Lately I have gotten clients that are frustrated that I did not answer their calls. We participated in a summer program through the workforce that got students with disabilities their first work experience through a sort of on site training program. For the first week with a trainee I specifically ignored my phone calls during their shift so I could give them my focus whenever they needed it which sometimes resulted in several voicemails from a client that I then responded to as soon as they left for the day, but the client was noticeably annoyed in each voicemail or in their voice when I returned the call since it was clear they expected immediate/faster responses. At other times I also had clients that I did answer their calls, but was not able to check the message they had just sent or carve out an immediate 20-40 minute time slot to discuss with them and was met with frustrations. Both of these kinds of interactions led me to believe that a glimpse into my life might be helpful….
I would love to be able to answer every call, text, email, and message immediately and get immediate quotes to people, but I cannot because if I did I’d either be woefully over staffed or about to go under. Even if I am free I can only respond to one method/message at a time, but receive them from at least 6 sources. Unless it’s crazy early in the morning (which I’m probably sleeping) or way late at night (also should be sleeping, but probably am not) I’m not sitting around awaiting your message. Depending on the time and day I’m probably working on an order which could be mixing a batter, pouring a cake, manning the oven, coloring icing, icing something, carving a cake, piping something, boxing something, writing an order up, answering another message, printing something, carrying something, taking pictures, or any other of the numerous tasks that go into creating your or anyone else’s order. Sometimes if you call I can stop in the middle and calculate a quote, or check on your order, or brainstorm with you, or take your payment – often I can’t or better do it fast so the icing doesn’t dry or the cake for that matter, or my items don’t burn in the oven, etc.
Why do I answer the phone when I’m busy? I’m always busy until I leave for the day and go home with my toddler where I often work on all those things that don’t have to be done at the shop like your emails and messages. I also answer the phone because it takes longer to listen to your voicemail and call back to tell you to send me the image/servings number so I can get you the quote you desire than to answer and tell you so. I also answer because I’m expecting a pickup or wedding couple for a consultation who may need to update me on their status or need directions. It could also be someone about a delivery I have that day that needs some information or it could be someone that wants to use me as a brainstorming backboard for an hour – I have no idea until I answer. Also just because I answered to tell you to send your image does not mean I will be looking at it anytime soon because I’m in the middle of someone’s order that needs to be finished. You’d want me to be focusing on your order when the time comes to decorate it, right? If you send me 6 text messages and I haven’t responded and it’s been like an hour or less I’m busy and when you call to see why I haven’t responded I’m going to tell you so. I might stop what I’m doing if possible and get you that quote even though it now removes my notifications for everyone else’s email or text message making it more likely that they might get forgotten a little longer than necessary, but I know if I don’t you’ll probably keep at it until I do so, so I just add a small annoyance charge and give you your quote. This is more likely to happen on say the weekend when I’ve got everyone coming in for pickups, consulting, and I’m prepping to go on a delivery or am on a delivery. Or the end of the week when I’m trying to finish all the orders that go out. Just because someone waited till the last minute to order does not mean it’s my crisis and must ignore other clients to get that quote done asap so I can be told I’m too expensive and they’ll keep shopping till they realize everyone else is booked or can’t do that quality and either settle or come back and want to place the order even more last minute than it was before …
Thank you for taking time to peer into our life as a small business owner operator!