You’re an hour into deeply intense work at your business—virtually a work-induced coma of concentration—when suddenly your phone buzzes. You’re tempted to leave it be, but the damage of distraction is already done. Maybe it’s an important client. Maybe it’s a family member. Maybe you’ve won the lottery.
You take it out of your pocket, only to hear:
“You’ve been pre-approved for an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation…”
Another junk call. You click it off, blink, and then wonder: Where was I?
Because the cost of distraction can be as high as 2.1 hours per day, this everyday work situation is far costlier than you might imagine. Your momentum is destroyed and you’re more tempted than ever to check your email or social media accounts. The morning is shot.
Before you let another call that should go to voicemail get through to you, it’s time to consider: why does this happen far too often?
The Problem: You’re Not Letting it Go to Voicemail
In the above scenario, you were tempted to let a call go to voicemail. Yet you felt compelled to take the call anyway. Why?
In most cases, it’s because you haven’t developed a voicemail system in which you can place your full confidence. Entrepreneurs think that we need to be accessible by phone 24/7—that if we don’t pick up, that customer is going to abandon us forever. We don’t trust our voicemail to do the work for us.
This problem is easily solved when you have an effective voicemail system in place—one that you can trust to route calls the right way and make everyone who calls you feel like they’re valued. Once you feel that your customers are taken care of, all that’s left are junk calls. That makes them much easier to ignore.
The Solution: Building a Voicemail Funnel System
To eliminate distractions, you’ll want to assemble a simple voicemail system that accomplishes the following:
Separating business vs. private calls.
The first thing to do at work is to ensure that there’s a line of clear demarcation between personal and private calls. You can still route both to the phone of your choice, but it’s important to use a voicemail system that distinguishes between the two.
The most important feature here is a dedicated business voicemail inbox. This will let you check any pertinent business voicemails at your discretion, which means you won’t feel that you have to pick up every time there’s potentially a business call on the line. When you separate the two, you’ll find it easier to follow up on every business call at once. This lets you “batch” your voicemail time and spend the rest of your time on focused, dedicated work.
Forwarding voicemails to your email inbox as MP3 files.
You can further detach yourself from the voicemail funnel by having each voicemail sent to you as an MP3 file. If you’d rather read each voicemail at once and determine for yourself which ones demand callbacks, you’ll be better able to prioritize each voicemail.
You’ll also want to make sure that customers don’t drop as soon as they find out you’re not going to pick up your phone. That’s why it’s important to incorporate the next feature as well:
Give your customers something to listen to.
Don’t forget that the voicemail experience isn’t all about you. It’s also about what happens when that customer picks up the phone and dials the number you gave them. Will they feel valued? Will they feel that their voicemail actually gets heard? Does the voicemail greeting sound professional enough that they can count on someone regularly checking their voicemail on the other end?
In the age of fast feedback quick results, many of us tend to give up before we even hear the “beep.” But if you have an enticing voicemail greeting, you’ll be able to get more people to leave their message and therefore let you know exactly what it is that you need to prioritize.
Setting Up a Voicemail Funnel System that Eliminates Distractions
If you have a voicemail system in place that can handle each of the variables above, you’re already one step ahead of most distractions. But if you want to be 100% confident that your voicemail system will take care of everything while you work, it won’t hurt to go the extra mile.
- Set up incoming call control. If you block the most frequent “junk” callers from your phone, you’ll reduce the amount of incoming call traffic in the first place. Grasshopper, for example, allows you to screen incoming calls automatically, blocking those callers you know have frequently hit you with junk calls in the past.
- Handling simultaneous calls. What happens if an important client calls while you’re already on the phone? Your phone system needs to be adaptable enough to handle simultaneous calls without throwing you off balance. Make sure that no important client ever hears a busy signal, but instead goes to a voicemail.
- Call forwarding. If you need to get work done but don’t want to lose out on an important call, you can always outsource that call to another member of your team with call forwarding. Make sure that your voicemail system has that function in place and that you alert someone when they might be “on deck” for important incoming calls, especially when you’re doing distraction-free, dedicated work. You should also look into the call transfers that your current phone system has available.
Finally, make sure you always make time to look up your voicemails, read through them, and call back every client who wants a call back. That way you’ll let them know that in the future, leaving a voicemail with you is worth the time and effort—and they’ll be less likely to simply hang up and try again later.
Pulling Your Voicemail System Together in One Place
The more functionality you have with your business phone system, the simpler you’ll keep your voicemail funnel. That’s why it’s important to use a service like Grasshopper, where you can cull together every call and direct the incoming voicemails as you see fit.