The Critical Staff Person We Never Hired

The Critical Staff Person We Never Hired

We set up an extension for a new staff person who saves us more than 15 minutes per week of time, and a lot more on aggravation. Total cost? $5.

TNT: When my secretary announced that she’s leaving (to move out of the country), it was time for us to rethink how we were handling incoming phone calls. Because of our work with phone systems, we thought a little bit out of the box, and the lessons we learned could help your business as well.

A significant number of our incoming calls are from salespeople offering their services, the majority of which are not a good fit for our business model or our clients. Besides the five minutes each one chews up, they have a knack for finding one of us at a poor time to be distracted — a recipe for aggravation.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone else would take those calls?

It turns out that you don’t need to hire someone to do it. Rather, we got someone to record a voicemail message very cheaply (at fiverr.com), and that’s all we needed to set up our “purchasing department.” Recorded messages come directly to me, so if it’s a service we want, I’ll know they’ve called. This is, in the end, helping persistent salespeople get on to more productive calls — and letting us get back to work.

We also broke down the rest of our calls, to determine how we can route clients, potential clients, vendors and others to the right people, without secretarial assistance and with minimal aggravation for callers. In each circumstance we looked for the minimum number of digits to press, and informational messages that can be interrupted with desired options.

In the end, we not only improved routing for ourselves, but enabled faster access to technical support at all times — from the wee hours through the evening, someone should be able to help you. [Even so, we still encourage you to send email first!]

WHAT TO DO: I’d be happy to work with you personally to develop a better call flow for your business. Please let me know, and we’ll set up a time.

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