As the owner of a home-based catering business, I have always realized the importance of making a good first impression on potential customers. For years, I tried to juggle my time between cooking and serving food at events, and trying to make myself available to answer calls from new clients. Finally, I discovered the perfect solution – a virtual phone system.
The Early Years
When I started my catering business 14 years ago, I did not have a virtual phone system. All I had was my home landline and an answering machine. I tried my hardest to answer calls personally during business hours, and I recorded a greeting on the machine that identified the business. I had problems right from the beginning. I would inevitably miss calls during the day when I left to get supplies. On one occasion a potential customer even left a message asking why I was closed in the middle of the day.
Constant Interruptions during the Work Day
As my business grew, I began spending more and more time away from home during the day. I would put on daytime events, shop for new menu items, and meet with clients on location. I decided to purchase a cell phone and use that as my business line. I was so excited – now I could take calls at home or away. But I discovered a new problem. I was not missing calls like before, but I was constantly being interrupted with client calls! My productivity suffered. Worse yet, many of these callers wanted simple information about my services and did not need to speak with me personally.
Researching a Better Option
I considered hiring a receptionist to answer calls. Unfortunately, financial restraints made this impossible. Then my brother-in-law mentioned that his company had recently converted to a virtual phone system with fantastic results. I did some research and it sounded promising. I liked the idea that every caller would hear a greeting and then be asked to select an option to hear more information, leave a message, or to reach me personally. Best of all, I would gain much more control over how many times I would be interrupted during the day.
Achieving Maximum Productivity
Considering that a virtual phone system was affordable and did not require a contract, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it. I am so glad I did. Never again will I need to worry that it will appear my business is closed during the day, just because I am not free at that moment to answer the phone. My phone system sounds professional, which makes a great first impression on potential clients. Also, I have become extremely efficient. I now have the freedom to focus entirely on my work during the day, choosing when and how often I take calls.
My passion is cooking and serving food, not answering the phone. At one time, dealing with the telephone was one of the most difficult aspects of my home catering business. A virtual phone system changed all that, and my business is doing great.