Emails, phone calls, texts, messaging systems of every kind! Are we making ourselves too available at the expense of actually getting the work done?
I know lots of accountants suffered from this during covid with Friday evening announcements raising lots of client queries via multiple channels but it is often and issue even now.
We’re often encouraged to be available to clients the way THEY want to communicate but it’s a lot easier if we can streamline those communications.
This is how we control incoming communications at Minerva Accountants:
Mobile – This is not on my business cards. I guard my number and rely on voicemail when I’m in meetings or deep work. I block people who ring repeatedly but don’t leave a message.
Landline – this is a VOIP number which goes straight to my answering service (Answer-It.co.uk if you need a recommendation). They answer it professionally, get rid of sales calls, and email any genuine messages.
Calendly – I encourage people to book calls directly in my diary using calendly.com and so far only one person has abused this to book a sales call. Calendly links with my diary and only offers times when I am free. It emails me when a booking is made as well as putting the appointment in my diary. All bookings are for a phone call unless there is a reason to Zoom.
Webchat – this is run by real people (MeluChat.com) not bots so they can deal with some queries, book calls via calendly and email me messages.
Social media messaging systems – I’m careful who I connect with and block people who spam me this way. My usual response is to encourage people to book a call via Calendly or refer them to my website. As we have a lot of scheduled posts (we use Smarterqueue) people assume that this is an easier way to contact me but emails are always best.
WhatsApp – I don’t use this for business at all.
Course signups – these are all automated through the main website or through Thinkific. I only speak to people that we need to vet for our coaching and more expensive courses as I don’t want them to waste their money. Sign ups are forwarded to me by email and also linked to our CRM system (Active Campaign).
Emails – my favourite as I can review them when I’m free, forward them if I choose to delegate the task, link them to our practice management software, and there is a written record of what was said.
I don’t have notifications set for any of these systems as I log into emails and social media at least once a day to check for messages at a time that suits me.
To simplify outgoing communications we use helpsheets and videos. Clients often have similar queries. Whenever a client asks a question that I think may be asked again we create a Helpsheet or a training video that we can send to everybody who asks in future. It saves a lot of time and allows at least some of the replies to be delegated.
How do you control your communications in and out?