Managing Phone Stress

Managing Phone Stress

You’re hunched forward in your office-chair. The white glow of spreadsheets in your eyes. Papers, notepads, scribbled post-it notes spread out all over your desk. You’re putting together a quote.  You hate paperwork, but you’re finally in the zone. 

Then the phone rings.

You lose your concentration. “Jimmy” had a few pointless questions for you before he went into the wholesaler. The phone rings again. Another call comes. Then you’ve gotta call “Johnny” to call “Susie” to call “Jimmy” to call you back and leave a voicemail to call them back. 

Something’s not right here.

As a business owner, you probably know the massive frustration of a phone that won’t stop ringing. You can’t get the things you wanted to get done, because people just keep calling you. A lot of tradies fall into the trap of hating their phone, and developing a negative response towards it ringing. It’s a really dangerous mindset to get into – because if you didn’t have your mobile phone, you’d be out of business in two weeks.

In the old days, if someone went to the wholesaler and forgot something, or forgot to write something down, they’d come back without it. You couldn’t get in contact with anyone, at any stage. That’s why mobile phones have been revolutionary for tradies. So if you’re struggling with phone overwhelm, as most of us have, maybe there’s a deeper issue at play.

That is, the systems, processes, and structures within your business. 

Do you have a process in place for new clients calling you?

Do you have Jotform set up so clients can be placed straight into your job management system?

Are your text replacement shortcuts firing on all cylinders?

Are you a micromanager? If so, your staff are probably calling you because they think they need to run every little thing by you. 

How many of the phone calls you get each day are urgent and critical? Not very many.

It’s the cumulative effect of the non-critical stuff that makes you hate the phone, and actually makes you more likely to miss something important. You need to figure out which calls can wait (can be called back later), and which calls can be dealt with by someone else; maybe an ops manager, your admin, or another staff member. There’s a couple of further simple hacks you can apply to alleviate phone overwhelm.

If you’re running a standard ringtone, with a standard vibration – this sensory cue is probably engrained with a negative emotion.

One of the easiest ways to snap this is to change your ringtone. You can also categorise family, staff, and unknown calls, with a different ringtone. That allows you to filter based on vibration.

Utlising text replacement is also super popular with our Academy members – if you don’t know what this is, it’s an abbreviated cue to send a longer message template.

For example, any time you type “omw,” it will automatically change to “On my way!” before your eyes. You might want to create “nc” as a new customer template, in addition to many more. 

The same sort of overwhelm applies to checking emails – this can be stressful, especially if you’re anticipating bad news; but you’ll check them while you’re ordering coffee, driving, and during the most inappropriate times. We like to say in the Academy; stress makes good people do average things. So how do you fix that one? It’s actually really easy.

Only check emails when you can write back!

Otherwise, what’s the point? The key to crushing the negativity and changing your feelings and perception around the phone is upgrading your systems and processes. 

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you – the phone is hands down the most valuable tool in your toolkit. 


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