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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 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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