Dealing with phone calls can get really inefficient if not handled properly. With the amount of time spent on phone calls, knowing how to do it effectively is important.
We have found the following to be highly effective. We hope that you do too.
#1 – Avoid phone tag!
Don’t play the mindless, ever-worsening game of phone tag where you call someone and leave a message and they return your call and leave a message and so forth. Email them ahead of time and ask what day/time are they available to take your call. When the appointed time comes, 95% of the time you will speak with them on the first attempt!
#2 – Follow up the call with an email.
Many things get discussed in a call that may be forgotten or confused after the call is over. Make notes and email these to the person confirming your discussion. Save the email text in your file notes as well.
Discussions confirmed by emails can protect both parties.
#3 – Batch your calls.
Like your emails, do your calls in batches. You’ll fly through them much more quickly when they’re all done at the same time. Missed someone, then email them for a phone appointment instead of playing phone tag.
#4 – Keep your message bank refreshed.
Instead of a boring; ‘I’m sorry I’m away from my desk at the moment’ have, ‘Hi, today is Monday the 2nd of August and I will be away from the desk for … and will reply before 5 pm or sooner if it’s urgent’. People respect a fresh message over a stale general one.
#5 – Scan emails for phone numbers.
Gmail has a great extension called ‘Evercontact’ that scans each email for contact details and adds them automatically to your contact list. You get an email and that person calls you five minutes later – their name will come up on your phone because it’s already been added (if you have it synced with your phone). I’m unsure if Outlook has the same function or extension, but check it out!