To potential clients, that is. (I promise I’m not trying to pry into your personal life!) I made the decision to include my phone number on my studio/private practice website last spring when I was really trying to grow my business, and now am going back and forth about removing it.
Here’s the thing: I really dislike talking on the phone. I’m an email gal all the way, especially when it comes to interacting with new people. But I understand that a parent might want to talk voice-to-voice with a potential music therapist or music instructor, which is why I posted my phone number in the first place. And it worked.
But now that my studio is full with a long waiting list to boot, the phone calls from potential clients are starting to wear on me. Instead of answering a call from an unfamiliar number, I let it go to voice mail instead. As I type this blog post, I have at least 10 voice mail messages waiting for my attention and response. Terrible, I know!
Before I take my phone number down, I thought I’d ask your opinion. Do you post yours? And if so, is it a dedicated business number or your personal number? Help!
I feel you Rachel. When I moved to private practice I actually created two business cards, one with my contact number and one without. I share the one without the number to potential client families/contracts and folks with general inquiries about music therapy. The one with the number is for current client families/contracts and colleagues only. On my website, I only list my email as a contact. By doing this I have cut down on phone time immensely and, more importantly, streamlined those potential client families/contracts who are REALLY interested in my services. Phone tag is a frustrating thing and, in my opinion, a monetary loss. Just this Fall, I was contact via email about a new contract and got it up and running in one week! Ultimately though, it comes down to what is best for YOU. ;)
Thanks for your input, Bonnie! I’ve had lots of success using email alone as well…time to cut the phone cord, I think! ;)
I would definitely use a dedicated business line and not my home phone. I don’t have a website anywhere developed as yours, but I think I would lean toward not including it if I was in your shoes. It sounds like it’s time to start sub-contracting or to think about the long term picture of hiring someone to help with your waiting list!
That has definitely been a thought in the back of my mind, Kathy. We’ll see…maybe someday!
I am on the same fence Rachel. I dislike the phone and would rather text or email, as it is just quicker for me to do so (plus, you can say what you need without getting interrupted), however, as strange as this is, Bloomington-Normal, a whole 60 miles from you, is strangely phone happy! I get more phone calls than email, even after saying, “email me”. So, for me right now, my phone number is posted. When I find that I am finally in a town that accepts the modern age, I will no doubt take it down (I really don’t like the solicitation calls I get).
BTW, I will ONLY post my business phone. My clients/perspectives and public do not have my physical address or my home phone number. Until I acquire studio space outside of the home its Work phone and PO Box :)
I’ve been surprised at how phone-happy Springfield is, as well! Craziness! Hopefully both our cities will get with the program ASAP ;)
Hey Rachel, post your number. We do to a direct business line. If you remove it your flow of students could dry up. Better to have the interaction and to manage the flow than for the phone to never ring…..
The only problem with having such an influx of calls is that I keep having to say no, and I hate doing so. For some reason, it’s much easier via email!
I have a google voice number in the area code where I live. That google voice number is linked to my cell, so I can make and receive calls under that number. It has worked very well for me.
I have wondered about Google voice — maybe I will check that out. Thanks Emily!
I’ve been there for sure.
I definitely have a dedicated business line and even when I taught at home I had a dedicated business line.
I do post my phone number on my studio site and it’s in the phone book.
Before email days I had several voicemail boxes on my business phone.
One for info, one for direct contact with Susan, one for teacher programs.
The info box offered to send out information packages (which I don’t do now because of websites) and I would send out a ton of info packages every week. Only a few would ever call back once they saw the price.:)
Now, I still have a couple of voicemail boxes but very few people call anymore, they are emailing like crazy.
It took me about 4 years to really get the hang of emailing as “the” form of communication. I have huge comfort on the phone and now I have also developed comfort with email.
All the best to you whatever you decide! Maybe just listing your phone number February-June and then remove it the rest of the year…:)
Very impressive setup, Susan!
That’s an interesting idea, Susan…maybe I will try that! Of course, only if my waiting list is getting short at that point :)
I’m with you. Not a phone talker. at. all.
Never have been, and never will be! My husband, on the other hand…you’d think he and his friends were a bunch of teenage girls! Hilarious.
I will NEVER post my phone number or my address. I (like you) have 60 current students and a waiting list so long I have quit counting. I have put a message on my business phone that basically says “Hi this is Kids Sing Studio. If you are calling to cancel a lesson please do so through the Music Teachers Helper program or send me a text or a e-mail. If you are calling to be put on my waiting list please complete the registration form on my website. If you are calling with questions about Music Therapy or lessons at Kids Sing Studio please send me a e-mail. You can visit my website http://www.kidssingstudio.com for all of the information you might need.”
I have a family and I am running a huge business out of my home. I do not have time to talk on the phone. I am not worried about the flow of students drying up because my reputation stands for itself and there are always more students looking for a open time slot. I have almost trained all of my students to e-mail or text before they call me. My phone is on the piano during lessons and I am able to accept text messages about a student running late, canceling a lesson, etc. I have had to TRAIN my students and their parents to communicate this way with me.
Geez–who would have thought it would come to this—but this is just the truth! Glad I read this post this is a fun topic!
Lisa, I knew I could count on you for a blunt and honest perspective! My current families have definitely caught on that I am an email and text person, and rarely call me. I also keep my phone on the piano during lessons so that I can see those texts from parents and older students – there are always plenty of them. Thanks for the input…I’m off to remove my phone number from my studio website ;)
I had the same problem! I decided to add a separate cell to our family cell phone plan. It’s only 10 a month and allows me to turn off he ringer at 6pm and be ‘away’ from work ! it’s really been a good idea for my studio, but of course I still have to call them all back.. (ps I have thought about including my email in my vm message!)
Maybe I should include my email in my voicemail message, too. Thanks for the idea! Glad you found something that is working for you :)
I use Google Voice (like Emily), and it works very well for my purposes. It allows you to send calls straight to VM so you can actually disconnect during non-work hours. I have found that once the contact is established, email is the best means of communication: convenient for all parties, ability to relay large amounts of info, and provides a virtual paper trail!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately too! I am not a phone person AT ALL either! However, because I am trying to build my piano studio after moving to a new town, I want people to be able to contact me in the way they are most comfortable. Once my studio is full, I will probably take my phone number down from my website.