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Should you give clients your mobile number?

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When it comes to being available to your clients, where should you draw the line? The AccountingWEB community didn’t hold back on the topic of boundaries.

12th Jun 2023
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While all accountants want to give their clients the best possible service, boundaries are key to any successful firm’s running. Yet, where do you draw the line?

This is something that user Beancounting recently posed to the Any Answers community, after considering whether to pass on their mobile phone number to clients deemed “top tier”.

“I have an office with a small team and don’t generally give out my mobile to clients as I think it would just encourage them to ring me instead of the office. But, I am thinking I should give my number to just my top tier clients,” Beancounting wrote, asking their fellow members whether they too had done the same.

Doubling up

In response, some said they had taken the leap and passed on their personal mobile number to their A-rated clients, with members such as kevinringer writing that it has worked well for them, with a few exceptions.

“It works well. However, on one rare occasion when I gave my mobile number out to a bookkeeper who urgently needed it, she gave it to her son. When he kept ringing the mobile I just ignored him until he got the message!” Southwestbeancounter added.

However, other users were less inclined to pass on their personal numbers, instead voting to invest in a burner in order to help keep their boundaries.

“Clients have my business mobile number. When appropriate I just divert it to the office number,” wrote AA regular Ruddles, with fellow user mbee1 adding: “We all have a business mobile so we can either answer it, divert it or ignore it.”

Lordofsums also had resorted to two phones, but noted how important it was to “leave the work phone – turn it off, whatever outside of normal hours.”

Embracing tech

While most had found that the extra phone offered that extra level of privacy, others had gone a step further and taken slightly more tech-savvy workarounds.

“I avoid handing out my number wherever possible and staff are told not to use their own mobiles to call clients – unless they use the firm’s VOIP app, that is,” Mr_awol wrote, with others also relying on the benefits of Voice over Internet capabilities.

“If I’m not logged on for business (our VOIP phones work through our laptops) then I’m in a meeting, driving or not working. In other words, I’m not going to answer work calls on my mobile other than from my team,” AccountingWEB contributor Della Hudson added.

Tuning out

Yet, as Lordofsums noted, it’s essential to keep in mind the need to delineate between work and rest. Mitch wrote: “The only business contacts I’ve given my mobile number to are my IT guy and BT. I would never give it to clients. They know the office hours are Mon–Fri 9am–5pm.

“It is amazing how much work you can get through in an evening if you can just ignore the phone,” Mitch concluded.

Do you pass out your mobile number to clients? Has this ever backfired or is it working as you hoped? Let us know in the comments section below.

Replies (4)

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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
12th Jun 2023 20:59

Dunno - I don't have a mobile.
(they are the work of Beelzibub)

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By Geoff56
13th Jun 2023 09:04

Although I do have an old pay-as-you-go phone, I rarely use it. It's a standing joke in the family.

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By Denhumholidays
13th Jun 2023 07:24

Though it sounds like the best thing to do, sometimes it has negative impact more so when some clients don't know the timings to call. Some may call even in odd hours just because they have one's direct mobile number. Personally, I have two line; office mobile that I rarely carry out of the office.

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Grace Heathfield
By Grace Mock
13th Jun 2023 10:02

I've always given mine out, but we are a 2 person practice so don't have an office behind us. I have had to be ruthless about not answering out of hours though. Generally it works well, although I did have one client call repeatedly on a Sunday morning, which I ignored with gritted teeth. He tried about 5 times before going away. I followed up on Monday and he apologised, so I think he got the message.

I can see it will be a big NO if you work in a large practice. So much easier to either have a work mobile that gets turned off, or just stick to the office phone.

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