When you hear your phone ring at 2am, the last thing you want to think about when you are woken up suddenly is answering client questions. Even when it isn't as dramatic as a 2am call, after-hours work calls can oftentimes create unnecessary stress for small business owners when they have to deliberate between picking up the phone and prioritizing personal time or time with their family. There are a number of things you can do to prepare for receiving after-hours work calls without needing to work overtime answering the phone.
The most basic step towards creating a seamless customer experience when you are not available is setting up a professional business voicemail. A professional business voicemail differs from your personal voicemail because it needs to send a message about your business and the level of quality that your business represents. The points below should serve as a general rule of thumb when it comes to recording your voicemail message.
- Find a quiet place
- create a script that includes an enthusiastic greeting, the name of your business, and a statement asking your potential customer to leave their contact information.
- use a friendly tone when recording your message
- be sure to stop the recording at the appropriate time
Example: "Hi! You have reached Cindy's Sparkle Cleaning Service. We're sorry we couldn't get to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number we will happily give you a call back.
Once you have your voicemail box set up, be sure to check it regularly and take note of times when you your business receives particularly high call volume. Additionally, make sure that your voicemail box is not full on a regular basis - there's nothing worse than having an interested customer unable to contact you.
Harness the power of instant messaging by setting up automated texts that let your customer know that you care even when you are unavailable. Automated texts are messages that are automatically sent out to the caller when you are unable to answer a call. Automated texts allow you to make contact with your customer at any hour of the day and conveys a high level of professionalism on your part. You can't do this on your normal iphone or android alone, but apps like ProPhone offer the ability to set up automated texts with minimal effort. You can do so simply by downloading the ProPhone business phone in an app on your existing personal device. The key points your automated text should include are very similar to you business voicemail recording and are as follows:
- a friendly greeting
- a statement that you are not able to get to the phone at this time
- (optional) an apology for inability to answer the recent call
- confirmation that you will return the call during normal business hours
- (bonus) a link to your website that may be able to answer any questions they may have in the meantime
"Hi! Sorry we missed your call. Cindy's Sparkle Cleaning Service greatly appreciates our customers and we look forward to returning your call soon. In the meantime, please feel free to check out our website: ProPhone.com to get answers to common questions or book an appointment with us"
If you find that you are losing a great deal of current or potential business due to missing after-hours calls, you might consider hiring an answering service to handle calls during the hours that you are away. Answering services are a great platform to utilize if you are able to spend a little extra on this service and you find that the lost business outweighs the cost to your company.
Approximate costs will vary based on the number of answering service minutes you wish to buy, but here is the breakdown for answering service Ruby as an example:
regardless of how you choose to respond to after-hours customer calls, it is always important to make a plan for getting back to your customers during regular work hours. Carve out a set chunk of time to call back potential clients and respond to customer inquiries, preferably a time like Monday morning when you are not yet distracted by the day-to-day tasks at hand.
Display Business information:
In order to maximize the chances that a potential customer will call during business hours, you should display your business hours information on your website, google my business listing, and Facebook business page.
If you have any further questions about how to deal with after-hours work calls or are looking to regain more of your free time, never hesitate to reach out to the ProPhone team or download the ProPhone app today to set up automated text replies!