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  #1  
Old 05-19-2011, 02:23 AM
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Default Phone!

I can't answer my phone anymore, I thought I could but the phobia is still with me this year.

I mentioned it last year and it's stuck with me. I'm not shy, I can start a conversation with any stranger - it's just I've gotten so sick of it, I avoided communication for so long and got used to it and can't go back.

I have waited for calls to go to voicemail, so I can check my messages and decide to call back or not - if they don't leave a message I never call back. I'm going to list the reasons WHY I think I'm like this now;

1. Repetitive conversations

2. I always have to answer a ridiculous question, or put a customer at ease by offering assurance that everything will go according to plan.

3. They expect me to give them an exact date for odd jobs, when I never have a day set for them due to the weather which can be random and cause me to look like I'm always rescheduling. They can't accept that I have no clue and I say, "we will have to see what I can get done this week and if there is any available time."

4. I'm sick of talking. I just want a to-do list. I don't want to talk about work, I just want to do it without confrontation. I hate being slowed down and trying to keep people happy.



If I could operate out of email, I would. It's just every conversation is the same, it's driving me nuts. I'm thinking about getting a girl on the phone just to take messages. Am I the only one who hates this? Sure it's great that the calls are coming in, but I'm seriously so fed up I continue to avoid them.

Every call, I feel like I have to go out of my way to put an end to the conversation.
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2011, 05:40 AM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
To be successful in anything, you have to take advantage of your positives and get help with your negatives.

If one thing is bothering you, why not look for help to resolve it.

Do you see a way to resolve it that would make you feel better and enjoy your business more?

Maybe hire a local senior citizen that has a lot of patients to answer your phones? Would that help?

What is your view on all this though? Do you think you always felt this way or has this come on more and more as you have been in business longer?
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2011, 08:08 AM
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In order to make your business grow you will have to just suck it up and deal with it. I'm sure all of your customers can't be doing this. You will have your few that will gripe at every little tthing and then you just ask yourself "is this client worth all this hassel"? You have to be able to talk to people and answer there questions even if you think they are stupid! That's any business! As far as people asking when you can make give them a time and show up don't say I don't know. Then when you get there if the weather is bad or if the weather is bad that whole day then you tell them you can't do the job today or go work in the rain. but check the weather channel to know. Good luck and hang in there it will pay off in the long run.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:58 PM
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It's 1:54PM

0 - 27 Missed Calls, I spend every friggen night clearing my voice-mail inbox. These people are animals.

I have to now search through all the numbers and line them up with the messages, make a call back list.

28... missed calls. I don't answer if I don't have my books in front of me.



I told myself I only take/return calls at the end of the day, but my phone gets attacked like crazy I don't even get a chance it's overwhelming.






Also, it's not just my "bad" clients. Its the entire lot of them or callers from an area I don't do business in. I have to go out of my way to tell them I can't do them, because they didn't read my ad - or else they keep calling and calling and flooding my voice-mail.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:11 PM
p and s lawns p and s lawns is offline
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well i'm not an expert i just help my husband with our Lawn Business, Maybe you can put on your voicemail the areas you do or even say your not excepting new clients. Or do you have a girlfriend or wife that can do tthe crap work? I know it's hard and people can be nasty but in order to have a great business you have to take the bad with the good just liike with life. I hope this helps maybe alittle
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p and s lawns View Post
well i'm not an expert i just help my husband with our Lawn Business, Maybe you can put on your voicemail the areas you do or even say your not excepting new clients. Or do you have a girlfriend or wife that can do tthe crap work? I know it's hard and people can be nasty but in order to have a great business you have to take the bad with the good just liike with life. I hope this helps maybe alittle
The problem is I don't want anyone to take abuse from callers. They can be extremely rude.

I just got off the phone with a lady who called me a liar. I offer a free fall cleanup, she said my flyer said "Free Spring Cleanup"... It's things like this that irritate me, now I have to waste more time calling her in a few days and telling her "sorry, not going to happen".

I also hate when they try to swindle me. Putting another person in this position would irritate me because they feel as if they can't speak there mind when the caller is rude. I've told callers to never call me back several times, the last thing I need is to not know how the caller presents him/herself on the phone then showing up in person and being stuck in a position I could have avoided.

If I know the customer is a pain on the phone, I wont bother to visit them. If they give me a hard time on the phone, it'll only get worse.


********************-

I'm still getting calls. Every time I call someone my phone beeps... My brain is going to explode.

I've emptied my voice-mail twice today and it's only 3:42pm. It just keeps filling up!!!
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  #7  
Old 05-19-2011, 08:25 PM
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Cheese
Buddy, pa, friend.
I said it an earlier thread of yours and I will say it again maybe its time for a change. Close up shop and move on. If you like the work but hate the day to day dealing with the customers then go work for someone else were you only have to do your job and then go home at 5pm. Leave all the crap for the company owner to handle.
To Fuss no Bother, You knew what you were getting into when you went in to self employment as P and S Lawns said "SUCK IT UP" man or move it out.

sorry to be so harsh but sometimes you need to be.

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  #8  
Old 05-20-2011, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
The problem is I don't want anyone to take abuse from callers. They can be extremely rude.

I just got off the phone with a lady who called me a liar. I offer a free fall cleanup, she said my flyer said "Free Spring Cleanup"... It's things like this that irritate me, now I have to waste more time calling her in a few days and telling her "sorry, not going to happen".
I have seen this kind of situation happen to other entrepreneurs in the past.

Something important that I learned from it is as the owner of the business, you will take your business and business dealings very personal, so to you, you may take a customer calling in as being rude, while an employee answering the phone won't have that emotional investment in your business and will more easily let such rudeness simply flow right past them without them getting angry.

If you feel you could benefit from this lesson, consider taking this or other positive steps to move past this issue.

Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

I don't think you are alone in having this as a problem. I think more business owners face this than may actually admit to it.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2011, 08:36 AM
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Well isn't that a good thing that your getting soooooooo many calls? That means your business is boobing! Beleave me u think you have it hard I take care of 3 kids 2 being still in diapers, I clean the house, cook dinner and then go to work with my husband out in the field and handle all the invoices, customers, billing ect. and I know that it can get frustrating but it's a part of the business. Also if you went to work for someone else you would then have to deal with their crap. So the best advise I can give is let it go in one ear and out the other lifes to short to be stressed out or let people get to you. Maybe take a vaca. and chill out then come back full force. turn off your phone and give yourself 2 days I promise it will help. Everybody needs a break sometime or another.
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:13 PM
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Well isn't that a good thing that your getting soooooooo many calls?
No.

Beleave me u think you have it hard
Yes. I've put 2 folks through school. I cook breakfast and dinner, and I work.

turn off your phone and give yourself 2 days I promise it will help
It wont. This tactic will just set me back.

Everybody needs a break sometime or another
Indeed, unfortunately it's the beginning of the season.



Let me solve my own problem, because all I'm receiving is tidbits of irrational information. I have to say thank you Steve, for for a well thought out response!

So here's the problem, right?

The call volume on my phone is "too much". What is too much?

1. The same caller will call my phone with 2-3 numbers within an hour. Leaving me to call each number back - because they can't simply leave a single message and leave it at that.

2. A single caller will leave a voice message on my phone every time they call, as if there first message wasn't sufficient. This creates a problem where all of my calls later on will not come with messages - my voicemail will be full.

3. I do not have a lot of time. I check "canada411.ca" to reverse search phone numbers and where the person resides before I call back, why? Doing this enables me to see if it's worth an extra 5-10 minutes on the phone denying a person service. A lot of numbers aren't registered, so I have to call them back blindly. A lot of time is wasted chasing down the caller(s) and the outcome is repetitive, the outcome is denying service to those outside my area of business.

4. A lot of people including my customers are arrogant. Regardless of how many customers I have, they will always assume I run my business for them individually. They don't see a problem with calling my phone non stop all day until someone answers, while leaving a message along with every phone call.

5. A lot of customers are ignorant, they don't understand that when it rains - there is no service. When it's the weekend, there is no service unless scheduled by me in an advance. They all know this, they just don't give a crap.


With all of the above, we could assume it's the customer who is constantly unaware of how I operate, regardless of being told previously.

Ok, so I can just tell them again, right? No. It's not that simple.

A lot of my customers have their own schedules, they need to be home every time I arrive, or they need a phone call upon my arrival - these are the elderly who want to make sure everything goes according to plan. These customers rely on me to arrive the same time throughout the entire season (impossible). These customers pay money, and telling them the facts over and over again isn't that easy without coming off as an a-hole.

Even by sending out a notice, it will be taken personally to each and every customer. As they would all believe that it's meant for them, and it's sadly true.

Let's go back a bit, what might have caused this problem?

Being friendly and allowing my customers to trust me. I assume they know how good they have it, and aren't willing to lose it - so they call non stop to receive assurance to put their minds at ease.

So I can just be neutral, right?

Being friendly has turned my business into a huge success, it's what my company represents. Unfortunately, the bigger I get the less one-on-one my customers receive and the more unlikely they are to stick around. I'm not pulling a stat out of my arse like most of you on this forum, I've seen first hand that customers would drop me and go with a cheaper service if I lost my friendly approach.

My customers are with me because I am able to show appreciation, while making them feel better than they really are - and we as humans love that. The idea is to win them over by treating them as an idol. It's all about psychology, this method will keep them addicted alone regardless of price - you just need an opportunity to make your move.

If I would become neutral, they will only look at the quality of my work and begin comparing it to the price of my competition. They aren't as afraid to lose my work quality for any cheaper service as you'd think.

Out of all my customers, they are with me for ME, not the name of my business, quality or price. I've done everything I could to stand out and differ from what customers have told me they dislike about my competition. The most difficult part is keeping up with it. It was all great in the past, I've have beers with just about every male customer of mine, not just a handful. I am a true "representative" of my company and have become the face of what makes this business work and what people want.


THE REAL PROBLEM:
It's now very difficult to get any work done, while "keeping face".


Don't worry, I wont let you guys solve this problem either.

Here are a few solutions;

1. Hire an assistant

2. Hire a receptionist

Neither of them will work. A good assistant is an investment (time+money+temper). It's in the process, and nearly impossible to acquire while making it worth it.

A receptionist can only go so far for the dollar I provide. It sounds like a good sacrifice considering my issue, but down here in reality it's a complete loss at the current position my business is in.

beta SOLUTION:
The best option, being the most difficult would be to hire an assistant who can take the calls, be the face of the company or the foreman while I'd be able to trust them to do as well as I have done, or better. This solution still has many faults.

The solution above is in progress, it's unfortunate that no one is capable of providing me what I require at this current time. The best I can do to my knowledge is wait and continue the search.














For fun;

Calls received from 7-9AM: 12
Calls received from the start of this post till the end: +6

Total: 18. this isn't as pleasant as you'd think

It's Saturday, May 20th.
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