When we attempt to gain productivity in the office, it seems that every minute counts. And for people who spend much of their day on the phone, this couldn’t be more true.
Achieving productivity in the workplace is a constant goal for many of us. And while there are many factors that are difficult to control, the telephone is certainly not one of them. On the contrary, phone productivity is one of the easiest factors for us to dictate in our workday. The key is recognizing how to manage it properly. Below are a few helpful tips to consider if your phone is impeding your workflow:
If you want to survive conducting business on the phone, you first have to recognize that everyone is busy. Everyone has an agenda. And while you can still adhere to phone etiquette, it’s important to not fall victim to it.
Mitch Grey, an Account Manager for one of the world’s largest 3PL providers, knows a thing or two about managing phone calls. After all, 90% of his day is spent on the phone. So when it comes to productive phone strategy, he emphatically agrees that awareness is essential. Here’s what he has to say:
Recently, I was asked to sit in on a phone call with one of our new hires who was struggling to meet her revenue goals. It didn’t take me long to see why. I listened as she spent the first five minutes engaged in small talk. At my company, reps are making 40 or more calls a day. So spending even mere minutes on a greeting can set you back thousands of dollars.
- Goal Prioritization
Unproductive conversations occur when you are disorganized. So, do yourself a favor and always have a plan. Create a phone call agenda; a visual guide to keep you on task. It doesn’t have to be in-depth or professionally written, just a quick list of prioritized bullet points.
To Grey, this is key in achieving a clear and concise conversation:
When covering a load, there are dozens of details that need to be discussed. But, there are three factors to relay first before moving forward with a sale: load size, location and money. If truck drivers can’t accommodate these three things, then they won’t take the job. I’ve seen so many sales reps struggle in this regard. They spend too much time relaying details that make no difference to the sale and then find out later that the load is too heavy or the money isn’t good enough. Suddenly, they’re halfway through their day without a load covered. When I train new hires, I immediately teach them the 3 factor tactic. Within days, their revenue growth skyrockets.
- The “Quick Answer”
When the phone rings, often times we debate whether or not to pick up. Regardless of what choice is made, our workflow is interrupted. And that is why the “quick answer” can be just the ticket.
Robby Slaughter, a principal at AccelaWork, covers this exact type of phone productivity on The Switchboard:
If someone calls in and you’re focused on an urgent task or talking to someone else in person, it can be tempting to let the message go to voicemail. But then, you have to listen to the voicemail and try to return the call later. That’s no way to increase productivity!
Instead, try this: “Jack, Emily here. Hey, I’m in the middle of something. Can I call you back in ten minutes?”
More than likely, the caller will accept this suggestion. They save the time of leaving a voicemail and you save the time of listening to the voicemail. Everyone wins!
If you’re tired of the phone dictating your day, it’s time to come up with a strategy for improvement. Consider the tips above as well as some additional advice on controlling workflow and boosting productivity. Check out our services to learn more.