It’s one of the most natural impulses in the world: your business line rings, you’re available and you pick it up. Your intentions are good: you want to be accessible and helpful to a new or potential customer. You’re trying to advance your business efforts.
But this is one impulse that you should put on hold because there are four surprising ways in which answering your own phone could actually be bad for your business and undermine your best efforts. Consider:
- Answering your own phone could signal to callers that you have nothing better to do (even though you undoubtedly do). You might hear the “catch” in a caller’s voice when they realize they’re talking to the boss. Initially, they might be flattered. But this feeling can quickly create doubts about the veracity of your business. In other words, a caller understandably might wonder, “If the boss has time to answer the phone, just how busy can he be? And if the boss isn’t busy, what exactly is going on behind the scenes there?”
- Answering your own phone could send the message that you cannot afford to hire someone to answer the phone for you.This perception, too, could create doubts about the financial health of your business. At the least, it could convey that your operation is stretched too thin. Neither message reassures a customer that he is dealing with a thriving business.
- Answering your own phone places you at risk. Being thrown a curveball by a question or problem isn’t the issue; no one knows your business better than you do. But unless you have a polished “phone voice” – a natural trait of someone who regularly answers the phone – you run the risk of a caller catching you when you’re rushing or distracted. Conveying a calm, polite and friendly phone voice is the hallmark of a professional operation.
- Answering your own phone undermines your productivity, which is bad for your business in myriad ways. The time it takes to answer and properly address a caller’s inquiry is one productivity killer; so is the time it takes to resume the activity you were engaged in when the phone rang in the first place. Put another way, creating a clear delineation of duties at your business – with a “director of first impressions” to answer your phone – is positively good for you and your business.
If you don’t have professional, courteous staff to answer your phones, a virtual receptionist service like Reliable Receptionist could be a great alternative. Most virtual reception services have packages to fit just about any budget.