The latest addition to our family was born just before Christmas last year and I haven’t answered a phone call since.
I have a VOIP phone number for each of my businesses which automatically redirects to my home phone line so that when I’m working, I can pick up my calls directly. Combined with this is an app on my phone which is linked to my VOIP accounts. The app has GPS functionality and with a little configuration, it has been set up so that any time I leave my house, calls aren’t sent to my landline but are instead redirected to a call answering / secretary service where a team of people pick up my calls for me, take a message then e-mail me the details.
This is perfect because I do not need to worry about missing a call if I nip out of the home office for any reason. Calls will be picked up by a professional member of staff and I can get back to the customer when I get the chance.
This has been really useful for years as I always take my dog out for a walk every lunchtime and we’re usually gone for an hour so knowing that I’m not missing anything important allows me to relax and really enjoy being outside.
Around April last year we found out that we were going to have another baby. We had most things ready as this was going to be child number four so we knew what to expect. Old clothes were dug out from the closet, new toys were bought, exhaustion levels reached a peak…
We had a due date so around that time I switched my phone lines on to divert to the call answering service knowing that once my partner went into labour, thinking about work would be way down on the list of things that I would be focussing on.
Baby Joshua arrived shortly after midnight a couple of days before Christmas. We enjoyed the relatively peaceful time over the Christmas holidays and then I gradually started opening my laptop and getting back into work mode just before the new year.
I didn’t bother redirecting my calls back to me initially because sleep schedules were all over the place. Sometimes we’d be up at 5a.m., sometimes I’d take the baby until midday so my partner could catch up on some sleep. I didn’t want to be answering phone calls, trying to sound professional when I had a screaming baby on my shoulder or I was in the middle of changing a nappy.
Things settled down after three months with some sort of routine falling into place. At this point I could have chosen to put the phones back on but I was enjoying not being interrupted whilst I focussed on getting some work done.
After six months my partner went back to work so I couldn’t take calls two and a half days a week as that’s when I was spending time with the children. I thought about turning them on for the rest of the week but thought… no, I can’t be bothered.
My business and my mood have improved
Life is just easier when you don’t have to worry about the phone ringing. No interruptions, no worry that you’re missing something important. No more spam calls to deal with! I outsourced answering my calls and now I just get an e-mail telling me the details.
I did worry that perhaps my customers would be annoyed but there has been two different reactions. Customers who knew that we’d just had a baby understood. They realised how difficult things were and so didn’t mind that I wasn’t picking up the phone myself, immediately. I called them back as soon as I could and they were happy with that.
Others just assumed that my business had grown so much that I had taken on new staff.
I also worried how new contacts would react if they couldn’t get answers straight away. Existing customers might understand but new people who had never interacted with my business before, surely they would be put off? It turns out that no, not one. All of the new people that have been in touch since Christmas have received a call back from me and they have all signed up.
The phone lines have now been ‘off’ for almost eight months and right now, I can’t see much reason to turn them back on again.