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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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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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