Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Joys of Home Businesses: Phones

As most of you know, my family has two businesses out of our home. My dad has been building homes for about 30 years and developing land for about 15. L & C Wiley, Inc is very much a family run business with first Mom, and then us girls as we got old enough, doing the book work and many, many other odds and ends.

Four years ago Mom started a gift basket company, Forget-Me-Not Gift Baskets. I’m not much involved it that one anymore, because we are so busy with our other business and me with my signing and writing, but I help with it, too.

Most of my life I have answered the phone, “L & C Wiley, Incorporated.” (try saying that really fast…Ellensee Wiley…). Well, when we started getting calls for the gift basket company, things got a little complicated. For a while we tried, “L & C Wiley, Incorporated and Forget-Me-Not Gift Baskets, may I help you?” Now that is a mouthful and generally you’ve lost the person halfway through the L. So now I stick to saying in as professional of a voice as I can, “This is Amy, may I help you?” Often the person will respond, “Umm, is this….? uhhh….” And I just have to sit there and wait for the poor person to think of the name of the company they were trying to call, because if I try to help them out they just get more confused. “Gift baskets? Huh? No, I was calling a builder.”

But my favorite part of phones and having two businesses is our high tech transferring system. Mom’s computer is in the school room (the room name is a hold-over from our home schooling days) and it is directly above my office. So when I get a phone call for her, I say, “One moment, please.” put them on hold, and then, then I bang on the floor really hard with my heels! She hears and picks up the phone. “Hello, may I help you?” LOL

Then there is the whole deal with my Dad as my boss. Now most of our subcontractors have been working with us for many years and know that Lynn’s daughters do his office work. But some of them don’t know and most of our suppliers don’t know. So I have to try to figure out whether to call him Dad or Lynn when I’m making phone calls. Half the people can’t figure out what in the world the secretary’s dad has to do with anything and the other half wonder why I’m so rude as to call my dad by his first name.

Now with all this different stuff going on, it can be quite difficult to remember who I am. I dial and when they answer I say, “Hello. This is Amy with L &--” no wait, that’s not who I am for this call… “Er, this is Amy with Forg--” No! “Uh, this is Amy Wiley, I was, uh, calling to make an eye appointment…”


Shelley said...

Talk about confusing...maybe you need two separate phone lines, one for each business. Then the problem arises when they both ring at the same time...lol. Must get confusing after awhile!

Jezreel said...

ROFL I had a similar problem before. After I quit working with Shawn, I'd often pick up the phone and say "Central Metal..." which would be followed by a "Huh..? I thought I dialed your home number!" LOL Oh well, soon, Pep & I will have our own business to run... *tries to look cheerful*

purple_kangaroo said...

Too funny!

With the issue of calling suppliers, etc, I guess I always just said, "Hi, I'm Lynn Wiley's daughter and I was calling to . . . "

Wren said...

Hehe...Amy, this was hilarious! Now I know why you answer the phone that way!