Good calls, bad calls: The distraction that’s taking you away from your best clients

It’s the catch-22 of being your own boss: if you don’t take that call, you could miss out on business. If you do, you could go down a rabbit hole that wastes everyone’s time and throws your focus off your best clients.

Though sole traders and solopreneurs possess many super-human qualities, we’ve only got two hands to juggle everything that’s thrown at us. That means while you’re busy managing your business admin, or servicing an existing customer, you could be losing potential business without even realising.

So, without shutting your phone off completely, how are you supposed to focus on getting your clients’ work done when you’re also being your own receptionist?

Luckily, there are some handy features out there that are designed to support sole traders, helping you feel like you’re surrounded by a team (without having to remember any office birthdays!).

Call waiting, call taking

Jacqueline Liebach from Business1300 helps small businesses every day find the right solutions to their phone issues.

Her top tip? Don’t just settle for the call features of your average mobile phone. Business phones like 1300 and 1800 numbers offer sophisticated call features and functions our mobiles can’t, with the potential to save a lot of time and hassle.

You can get functions like Call Overflow (which diverts calls to another number if you can’t answer); pre-recorded business intros or auto attendants (e.g. ‘Our Business Hours Are…/’Press 1 for Sales’); and web call tracking to identify how people are finding your number in the first place.

“Call features like these can help streamline your call management process, eliminate downtime and create an outstanding caller experience,” says Jacqueline.

And that’s just the start of it. Try these:

1. Screen your good leads from the time wasters

Recruiting a full-time receptionist just isn’t in the budget for most sole traders, despite offering services that require bookings and appointments. Often, you can find yourself chasing your own tail, picking up the phone to ‘wrong numbers’ and ‘quick surveys’, but missing the important customer calls.

Business1300’s Australian-based virtual receptionist service can do the screening for you. A trained operator can answer your calls as if they were your own reception staff, taking general queries, booking requests, and even scam callers, filtering any legitimate leads or anyone in need of urgent assistance straight to you.

“Virtual reception services work by forwarding all calls to a highly trained operator that will answer on your behalf and either take a message or transfer the call based on its importance,” says Jacqueline. “That way, only the calls of highest priority will be able to get through to you.”

They can also provide a support telephone answering service if you’re going through an especially busy period, or an after-hours service to help answer those general enquiries coming in at unusual times of day or from international clients.

2. Full-time receptionist, but at a fraction of the cost? For real

Another handy feature that can ease the load for solo businesses is Business1300’s live call answering services.

If your business operates a booking system, your calls can be connected to a trained, real-life operator, leaving you to focus your time and energy on other tasks at hand.

They can organise appointments and customer bookings directly, adding a personal touch to incoming calls rather than a generic message bank or automated prompts.

“It’s a great way to increase productivity if you need time to work on major projects, or to simply enjoy your time away from business without missing out on any new opportunities,” Jacqueline advises.

You can even provide them with custom scripting and questions to answer the business questions you get asked over and over again.

3. If you’ve got a plus one…

Work with someone else? Features like Call Overflow and time-based routing can help you transfer calls to ease the burden.

Call Overflow is a 1300 number feature that diverts calls to a different phone number if it’s taking too long to be answered. You can pair this with a live answering service, so if you’re in focus mode and don’t hear your mobile ringing, you have the confidence of knowing someone will pick up for you. Business1300 will text or email you if it’s something urgent.

Time-based routing allows you to divert calls to a designated phone number depending on the time of day. So if you’ve clocked off but your contractor works different hours, this is extremely useful.

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