Answering Your Business Phone When You Work at Home
Since so many freelance writers and editors work from home, the issues of when and how to answer your phone come into play. Should you pick up the phone with music in the background? What about kids chattering or the dog barking? In a perfect world, all such noise would come to a halt when a client called, but there is no such place. There will be times when you simply cannot answer the phone in a professional manner if you work from home, and there will be times when you can’t or don’t want to pick up at all.
Here are some solutions:
Have a separate phone line for your business and equip it with an answering machine or voice mail. Craft a message that gives the details of what you do and encourages callers to leave a message. Let potential clients know that you will return calls within X amount of time on business days. If you’ll return calls on weekends, make that clear too.
Designate phone hours. If you can set aside a chunk of time, say an hour or two each day, you can let your clients know they can always reach you by phone at that time. Of course, you’ll still return messages as usual, but it’s helpful to set aside dedicated contact periods.
Encourage the use of email and instant messaging. Let your clients know that you are always prompt in responding to emails, and keep your instant messaging program at the ready whenever you are online. Some clients actually prefer to communicate this way. You just have to let them know it’s a reliable option.