How many times have you seen these scenarios?
A. You are working on a project that’s getting dangerously close to deadline. Only one of the messages you left requesting quotes with five potential vendors returned your call. You’ve followed up with each one multiple times, yet you hear nothing.
B. Dashing from one appointment to the next, your phone at the office is ringing off the hook. Messages are piling up. Between meetings and the project you’ve been sitting on for days, you don’t have the time to get back to them. Overwhelmed is an understatement. Screening your calls seems to be the only option. You’ll get back to them….hopefully.
As a busy business professional, you are faced with a dilemma. Time is valuable. You understand the importance of getting back with people, but spending all day on the phone is simply not an option. From experience, you know the frustration of working with people who don’t get back with you either. What do you do?
Returning phone calls is a sign of respect. If someone takes the time to call you, they deserve to hear back. f you let too many slip, you may earn a reputation of being hard to work with. Here are some tips to help keep your sanity while retaining your reputation:
1. Aim to return phone calls within 24-48 hours at the most. The 24-hour rule is a gold standard adopted by most professionals, but sometimes schedules are that hectic. If this is the case, leave your intent on the answering machine greeting.
2. If your phone call traffic becomes too heavy, you may need to hire an assistant. Let the person know what types of calls to allow through. Give them the authority to return some calls on your behalf. The assistant can weed through the less pertinent requests while keeping everyone happy.
3. Sales and robocalls are an exception. Most sales professionals are courteous enough to back off if you decline their request for a meeting, but you must tell them that first. If they continue to be a nuisance, you may have to consider more drastic measures.