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5 Most Integral Customer Service Tools Every Start-up Needs to Have

5 Most Integral Customer Service Tools Every Start-up Needs to Have

Lack of adequate tools can without a doubt limit your productiveness and service set up, regardless of the enterprise that you’re running. If you are a startup, in particular, there is no way your growth can be possible if you do not consider customer service in the right way.

Not only does having the right tools with you afford you the chance to reach more customers, it also significantly reduces the frustration and friction of your customer service rep’s day-to-day job. This way, the time and energy spent on doing things manually can be dedicated to other ventures including expanding your business and improving your service delivery.

That said, there isn’t a shortage of service tools either. If anything, they have been a proliferation of such tools especially in the advent of the Software-as-a-Service age. Which, of course, implies a couple of things – the main one being that it can be quite a challenge deciding the tools that you really need, and those that you can do without.

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Well, here’s a quick primer to the five most integral customer service tools every startup needs to have.

1. Help Desk/Ticket Software Tools

Despite the tremendous steps that we have taken in developing conversational technology, sending emails is still regarded as one of the most utilized support channels today.

Unlike other contact methods, using emails doesn’t compel your customers to wait in a physical queue as they await a response from your rep. They will simply shoot them a question and keep checking their mail for a reply a few minutes, hours or days later. And apart from being one of the cheapest forms of customer service, it also considerably reduces employee idle time, especially in a busy enterprise.

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The biggest downside, however, is that it hardly allows instant support. Something that would make a huge difference particularly in an online business set up. That said, incorporating a ticket or helpdesk software like HelpRace to your service set up can turn this around as far as handling massive email requests and questions goes.

2. A Call Center/Telephone Software

A majority of your customers will prefer an immediate answer to their concerns as compared to waiting for a reply to their email inquiry. Making a phone call is one of most personal of customer service channels and, naturally, we all instinctively reach for our phones whenever we need an instant reply/answer to something. Companies with a well-structured and excellent voice customer service department are often able to keep their clients longer than those with a barely-functional one.

That being said, maintaining an above-average call service center can be quite expensive and demanding. And the best way of mitigating this is by queueing and employing peak demand routing with the aid of a call center service tool such as G2Crowd.

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3. Survey Tools

Measuring and constantly analyzing your company’s service/product quality is arguably one of the best ways of achieving continuous development in your firm. It’s only by comparing to previous results that you can improve or tweak your company’s performance for the better.

Fortunately, though, you no longer have to administer survey questions manually via annoying email queries. Adopting one of the many survey service tools – such as Capterra– can save you a bulk of the valuable time that would otherwise be spent on filtering useful emails from spam replies.

4. Live Chat Software

The idea behind live chat software service tools is forged from blending the marketing potential of making live calls and the flexibility of using emails. Implementing a live chat, therefore, helps avoid the conventional tradeoff between quality and efficiency.

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Your agent can multitask and handle several customers at-a-go, while at the same time allowing an instant type of contact. Not only does this significantly improve your service delivery score, but also enables your agents to handle a bigger volume of requests and inquiries within a short timeframe.

What’s more, there are some live chat software tools that allow agents to open live chats with up to 10 to 12 clients simultaneously.

5. Social Media Service Tools

We can’t deny the impact of social media platforms in our lives today – in a day and age where almost everyone owns a smartphone. Having a profile on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is one of the most practical ways of expanding your customer reach to a greater audience in a cheap, effortless way.

Given the number of hours people spend online, most of your potential customers will prefer to relay their inquiries/complaints via your ‘inbox’ rather than call your reps or visit your official website. This, thus, makes social service an integral part of any modern business. And with a good tool such as AlternativeTo, you can manage several of your company’s social media pages across multiple platforms almost fluidly.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via c2.staticflickr.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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