Still employed. Contact during hours from new business.

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by antp__, Nov 6, 2015.

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  1. antp__

    antp__ UKBF Regular Free Member

    175 25
    Hi all,

    Hoping you can give me some advice and how you guys started out really.

    For those of you who quit work, went part time or started a business as you were left with no job, I guess it's a little easier.

    But... to those of you who kept a full time job to keep money coming in to pay for your new venture.
    How did you deal with incoming calls during your full time hours? I work 9-5 pretty much straight through with no real breaks. I don't go out for lunch I just eat it at my desk.

    I wish to give trust in my business so would rather have a contact number there.
    I know there are answering services but takes more of the budget that could be spend on other things. I could also place a "Request a call back" option but again, these will always be after 5pm when everyone has finished work or even worse, gone elsewhere!

    Any help on this matter would be appreciated!
     
    Posted: Nov 6, 2015 By: antp__ Member since: Mar 30, 2014
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  2. IanG

    IanG UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    965 203
    I worked with people who just took the calls and ran a business while also being in a full time job, see how you get on!

    There is no easy answer. If you want to be committed to your business, quit. If you like job security, go for more toilet breaks.
     
    Posted: Nov 6, 2015 By: IanG Member since: May 8, 2011
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  3. antp__

    antp__ UKBF Regular Free Member

    175 25
    Hi @IanG thanks for your input. Makes sense!

    I know there is no easy answer, just wanted some insight to how others dealt with the situation more than anything. Not that i'm expecting a huge amount of calls to start with anyway!
     
    Posted: Nov 6, 2015 By: antp__ Member since: Mar 30, 2014
    #3
  4. Ross McElroy-Gray

    Ross McElroy-Gray UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 2
    I am currently in the same situation, although I am leaving my full time job at xmas to work full time for my own business.

    To cope with calls I have a landline number on the site and use call divert (£2.50 a month from my virgin home phone line) which transfer's the call to my mobile so I can answer at work.

    When a call comes in I have been nipping down the corridor / toilet / coffee machine etc. to take the call. Also if I can't take the call due to being in meetings for example I just call back. "Hi, this is Ross from Top Shelf UK just returning a missed call..." (as the call has been diverted to my mobile I can see the number calling me) N.B. It is best to get a separate mobile if you want to do this to keep personal and business calls separate.

    The main problem I have been having is when a customer phones up asking to check an order. As I am in the corridor it isn't as though I can jump onto the office computer while being on the phone to a client in front of all the staff! But I usually just make up and excuse if that is the case and call back when I have the answer.

    Also I have found that most customers don't mind being asked if I can call them back in a few minutes. Luckily I have a wall facing computer so I can do bits of admin and no one can see...

    Be warned though, as your venture gets bigger you will undoubtedly lose focus at work! I hope this helps,

    Good Luck.
     
    Posted: Nov 6, 2015 By: Ross McElroy-Gray Member since: Jun 16, 2015
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  5. Ross McElroy-Gray

    Ross McElroy-Gray UKBF Contributor Free Member

    36 2
    .
     
    Posted: Nov 6, 2015 By: Ross McElroy-Gray Member since: Jun 16, 2015
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  6. Sparetoolparts

    Sparetoolparts UKBF Regular Full Member

    397 39
    My Solution is to have a simple answering machine message on my home land line, informing them that this number is not continually manned 9-5 due to staff shortages, I also have a mobile number where I simply reject calls and send a text message informing them this is a text message service, and to please reply with the item you are interested in buying and someone from the team with text you with link to the item, 2 years on and still pretty effective.

    Also texting/calling when the user is at home after 5 also works, as it looks like your going that extra mile to help
     
    Posted: Nov 11, 2015 By: Sparetoolparts Member since: Oct 26, 2015
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  7. antp__

    antp__ UKBF Regular Free Member

    175 25
    Hi @Sparetoolparts thanks for the reply and sorry for the delay.

    How do you find this works with "trust" (it obviously doesn't harm you as you have done this for 2 years. But do you feel you have lost any orders?). I will be purchasing a redirect landline number that will forward to a mobile number. Rejecting calls can't gain much trust even though you claim its a text messaging service? Do you just send a link to your website or do you call them back when you have 5 minutes in case they have a few questions? I will of course let them know that I wont be taking payments over the phone to begin with, before they even call so it should only be for general questions. Once I can get someone to man it (maybe my mom) I will get an online terminal too.

    I'm glad it works for you though, its certainly something to think about. I guess there are other reasons. Still setting up offices so no set line installed yet.

    Calling in their own time: Never thought of it like that. Always thought they would want to switch off at this point of the day.
     
    Posted: Nov 16, 2015 By: antp__ Member since: Mar 30, 2014
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  8. Sparetoolparts

    Sparetoolparts UKBF Regular Full Member

    397 39
    Hi There

    It is hard to say how many sales I lose through this, but I do see sales coming off the back of the text messages, when I find out what they want (part) I quickly browse my site, find the part they need then text the url to them. I would tend to call them back if it is a serious issue maybe a lost order or something, but I have found that most queries can be sorted via txt message.

    I do thought about asking parents etc to man the phone line, but with complex calls and having to use the website to check order statuses etc, it would be too much for them,

    Ref Calling out hours, I do most of my emails out of the normal 9-5 hours infact I make a point to show it in my site that we reply to email up until 11:00pm. This won't help businesses much, but for end users it allows communications in regards to parts and order right up until bed time
     
    Posted: Nov 16, 2015 By: Sparetoolparts Member since: Oct 26, 2015
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  9. antp__

    antp__ UKBF Regular Free Member

    175 25
    I noticed that on your website. If i'm honest i'll be doing the same. I'm always on my emails late at night.

    Do you only take orders through your website? Do you let people know you are currently only an online based business so do not take payment over the phone. Worst case you send them an invoice that can be paid?

    In a way i'm hoping most enquiries are emailed through and if they wish to email the order through i'll reply with an invoice. May place a "Request a callback" button on the site.

    As before, i'm not expecting huge amounts of calls coming in for a good 6 months and more. But I know there will be the odd ones.
     
    Posted: Nov 16, 2015 By: antp__ Member since: Mar 30, 2014
    #9
  10. Sparetoolparts

    Sparetoolparts UKBF Regular Full Member

    397 39
    99% of my orders come through the website, if for some reason they can't pay online, I offer to send paypal money request, however as of Friday, I have just launched Braintree payment gateway, so I can now take terminal type payments, this won't do me much good until I have someone to answer the phones but the option is there
     
    Posted: Nov 16, 2015 By: Sparetoolparts Member since: Oct 26, 2015
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  11. antp__

    antp__ UKBF Regular Free Member

    175 25
    Hi mate, thanks for that. The accounting software I use integrates with PayPal so if I sent an invoice they can pay direct.

    I did spot your Braintree thread and must say I had never heard of it. Seems quite decent considering there are no fees up to £30,000. May take a look at it. Does this just act as payment gateway similar to the way SagePay works (for customers online this is).

    Then of course you can login and use their virtual terminal for orders over the phone. This will save me £20 with PayPal Pro just to get the terminal haha!
     
    Posted: Nov 16, 2015 By: antp__ Member since: Mar 30, 2014
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  12. antp__

    antp__ UKBF Regular Free Member

    175 25
    Sorry for double post. @Sparetoolparts I can't seem to PM you. I was going to ask how you get around shipping goods too? If for instance someone messages at 11am and says they could do with a part put on an overnight service for following day delivery.
     
    Posted: Nov 16, 2015 By: antp__ Member since: Mar 30, 2014
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  13. Sparetoolparts

    Sparetoolparts UKBF Regular Full Member

    397 39
    Simple since I dropship (Sort Of) I don't offer this service, I keep a small stock level for my most popular parts, apart from that it's normall a 5-10 day lead time for delivery, this is made clear in my T&C's and in order confirmation emails and a follow up email an hour after the order is placed, If an order is older than 6 days I send another email informing the user of the continued delay, I have only had 1 x customer is 3 months wanting to cancel, as long as they are aware of the time they seem happy.

    Communication is the key, keep them informed at all times
     
    Posted: Nov 17, 2015 By: Sparetoolparts Member since: Oct 26, 2015
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  14. antp__

    antp__ UKBF Regular Free Member

    175 25
    Ah I see, thanks again. I will be holding all stock myself and sending it out myself. I will use a next day service so I may state it is 48 hours. That way it gives me enough time to send it through and will be delivered the following day.
     
    Posted: Nov 17, 2015 By: antp__ Member since: Mar 30, 2014
    #14
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