Please make sure you’ve completed your block schedule which I suggested in the last episode. Taking that first step BEFORE this second step is very...
Template Emails and Short Phone Calls – Organized for Success
I hope many of you are acting on my episodes lately to get organized for success. So far, you should have decided which activities are important and made a block schedule to implement those things. Then you tracked your daily life and adjusted the schedule to include a more realistic time budget. Now in […]
I hope many of you are acting on my episodes lately to get organized for success. So far, you should have decided which activities are important and made a block schedule to implement those things. Then you tracked your daily life and adjusted the schedule to include a more realistic time budget. Now in this episode get my secrets for managing emails and phone calls. Don’t let them hamper your ability to perform and keep your schedule. Every little bit of time saved will add up and make you organized for success.
In this digital age, emails and phone calls are two big time exploiters in the work place. I realize that many also spend huge amounts of time on social media. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. But I don’t believe selling merchant services will benefit much from time on those platforms. I advise a moratorium on that during your business hours, so those aren’t included in this episode.
Here are two tips on more effective management of emails.
#1. Deal with each email to completion the first time you open it. Don’t even open your emails until you have time to act on them. Simply opening an email doesn’t benefit you or the person who sent it. Why ruin your train of thought by looking at the phone to see from whom the email is sent? I find a five-minute time interval is enough to deal with a few emails. As I mentioned in the previous episode, I first decide what next action step I should take when I open an email. Should I let the sender know I’m not doing anything at this time? Is the email just informative or promotional? If there is no action required, I place it in my “non-action” folder or delete it. Get rid of it quick, quick, quick.
Perhaps an email requires an hour of time for your response. Leave it in your inbox for later in the day when you have an hour. Or decide which day you’ll have an hour and place it in a folder for that day. Every morning I move everything from that day’s folder to my inbox. Than I start at the top and deal with each email when I open it the first time. Empty your inbox!
#2. Use template emails. Often, you’ll receive the same questions over and over again from customers or sales people. Using template emails will save time in this case. Google, Gmail and other servers offer canned responses. By using these, you only need to change the name and a few other details. That’s a great time saver!
The second significant time usurper is phone calls. Here are some tips for keeping your calls short.
- Decide how to start and end when returning a call such as customer service. I usually start by saying, “Hey, this is James Shepherd. How are you doing today? (response) Great! What can I do for you?” If a customer has a terminal problem, don’t shoot the breeze for twenty minutes. Open with, “Hey, I got your message about your terminal. What’s going on? How can I help?” Get to the action right off the bat.
- Be aware of the time. When you have one minute left before the next appointment, say, “Just so you know – and I apologize – I already have another appointment I’ve got to run to. I’ve got about another minute or two to be on the phone. What else can I help you with today?” Let them realize your time is valuable.
- Get the call back on track. Perhaps someone replies to your greeting, “Well, let me start by telling you a little bit about myself.” After about five minutes of that, say, “Wow! I really appreciate you taking time to tell me that information; that does give me some contact. However, since we do only have ten minutes left on the call, maybe we could jump into some action steps you want me to take.” Sometimes there is necessity of saying something like that to get the call back on track. I often make back-to-back fifteen minute calls.
These tips for managing emails and phone calls will maximize your work productivity. Every little bit of time saved adds up to make you organized for success.
Check out yesterday’s post: “A Little Dose of Realism from James”
Read the next part of the series here: Using Laziness to Your Advantage- Organized for Success