make calls.
Don't choose your most productive time. You want to reserve this to do your most important work. You definitely don't want primetime disturbed with queries about the tax return deadline, or a question about missing receipts!
Many people find afternoons are a good time to block out calls into their diary. And if you want to maximise this time, book calls back to back. Be honest with callers about how long you have to chat and strike the right balance between efficiency and service.
Stick to your guns!
Clearly brief the person to whom you've delegated the responsibility of Call Handling. Tell them when you can and cannot be disturbed and explain how you'd like them to handle your calls.
For example, you may simply want a name, a number and a quick message - along with a time in your diary to return the call.
Perhaps there are some frequently asked questions, which can be confidently answered by your Call Handler.
There may also be cold calls and other people you'd rather not speak with.
Resist the temptation to be available. In fact, outline what constitutes an 'emergency' as this will reduce the likelihood of calls sneaking through the net.
Trust the Genies
If you're an accountant who's struggling with your short-lived surge of calls, it probably won't pay to hire additional in-house resource. The cost of employment, the time to train and the 'twiddling thumbs' when the phone is quiet, makes a flexible Call Handling resource far more attractive.
And that's exactly what you'll find at The Office Genie!
Trust us to handle your calls in just the way you wish, in whatever volume you require. We can handle every call, the occasional call, or even the calls when your receptionist has popped out for lunch.
"With five Genie Call Handling packages, you'll find a good fit for your needs!"
So if you're an accountant who's getting more phone stressed by the day, why not give us a call on 01604 529170. We'd be very happy to field all those calls and free you up to get those tax returns safely submitted - on time - for all those last minute clients.
Until next time ...
THE OFFICE GENIE
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!