A wise man once said to me, “I will not return phone calls if someone rings me when I am unavailable! They rang me because they wanted something, so they can keep ringing me until they reach me.” At the time I could not understand his frustration with messages and ringing people back. I now do. At least 60% of my day or night, is spent ringing people back because they wanted me for something, but they rang outside my business hours, or they rang when I was in a client meeting or on another call. When I do ring them back, I usually can’t get hold of them, so the whole process starts again. Now some of these people will ring every 5 minutes and leave a message until they get a call back. They don’t realise that there might be 10 other people doing exactly the same thing, so I spend all day retrieving messages. Now, if their message relates to how long will it be until their work is finished, well my answer depends on how much time I spend listening to and returning phone calls. The crazy thing is, when I am playing phone tag, I AM NOT GETTING ANY PRODUCTIVE WORK DONE.
Another wise man once said, (I actually snaffled it from his business website, with permission), “If you phone me with a blocked caller ID, you have a greater than 50% chance I won’t answer the call, even if I am free, because I detest phone calls from telemarketers and if by chance I am being productive, why would I stop what I am doing to take a call from someone I don’t know?”
So, at this risk of offending every client of my business. Please phone me during office hours. If I can’t take your call, assume I am dispensing advice and assistance to other clients, or finalising your engagement. (Note, I have taken 5 days off work in over 12 years, so I am not on holidays, the other misconception!) Please phone back another time or perhaps send me an email that I can get to when not so occupied.
Of course, if I do offend every client, then I may get that holiday after all.