I recently spoke with a client who was getting annoyed with the number of clients contacting him at unsociable hours asking random questions. I asked him why he was answering his work line at unsociable hours. Turns out he didn’t have a work line and his clients were contacting him on his personal line. When I asked him why he didn’t have a separate line for work, he looked at me puzzled. I encourage all of my clients to do the same. Especially when you are trying to achieve business growth.
I have always had two phone lines; one for work and one for pleasure. It is essential for me because of what I do. Nowadays you can have a single phone with a dual sim, but I have always preferred to have two separate devices. For some two mobile phones raises eyebrows. I have had a few random comments or jokes from individuals asking if my second line was for my criminal enterprise. But the reduction in stress that I receive from having two phones, far outweighs the feeling of being the butt of unwarranted jokes.
When you are running a business where you have direct contact with your clients or customers, setting boundaries can be both difficult and awkward. When seeking business growth, you want to provide attentive customer service, but sometimes people feel they own your time because they have paid you. Trying to explain to them that calling you at 11pm to ask an irrelevant question can be somewhat uncomfortable. Some people simply don’t have the assuredness to communicate those boundaries when they are crossed. Instead they will take the call whilst silently (or loudly) seething about it. But if you provided them with a number and no boundaries, then why wouldn’t they call?
After hours WhatsApp conversations may not seem a big deal to your client, but when you are trying to be present at home and switch off from business, it can be the thing to tip you over the edge. Having two phones means I don’t have to feel compelled to respond because I can see a client name flashing on my screen. I turn my phone off outside of office hours. I deserve to switch off and therefore I do.
Switching off from business is essential if you are trying to avoid burnout and overwhelm. Being accessible 24/7, makes this impossible. Instead you are at the whim of every client seeking a quick chat or clarification. Providing clients/customers with your personal phone number signals accessibility. If you have a separate phone, you can add auto response messages to WhatsApp. When you get messages outside of work hours (or even within it), those messages can let your clients know that you are not available, and/or when you will be available. You can also have a business specific voice message on a business only line. This will again instruct clients of your availability and provide details of what to do in an emergency if one was to arise. Most importantly, when you have a work phone, when working time is over, you can turn it off.
If you run a business where out of hours’ emergencies require you to be accessible 24/7, then maybe turning off a work line wouldn’t work for you, but for many of us, most things can wait till the morning or a working day.
So if, like my client you are feeling a little overwhelmed with being constantly bombarded on your personal phone, it’s probably time to consider getting a separate line for your business. If you are seeking business growth without burnout, this may be step one on the road to achieving it.