Most people who start a small construction business do so because they have talent and/or passion, and decide doing something they love would be a nice way to make a living. Once things get going, though, that passion can turn into an obsession. At that point the business starts to take up all their time and attention until they feel like the business is running them instead of them running it.
It’s very easy to lose control of your life while pursuing your dream. Fortunately, regaining that control is not as difficult as you might think. Following are some of the ways a virtual phone service for small construction businesses can help you regain that control.
- “Someone” to answer phones when you can’t. When a client or prospect calls, it’s critical that the call is answered. A phone that rings and rings makes the caller wonder if the company can handle his/her business. Thus small construction company owners will often leave their phones on and available 24/7 — which can put a big crimp in the family dinner, the children’s dance recital, or even a little alone time. A virtual phone service solves that issue by providing a virtual receptionist to answer every call with a professional, recorded greeting. If the construction business owner is unavailable, callers can leave a message on a professional-sounding voice mail system instead of an answering machine that was purchased at your local department store. Callers are given the impression of working with a buttoned-down construction company while the business owner, and employees, can enjoy non-work time worry-free.
- Forward calls from the office to an outside phone. If your business number is tied to an office phone (rather than a mobile phone), leaving the main office to go to a project site can be pretty nerve-wracking. Sure, callers can leave voicemail messages. But if time is a critical factor, waiting until you can check and answer voicemail may not be good enough. A virtual phone service with find me/follow me call forwarding allows you to route office calls to your home, mobile, or any other phone, either in a pre-determined sequence or all at once. The call rings through just as if you were at the office so you can provide seamless service even when you’re on client site or out of town on business.
- Schedule when calls are forwarded. Of course, having all your office calls forwarded to a personal line 24/7 can become overwhelming. Everyone needs some down time after all so find a virtual phone service that gives you the ability to schedule when calls are forwarded and when they should go directly to voicemail. Scheduling time in this way helps you maintain high availability to clients and prospects while still setting boundaries, allowing you to gain more control over your life.
- Manage specific calls. The reality of a small construction company is one size usually doesn’t fit all. It certainly applies to phone calls. There are some calls you want to take no matter what or when — and there are others you know can wait until later. There are even some you may not want to take at all, ever, under any conditions. But how do you separate them out? It’s easy with a virtual phone service that allows you to route specific phone numbers directly to an extension or voicemail, bypassing the virtual receptionist entirely and coming directly to you. It will also allow you to reject other numbers automatically — such as the pesky salesperson who won’t take “no” for an answer — without affecting the rest of your phone service. Not only does that save you time, it also helps protect your investment in publicizing your construction business phone number since you can block a given number rather than having to change yours and all the truck banners that advertise it.
- Screen calls to sort whether they’re business or personal. Suppose you have your office phone forwarded to your mobile — or your office phone is your mobile. If it rings when you’re on personal time, how do you know whether to answer it in a businesslike or personal way, or not to answer it at all? With the right virtual phone service the answer is as easy as looking at the caller ID number. A good virtual phone service will let you add a “tag” to the caller ID so you know whether the call came through the service (business) or direct to your mobile phone (personal). Again, very useful for establishing regular office hours and setting boundaries for high-maintenance but not necessarily high-urgency clients.
- Forward calls while they’re happening. Some people love to talk. They’ll go on all day if you’ll let them. But if they call your office phone and you need to leave in the middle of the conversation to head out to a project site, they may get offended if you cut them off and ask if you can call back later. That’s not an issue with a virtual phone service that forwards calls from one phone to another seamlessly. Chatty Cathy can keep talking as you switch from the office to your mobile phone, saving you the stress of deciding who to anger — the caller or the workers you have to meet.
- Have voicemail messages pushed to you through email or SMS. With the usual voicemail packages, the only way you know if you have a message is to call in and check. This means if you want to stay on top of your messages you have to constantly interrupt whatever you’re doing to call. Make sure your virtual phone service includes a notification system that lets you know when you have a message through SMS or via email. If you’re waiting for a message while you’re in an all-day meeting or out on the beach, you don’t have to excuse yourself to check voicemail. You’ll see when it’s there and can take action when it’s needed.
When you’re running a small construction business, it’s easy to become overtaken by events and wind up feeling out of control. So the more you can do to organize and manage things the more relaxed you can be. The right virtual phone service for your small construction company can help you gain control over what seemed to be the uncontrollable — your phone — and take the AAAAARGGGHHHH! out of your business life.
Kevin Baker is my1voice Product Marketing Manager for Protus, provider of the highest quality Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for small-to-medium businesses (SMB) and enterprise organizations, including my1voice, the cost-effective, feature-rich virtual phone service that travels with the user from phone to web, award-winning MyFax, the fastest growing Internet fax service and Campaigner, an email marketing solution with advanced automation features.
Kevin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org