Who’s in charge when you aren’t around?

Who’s in charge when you aren’t around?

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It’s a great question. In this global economy where business never sleeps…can we? Will we lose clients if we aren’t there to answer the phone and e-mail 24 hours a day?

Everyone seems to struggle with this problem whether we punch a clock or are self employed. It’s hard to draw the line on when to stop working. It seems we could work 24 hours a day and never be done. So when is enough…enough?

The most important thing you can do for yourself and your company is to clearly communicate your normal response time. After all, follow up is one of the most important steps in gaining and retaining your clients. If you are an established organization or employee then it might not be necessary to return an e-mail within seconds of receiving it. Your clients know you, and you have a great reputation. They will understand if they receive a reply on the next business day if it is not an urgent matter. The same goes for phone calls.

What if you are a new business, or someone who absolutely feels you have to immediately respond to inquiries? Luckily there are some great options. Consider setting up an automatic reply on your email letting the sender know when exactly you will respond to them and offer another means to contact you in an emergency. Utilize your temporary greeting on your voicemail to communicate this same message. If you are in a field which requires 24 hour support consider hiring a 3rd party call center you can trust to help screen and monitor calls and e-mails. Respond only to the most urgent matters during off hours.
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Whatever your policy is make sure you take the time to recharge your own batteries. If you burn out you are doing a disservice to yourself and your clients. There are countless studies that show if we are overworking ourselves we are not going to be as productive and fresh as possible and then we won’t be functioning at 100%. Both you and your clients deserve your best, so do whatever it takes to provide the highest level of service possible. As long as you follow up appropriately, you will always be in charge!

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC

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