Good Comms – a business essential

Apologies dear reader, for the dearth of posts from me recently. Life has been very hectic, and I will be catching up on posts soon!

One of the most essential things to discuss in setting up a complementary medicine business/practice is communications. Very few complimentary therapists I have known over the last 10 years or so get this right. Some are quite hard to contact, and that doesn’t make for getting a good healthy base of patients. So how does my set up work? I’ll explain…

… But first, a problem that also plagues self-employed people: being at everyone’s beck and call at all hours. So a goal is to be able to press the ‘off’ switch and be un-contactable before 8AM and after 8PM.
Mobile phone: I have a separate phone/number for the business. This is essential as it means I can switch ‘off’ and only have the business phone with my when I say I’ll be contactable. A goal is to not give any clients my personal mobile number – boundaries need to be maintained.

Sipgate logoThe same thought applies to my landline. It’s a family phone number, and inappropriate for patients to ring up on it. Also, we often call screen via an answerphone due to the high volume of nuisance calls. So what to do for the business? At this stage, I can’t justify spending £15 a month with BT for a hardwired landline, with expensive calls on top of that. So I use a company called SIPGate – these guys provide IP phone services. I use a Cisco Systems IP Phone connected to SIPGate to make and receive my calls on, and they give me a local landline number for free, and the outgoing calls are all pay as you go. The IP phone is right next to our normal home phone, and the rest of the household knows that if that phone rings, to answer it, and to answer it with my business name. And the best thing? Flick one switch and it goes off and falls back to SIPGate’s answering service – and messages get emailed to me.

I self-host my email and my website, which I also built. Control over my online presence is very important.
All in all, this means that from day 1, I could put separate contact information on my business cards, leaflets, etc, and know that I would have communication on my terms only, but safe in the knowledge that things were robust and would work effectively.

I’ll write about what I’m doing with Social Media another time…

Categories: The Journey

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