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What to do about phone answering

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by elite1msmith, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    ok , im looking for a few fresh ideas

    As most of you know , im leaving in alittle over 1 month

    My cell phone has been the main, and some cases only means for customers to get it touch

    im having a dependable worker run things while im away. GF will be handeling alot of papperwork, using QB online, so i can also chip in my part. also using microsoft groove to share info and files

    I dont think i want to give him , my cell phone number. But the customers still need a way to reach him..

    Im considering getting him a phone (well he already has one i pay for) to give out his number....

    other considerations were to have them call my cell....talk to voice mail, then he could return their call with my v mail password (or his v mail).... the point in all this being that i could listen to the v mails myself... just to keep "control" over the situations...making sure there is no funny business going on

    a friend of mine had a service that would link the cell call with his computer?

    Im just looking for general ideas, how i can allow him to return calls , or even take calls, but still be able to keep "control" of things.

    I had a worker in the past run things while i was away. i caught a few "new accounts" that he was doing and failed to tell me. So the GPS tracking is also something im looking into
  2. deckboys

    deckboys Senior Member
    Messages: 198

    just when you are busy and can't take the calls just set your phone to call forward.
  3. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I travel alot during the week, but I just have the customers call my regular number, which is my cell phone, and I call the guys handeling my routes. So far it's never been a problem.
  4. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    oh sorry , you guys must not have read my other thread....

    im going to afganistan , for at least 6 months...more like 8-10

    so me using a cell phone, might not be a posiblity. It could still go to my voice mail, which i could check using a regual phone, but i might not be albe to in a timely like manor
  5. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    Give the cell to the girl and have her run things. If thats not an option give it to the employee. I think you will have other things you should be thinking about while you are away.
  6. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    Well like i said , we are tring to avoid having a worker handle everything. You know how you give a guy your truck , he breaks it or smashes it,.... and the typical reaction when you asked him what happened was A.? i dunno.... or B... well....i "slid into the pole" ..when really we all know he hit it doing 20 mph, and you never get the FULL truth. Even if they are honest workers

    I found this ... let me know what you guys think https://www.onebox.com/products/exec-ovr.asp

    I figured , i would have both mine and his phone ring at the same time... i will not answer, he should, but this will give me a clue as to whom is calling the number, Additionally, i can listen to the voice mails over the net...track the calls,

    My plan would be to have the worker answer, but i will follow up as time allows with in hopefully 72 hours to ensure that he gave the correct information. I plan on writing a letter to my customers explain all of this , as well as a few new things

    a few other benifits include, a text message alert to my phone , when a call is missed, along with the voice mail message. Also , being able to look at Faxes sent to that number using Email, and being able to redirrect and send them to myself, my workers , or my GF depending on what is the main purpose

    I dunno, maybe this is just another expense

    Does anybody know, i have verizon....is there a method of having 2 phones ring at once? if so i might not need this service

    this wouldnt solve the problem of "new" customers.... i figured the GPS might help with that , if it became a problem
  7. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,215

    Find someone trustworty, and let them be. Notify your clients of the situation, and your GF can cover your back. I think while your away, your full attention is required in the field. Your talking life and death, come back safe, and the rest will work itself out. Even though I am Canadian, I appreciate the sacrifice.ussmileyflagtymusic :drinkup:
  8. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    i really apreate you guys saying that

    My mind will be were it needs to. Odds are we are going to be building something for the marines or other forces, so maybe 10-12 hour work days, it should give me some time off at night to do some business stuff.. If i dont at least know whats going on back home, ill just worry more. At least if i can see whos calling , know there is return calls being made, and i have the ablity to call them back later as im able, that might easy my stress

    Besides, it will be night time over there, day here... so I should have the evenings off on most nights , at least i hope.
  9. Moonlighter

    Moonlighter Senior Member
    Messages: 643

    How about an answering service that forwards all messages to your man, and leaves a paper trail account of each and every call that comes in. Some may even post all online so you can check calls or GF can check. Tow companies use them very regularly with good results for midnight shifts. Please be safe over seas and good luck.

    Moonlight Snow Removal
    "We play in the snow while you sleep!"
    1994 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 5.9L Magmun
  10. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    thats exactly , what im doing as listed above , jsut no acctual "phone answer person..."

    they will ring 3 phones at once too
  11. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    good luck and stay safe just remember there are no atheist in a fox hole keep your head low and and your feet moving i did 18mos in iraq and lived by that theory made it home ok thank you for your service :salute::salute: if i can do anything from where i am please don't hesitate to ask i know what your going thru luckily i had my dad
  12. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    yeah the internet call forwarding company idea is a great idea..

    i used one of these for 1 month free of charge and really liked it, just didn't ever go ahead with it because I came up with another idea that suited my budget and desire a lil bit more...

    What I do now is I have a prepaid cellphone and I use this number in connection with my business. I keep an account balance, and never use the minutes. I just use the cell phone voicemail (which i access from another phone). I created an excellent voicemail message, and instruct people to leave a message and I will get back to them as soon as possible...I paid 10 bucks for the phone and loaded $10 on it. Have been doin this for over 2 seasons now with good results...

    this way im not being harassed by the public all day via my personal cell phone... AND I can pick and choose who I want to call back....

    Not exactly grade A customer service, but hell, Im a one man show here, and can only do so many things at once...
  13. Deckscapes

    Deckscapes Senior Member
    Messages: 241

    I agree with Neige! Give the responsibilities to a trusted counterpart, keep your head where it belongs because this world is a better place with you in it!!!
  14. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    elite, it sucks you have to go over there and leave your business behind but at the same time you need to take a leap of faith with someone. If your phone is what most of your clients use to get ahold of you then leave it with whoever is in charge and making decisions on your behalf. Im sure they already have a phone of there own wont use if for personal calls and BS. Also whoever this person you leave in charge is should be the one you call for updates. I wouldnt let the gf handle it unless she is informed in price giving estimating and is going to be handling everything else. If you have a person that would make a good crew leader, now is the time to take that leap of faith. JMO
  15. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Elite also FWIW maybe send a letter to your customers explaining whats going on and that SO and SO will be handling any questions comments or concerns this way they may be a little bit more understanding if they don't recieve a phone call back right a way ussmileyflag:salute:ussmileyflag
  16. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627


    I was called up right after 9-11. No idea what to expect as our unit had not been activated since the Korean War. I would not count on having regular time off. I would not count on anything being constant except change.

    Definately send all customers a letter. I did this and it was very much appreciated by our customers. They did understand and were a little more forgiving. However, this was when Sep 11 was fresh in their minds. Now it seems they have forgotten.

    I would not suggest trying to control anything from Afghanistan. Might check in for updates, but there is NOTHING you can do to change things in your hometown from there. Pick your man (or woman) to run things and let them run with it. We all know the chance of shipping out is there when we sign up. The Govt didn't issue a business to you and they will remind you of this if you are trying to plow snow from a foxhole potentially endangering yourself or others. Time for a leap of faith. Do it. Learn from it. Make adjustments for the future by doing this. You might find you are more suited running a business when you get back by operating outside the cab of a truck. I have tried this this year a couple times including during our largest storm. We were more fluid as I sat in my office dispatching until things slowed down. Might be a blessing in disguise for you!

    Best of luck and remember we are backing you from Ohio here at Hicks Lawn Services, LLC!!! Thank you for your service to our country!!! ussmileyflag