How a telephone answering service can help you achive your goals.Continue reading
It’s mental health awareness week and we want to talk about the elusive ‘work-life balance’, highlighted as one of the main contributors to mental health problems. In the UK 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, and the Mental Health Foundation highlights the pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture as one of the most pressing challenges to the mental health of the general population.
This famous quote resonates with the team here: “If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness” and it is along these lines we are creating our work-life balance policies and incorporating wellbeing into everything we do for our staff. But what about when you are starting or running your own company?
It’s a socially accepted narrative that ‘putting in the hours’ in business is praised, and start-up companies are expected to take over the owner’s life. But it doesn’t have to be like this, there are strategies that can be put in place to help improve your own work-life balance. Based on our own policies we have some advice on how you can improve your work-life balance when starting or running your own company.
- Give yourself dedicated working hours.
By setting specific work hours you set your own time frames to work and will have greater focus and productivity within these times.
- Remember to say no.
We all got so caught up in other people’s demands that sometimes we forget we can say no. Haven’t got the time to attend that meeting? A friend asks you to go to a networking session? Remember you can say no.
- Schedule family/personal time
In the same way we can schedule working hours, we can also take the same approach and make sure we plan personal time into our calendar. Having a regular routine and planned hours means we are expecting to spend that time doing what we love, and are less likely to get caught up in any work demands during this time.
- Eliminate distractions
Imagine if every hour you spent at work was a productive hour, how much more free time you would have. We all fall foul to a social media scroll or an unimportant call distracting us from our current task. There are programmes available to block yourself from unproductive websites, notifications are easily turned off, and your phone doesn’t have to always be on. Give yourself some dedicated focus time, so when your scheduled work finish time arrives you know you have achieved as much as you can, and you deserve the time to relax.
5. Play to your own strengths
Focus on what you’re good at and do it. You don’t have to be perfect at everything, and you certainly won’t have the time to do it all. Not sure about social media? Outsource. Need some copy for the website? Outsource? Need someone to answer your calls whilst you’re busy? Outsource.
f6. Spend some time in nature.
This year’s theme from the Mental health Foundation is Nature. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can lift your mood, reduce anxiety and is part of the Mental Health Foundation, awareness week campaign.
We know when reading these many of you will be thinking ‘how can I stop working or turn off my phone?’ You’ll be worried about missing leads, or your current customers being unable to get hold of you.
This is where an answering service can help, outside of your dedicated working hours you can set up your divert so all your calls are still answered, details captured and emailed through to you, ready for your reply once you are back at work. Allowing you to prepare before replying and prioritising the most important calls first. An answering service can even filter your calls, meaning any sales or marketing calls no longer disturb your day. Phoneta are more than just an answering service, we become an extension of your team, and whilst we can’t promise to make your business a success, we can be here to help improve your work-life balance on the journey.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.
Phoneta History: Where it all began, with the Doctors Answering Service.
In 1992 LaVerne Caddy left the ambulance service after 35 years, and reluctant to retire started a small business in his own kitchen, Wenvern Paging, answering late night and emergency doctors’ calls. These calls would be paged through to on a call emergency doctor, as at that time there was little or no service providing this cover and doctors would have to take all their late-night calls themselves. This left them with little work-life balance and meant calls asking to book appointments late at night had to be dealt with by the doctors themselves. Wenvern allowed these calls to be filtered and meant the doctors only had to be woken or disturbed with a genuine emergency. They had two telephones in their kitchen and were providing call handling for 90% of the Doctor’s surgeries in Cornwall and many others across the South West. With the launch of first Kernow doc and then the 111 service, the demand for Wenvern paging decreased and we saw we had to diversify and rebrand.
We became Kernow Business Messaging Service (KBMS) and saw a gap in the market for veterinarians. This became the focus for the next few years, and we took on many vets’ practices, providing the same out of hours emergency cover and helping vets increase their work-life balance, whilst still providing a dependable service for any animals in distress. We had many businesses start to contact us and over the years we have changed how we work to encompass any business that needs their phones answered, we started providing a 24/7 service, 365 days a year. With these changes, we have grown significantly and today employ over 70 people, in 2 office spaces. In 2017 we rebranded again to Phoneta, a telephone answering service for anyone who needs it, we take calls for businesses all over the country and in all types of industries, but we are finding that many of the doctors’ surgeries are now returning to us.
With the launch of 111 almost every surgery transferred their phones to 111 at 6:30 pm and takes them back at 08:00 am the following morning when the service ends. However, some surgeries opening times do not fit within the 111 operating hours and are left with a gap in their service, and this is where Phoneta is stepping in to help. We offer a top and tail service, bridging the gap between 111 and the surgeries opening and closing time. We take the doctor’s calls between these times and make sure the patients get to speak to someone, letting them know the surgery isn’t open and they will need to call back, or in the case of an emergency, get this call through to the correct person. We are proud to say that many of the original surgeries we worked with 29 years ago are coming back to work with us now and we are helping bridge the gap left by the 111 service, as well as any periods of closure, such as lunchtimes, or staff training days, and particularly at this time if they need to close because of staff shortages or a COVID-19 risk.
It is amazing to hear the feedback from the doctors who return, happy with the way their calls were answered 29 years ago, and excited to come and work with us now, knowing we provide a dependable service they can rely on.
If you are in a practice that needs help, or you would like to find out more information about any of our call answering service, please give us a call on 01209 823456 and we will be happy to help.
Find out more about us here: www.phoneta.co.uk
Give us a call on 01209 823456 to find out how we can help you.
To find out more about the new podcast service: www.cornwallchannel.co.uk
Is your business falling at the final hurdle?
2020 has been a tough time for all businesses. The grip of the pandemic has been inescapable; however, business must go on. Many companies have taken advantage of the government help available, such as bounce back loans and grants, and are using these to fund marketing campaigns in a bid to reach potential customers. But how many of these are still falling at the final hurdle, not answering their phone when a customer calls?
Every interaction you have with your customers is crucial and failing to answer the phone can leave them frustrated and damage your brand. How many of your customers have called and been left on hold, placed in a queue or gone through to the dreaded answerphone. Customers have no interest in the fact you are short-staffed, busy or in a meeting, and more than likely will call the next available business, your competitor, who can fulfil their needs. Just one of these missed calls a week is 52 potential customers your business may have missed in a year. Make that one a day, and the numbers begin to stack up. £31.6 Billion is lost each year in the UK from unanswered calls, and 3 out of 4 customers will not leave a voicemail.
This is where Phoneta can help. During lockdown new rules, protocols and restrictions have led to an increase in the call’s businesses are receiving creating an even larger problem. Outsourcing calls means your business can manage the communications with your customers, prioritising messages and leaving all customers safe in the knowledge that they have spoken to your company and have no need to contact your competitors.
We are a call answering service with a difference, we are always on the phone, so you don’t have to be. From less than £1 a call you can have round the clock cover and be able to communicate with your customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With a simple divert process, your calls can pass through to our agents who are trained to remain anonymous, courteous and efficient. They can answer simple questions regarding a business’s opening times and address’, take requested information from your customers, book appointments, take orders and then pass this information over to you within 30 seconds of the caller hanging up. Creating an expansion of your team, less disruption in your own office and lets you give your current customers your undivided attention. Meaning all the hard work and money you have spent on marketing isn’t wasted, and you can capitalise on every single potential lead.
Don’t fall at the final hurdle; make sure your business will never miss a call, or a new customer, again.
Call us today to find out more: 01209 823456
2020 has been a year like no other. The worldwide pandemic has forced businesses to adapt dramatically, we have seen staff isolation periods, enforced closures, staff being placed on furlough, customer limitations, and social distancing to name only a few. The event sector is one that has fundamentally changed, with a blanket ban on mass gatherings, and there is currently no end to these restrictions in sight. This has lead to many businesses losing crucial networking opportunities, however, there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 cloud, the growth of the virtual event.
Virtual events have been held for many years, but with the onset of social distancing measures, they are set to grow in numbers and popularity. With new specifically designed software, you can have the in-person event experience live at your desk. If you’re attending you can hear talks in the conference theatre from world-class speakers, use the AI networking to match with you the people you need to meet, and browse the exhibition at your own pace. If you’re planning on exhibiting virtual events are a great way to network, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and sell products or services.
Phoneta, in conjunction with commercial partners Inspired Motive, are launching a new range of Virtual Business Events. The Cornwall Business Revival Conference is coming to you on the 24th of February and the South West edition on the 19thof May.
To book a stand or tickets call us on: 01209 823456
Together, we have faced a truly extraordinary situation, the global Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives, personally and professionally. At Phoneta, we consider ourselves as one team with your business and take our role in supporting you very seriously. We have endeavored to be your one constant in this crazy period. To achieve this Phoneta has been focused on three key areas:
- Committing to the support of your business and success in planning and forecasting for this unprecedented situation.
- Taking proactive measures to protect and support our employees and their families.
- A continued focus on customer service and business continuity.
To hit these targets we have had to adjust our key operating procedures, and we thank you all for your continued support and understanding whilst these adjustments were made:
- The creation of a new operating system, allowing us to move from our existing system to a wholly digital way of working, allowing our staff to work remotely for the first time. This gave us greater flexibility, allowing your business to keep up with staffing changes and closures throughout the period.
- The implementation of a home working policy for our staff, meaning those who needed to shield to protect themselves and their families could do so whilst still being able to work.
- A training plan for all staff on the new system and continual training in call handling and customer service, providing business continuity for our customers.
This crisis has affected us all in unexpected ways, however, we cannot deny that some of the effects have created positive outcomes. Our new system has streamlined and improved our service, and our home working option gives us greater cover and flexibility for the times you need us most. Whilst the future may be much different than we expected, Phoneta hopes to keep improving and innovating to bring you the best possible service. We are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, whenever you need us.
Thank you for your support and loyalty at this time.
Anthony Caddy & The Phoneta Team.