Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ringing Phones

Work has been busy. So much so it has been challenging to handle all the incoming orders & deliveries. Like many companies we downsized and are still running with limited employees. We all are handling several different job duties and with this increase in work load we are now wondering if it is safe to hire. My boss has been trying to make this decision for weeks now but it seems every time he decides to go for it the phones stop ringing and he pulls back, concerned this pattern of increased orders won't continue. I can very much appreciate how difficult it must be, he is not only thinking about his company but also the new employee.

Over the weekend I was thinking about the phones and a thought came to mind: with all the different ways to communicate these days are ringing phones really a true measurement of an increase or decrease of business? 
For me, email is the most common form of communication with my customers, much more so than the telephone.  First off I like any direction to be in writing.  When I tell the customer when material will be available for delivery it is via email.  If the customer needs to change a size of an opening I want it in an email.  I always take notes when speaking with someone by phone but sometimes my writing gets sloppy as I try to keep up with the conversation.  I have learned through experience that what I say and what the customer hears sometimes have entirely different meanings.  I may say “your doors are scheduled to leave the factory in Wisconsin on November 3” but the customer hears “I am getting my doors at the jobsite on November 3”.   Early on in my career I learned to follow up a telephone call with an email reviewing all pertinent information that was discussed.  Communication is key to keeping a job moving forward smoothly not only for my scope of work but the many other trades on site.

Even potential customers often make the first contact via our info email address off our website in lieu of phoning in.    

Obviously tracking monthly sales numbers plays an important role in making any decisions on possible future hiring but my boss is old school and a constant ringing telephone makes him happy.  Personally I think it is probably a good mix of all forms of communication. 

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