Do you work 60+ hours a week and feel stuck in a cycle, rinse and spin perhaps? Do you have every good intention to manage your business needs, but at the end of the day you’ve accomplished substantially less than what you intended and you feel rung out, spinning out of control, with no time or energy left for you?
With current technology, we have the ability to work anytime from almost anywhere and consumers are expecting more companies to be available at all times a day. It may be possible for a large business to meet their client’s needs for expanded hours and all types of communication. For a small business, this can be difficult and draining.
A recent article from Houzz gave excellent strategies in managing the “always on” client. Here are a few suggestions:
Be proactive by understanding your client’s needs. If you are B to C, it could be that certain clients can only access you on their personal time. When you understand the situation it will help you manage the expectations.
Separate your business and personal communication. It is often convenient to have your personal computer, cell phone and home double for business purposes. It also makes it difficult to separate business from personal time.
Define business hours. Preventing communication overload can sometimes be as easy as reminding your clients of the appropriate hours for business communication. Try listing your business hours on your website, social media pages, in your email signature, voicemail recording and in your contract.
Define appropriate communication. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your client, letting them know what is and is not an emergency and what can or can not be handled the next day during business hours. If you find texts, or social media communication difficult to track and manage, request your client correspond with you through email.
Automate communication. Email autoresponders can give you the peace of mind that the clients emails are acknowledged. If you want to send a more personalized reply but do not want to encourage after hours communication, try using the “send later” feature in email.
Use a virtual receptionist. Give your clients the opportunity to still speak with a live person and receive some assistance after hours. This provides a better and more personalized experience when it is outside of your business hours.
Charge a premium. If you don’t mind some communication outside of your standard business hours, charging a premium for that time helps to keep the communication to a minimum while capturing additional revenue.
Enforce boundaries. This may possibly be the most difficult advice. As a business owner it can be hard in any given moment to choose not to handle business that could be handled at that time. If you set boundaries at the beginning of your project and you are responsive when you say you will be, the client will be more understanding. Wait to respond to emails, texts or phone calls until the next business day.
If you have questions or need help setting up a system for your office, visit our new website www.organizingassociates.com, or call 251 343-3999 and ask about our Summer Consult Special . We are ready to assist you!