How important is it to be accessible by phone to big clients?

18 replies
One of my least favorite aspects of being a service provider is listing my phone number on my website and having people call me at will. As a strong introvert I often feel caught off guard and sometimes take a while to reset back into whatever I was doing.

Much more preferable would be to have scheduled calls where I can both prepare for the call, and also not be interrupted.

This would mean running my calls to a virtual assistant though. I'm not sure how big clients would react to calling someone who can only take down their information or schedule an appointment. Is this going to be a problem, or is it generally acceptable for clients who work with busy service providers?
#accessible #big #clients #important #phone
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    Why are they calling you?

    What do they gain by calling you? Sales quote, sales pitch, what?
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    • Profile picture of the author Delta223
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      Why are they calling you?

      What do they gain by calling you? Sales quote, sales pitch, what?
      I would say the first leg of a consultation: ensuring we have a fit, assessing needs, providing basic advice and feedback, and possibly setting the stage for a serious project discussion.


      Thanks for to everyone for sharing their thoughts, I've found it quite insightful so far.

      My concern with relying on voicemail is that I hear it's a huge place to leak leads. Looking into this further it looks like virtual receptionists are actually what I'm looking for.

      I'm going to try out OfficeEarth.com's $5 a month plan which also bills two dollars per call and $.20 or so per forwarding minute. I don't expect to receive too many forwards because I'm using this as a live person voicemail. At low volume I don't think the per call cost will be a huge hassle, we'll see.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
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        Originally Posted by Delta223 View Post

        I would say the first leg of a consultation: ensuring we have a fit, assessing needs, providing basic advice and feedback, and possibly setting the stage for a serious project discussion.


        Thanks for to everyone for sharing their thoughts, I've found it quite insightful so far.

        My concern with relying on voicemail is that I hear it's a huge place to leak leads. Looking into this further it looks like virtual receptionists are actually what I'm looking for.

        I'm going to try out OfficeEarth.com's $5 a month plan which also bills two dollars per call and $.20 or so per forwarding minute. I don't expect to receive too many forwards because I'm using this as a live person voicemail. At low volume I don't think the per call cost will be a huge hassle, we'll see.




        I doubt a VA (OP) handling calls is a good idea unless they know your business and they're good at sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Schwab
    Originally Posted by Delta223 View Post

    On

    e of my least favorite aspects of being a service provider is listing my phone number on my website and having people call me at will. As a strong introvert I often feel caught off guard and sometimes take a while to reset back into whatever I was doing.
    Man i've got a phone number on a busy site once

    they called us in the middle of the night - about 20 times

    i took it off - my wife could not handle it well [she's the one who answered
    the calls - i could not be bothered, man 3-4 am]?

    a better way: people that send an inquiry first : yeah they can talk to me
    all others: go away, we only talk once you qualify. Reading my time zone
    on my website and call me in the middle of the night: Not going to take your
    order. I do not need your money, I prefer to have clients that read the instructions
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  • @delta223 ,

    Communication is extremely important for any business including small. The reason behind this is , it cut across the distance and feels connected next to each other.

    But a person involving and taking a call like receptionist is a old and outdated with more errors. Today you have better technology available to put you more front yet give you that distance.

    Virtual Assistance , Cloud telephony are few of the "third industrial revolution" communication tools. More or less every one will adapt to this soon or later. It gives more flexibility, choice , security, privacy and total control.
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    https://www.virtualglobalphone.com
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    One of my least favorite aspects of being a service provider is listing my phone number on my website and having people call me at will. As a strong introvert I often feel caught off guard and sometimes take a while to reset back into whatever I was doing.

    Much more preferable would be to have scheduled calls where I can both prepare for the call, and also not be interrupted.
    How funny, just an hour ago I was practicing an upcoming presentation on "Marketing for Introverts" that includes this very point!

    It's 15 years now that I do not allow anyone to call me directly, without an appointment.

    My public phone number goes to voice mail. People are asked to leave a message.

    From the number of hangups I have on that line, I know that this is not to everyone's liking. But that's OK.

    When someone does leave a message and ask me to call, I return the call and request that we set up a phone appointment.

    I do not have or need an assistant to do this for me.

    For regular clients, we set up phone appointments. I never say this outright, but I set things up so that I call them and my number is blocked.

    When I called regular clients from my house phone with an unblocked number, a few would return calls on that line even though it's not my publicly listed number. I did not like that, so now it isn't possible any longer.

    It's extremely rare that this policy or practice of mine becomes an issue or even gets talked about. It works fine for me.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • Profile picture of the author Isaiah Nixon
    It can make or break your deal with the big client so I think that it's very important. You hiring the virtual assistant will make your business seem more professional and you will have time to prepare and you'll also get sleep, that's a win all around.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    My concern with relying on voicemail is that I hear it's a huge place to leak leads. Looking into this further it looks like virtual receptionists are actually what I'm looking for.
    There is one more thing to think about. Are you sure it a good idea to try to capture every single lead? Is someone who will not leave a message on voice mail but will talk to a receptionist who is a live person but does not (really, cannot) know your business a worthwhile lead?

    The way I look at it, someone who called on impulse and lets the impulse die because they are asked to leave a message was probably not seriously interested to begin with - or was a type of impulse buyer that doesn't work for an expensive purchase anyway.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • Profile picture of the author SamNuku
    Hey man! If you hate taking random calls then DON'T DO IT.

    Yes its great re transparency to have the number there but theres nothing wrong with scheduling it.

    Set up a webform where they can only pick & choose certain available times & dates on your calendar allowing you to completely dictate time & day of the call

    Setup the reminder to send them your phone number 24hrs prior to the call so you don't get them random calls cos if they're receiving it that close to schedule may as well wait.

    Good luck!
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  • Hellor Delta,

    Originally Posted by Delta223 View Post

    One of my least favorite aspects of being a service provider is listing my phone number on my website and having people call me at will. As a strong introvert I often feel caught off guard and sometimes take a while to reset back into whatever I was doing.

    Much more preferable would be to have scheduled calls where I can both prepare for the call, and also not be interrupted.

    This would mean running my calls to a virtual assistant though. I'm not sure how big clients would react to calling someone who can only take down their information or schedule an appointment. Is this going to be a problem, or is it generally acceptable for clients who work with busy service providers?
    All my clients; new and old leave a message or email me.

    All prospects leave a message or they don't.

    Don't sweat it.

    PS. Just remember the person calling you is not a big business. It's another person.

    PPS. Big business type people are conditioned to leaving messages or emailing. It's part of their daily routine.

    Chinchilla
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  • Profile picture of the author Morganlp
    I'm working with a team right now and it's important for us to communicate consistently. There are different tasks assigned to each of us. Like, one can't continue without the image created because a promotional post has to be posted in Meetedgar. I am very much reachable via skype but not through my personal phone. And it has to be during work hours. I think that's how I set the boundary between work and my personal life. Nonetheless, I consider skype as like a phone anyway,
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  • Profile picture of the author HandsomeGenius
    I always have my phone on silent.

    Clients are generally understanding that I don't take calls when I'm writing - I am, after all, a writer.
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  • Profile picture of the author siera
    I don't really want to be contacted on my phone. IMO, if the work is online then my client and I should be reaching each other online. I think that the way we communicate has evolved and that there is no more need for clients to call us directly on our home phones or cell phones.
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  • Profile picture of the author thi angdiar
    Oh, definitely I make myself available through my cell. I think that it depends on the nature of your work. Regardless of whether it is online or you have an actual office, I think that a good employee/contractor will allow his boss/client the freedom to reach him through his cell because some things can easily be forgotten. Like my boss, he has a task for me and the next minute, he's done with that, so if he didn't call me during that second, I'd end up not doing my task the next day for the reason that I am not reachable for work. What do you guys think?
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  • Profile picture of the author vandahumble
    I would have to say it is really important. They let us work for them, they chose us, they rely on us for their business, they value us, I think we should value them too and just give them that freedom to talk to us and let us know when there is work or there is something important to be discussed. It saves us time after all!
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  • Profile picture of the author DKCopywriter
    Important, but do realize that these clients are just as busy as you, if not more so. These calls are going to be typically to either get you to quote a project, or talk shop about a project you're already working on.

    Hardly a bother. If you can't answer the phone, then be prompt about returning calls. If your mechanic never answers calls, you'd be annoyed. Same goes for marketing services.
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  • Profile picture of the author RebeccaSpills
    I have had this same issue for years! I started freelancing BECAUSE I had serious social anxiety. I loved the fact that I could basically communicate via email the whole time.

    As my business has grown, a lot of people say things like "Can we talk on the phone about this" and I'm like "Sure, let's set a time" but deep down I'd much rather it was all done via email. PPs are right, communication is extremely important and so having a number people can call is a must. We're in the process of setting up a number now - I'd still always request that someone organises a telephone appointment if they want to talk about something, however. We're looking at other getting an office manager/receptionist who can do this for us - or a virtual assistant.

    Whichever route you go down, just make sure that the person you hire knows exactly what they're talking about. The last thing you want is someone to be put off of your business because there's a VA on the other end of the phone saying things that make you seem stupid.

    G'luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    communication is extremely important and so having a number people can call is a must. We're in the process of setting up a number now - I'd still always request that someone organises a telephone appointment if they want to talk about something, however. We're looking at other getting an office manager/receptionist who can do this for us - or a virtual assistant.
    I don't understand why you feel that you need to have a live person taking calls and setting up your telephone appointments. It's not a must. It's not even necessarily an advantage.

    Some callers would prefer to leave a voice mail with their number and "Call me." Others would prefer to talk to a live person about setting up an appointment. But I don't think either one of those preferences outranks the other one.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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