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Ask The Entrepreneurs: 14 Ways to Never Slack on Customer Service

Ask The Entrepreneurs: 14 Ways to Never Slack on Customer Service

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

How do you stay on top of customer service, no matter how busy you get?

1. Make FuseDesk a Feature

    My teams use FuseDesk to handle incoming requests, assign cases and track case history. The app links directly to an Infusionsoft account so we don’t spend a lot of extra time trying to remember who is emailing for support, what they bought and when it was shipped. It’s all integrated making it easy to send a template response. The system cut our response time dramatically!

    Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

    2. HelpScout Helps Out

      We use HelpScout to provide a technical help desk for students of our online school. To them it means simply being able to request help by email — no logging into a dashboard to see updates or followups. For us, it means we can provide greater personalized support, really get to know students and manage all requests in one place — no cluttering up inboxes, yet still providing that personal touch.

      Lea Woodward, Startup Training School

      3. Take It to Twitter

        No matter what’s going on, our team is always on Twitter — and so are most of our users/readers. They resort to it if there’s any trouble and it gives us an opportunity to answer back, help out, and throw in some personality.

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        Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

         

        4. Segmented Customer Support

          Providing customer service throughout the day will only break up your day and take focus away from the stuff that’s making you busy. Instead, take an hour in the morning and an hour before you finish for the day to close out all customer service requests. By doing this, it becomes a game, as you work diligently to finish in that specific time slot you have allocated for customer support.

          Todd Garland, BuySellAds.com

          5. Real Time With Olark

            Olark

            gives us instant access to our customers and since users want to chat right away, it’s a good way to force us to talk with them and remember that they are the most important part of the business.

            Wade Foster, Zapier

             

            6. It’s a Team Effort

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              For many businesses, customer service may be easily shared among all members of the organization. Addressing customers’ needs is something no one should be too senior to do, and spreading the load will ensure that no customer feedback goes unaddressed. It’s a model worth trying out if you’re overburdened with customer requests.

              Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

               

              7. Figure It Out Face to Face

                Establishing genuine relationships with clients needs to be a top priority for all leaders. Yes, this means taking time out of your “busy” schedule and really asking them for feedback over coffee, drinks or dinner. You should likewise create opportunities for group client engagement. Results from a facilitated focus group at my company produced the “pivot” that we now credit for our success.

                Christopher Kelly, Sentry Centers

                8. Give Access to Real People

                  As long as someone human has heard a concern and has made it clear that it will be addressed, most customers can be a little flexible about how long it takes to fix an issue. But the human touch is key to getting that room to work from your customers — if they feel like they haven’t been heard, they’re going to keep hammering until they get a response.

                  Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

                   

                  9. If It’s So Important, Create a System

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                    If customer service is truly a top priority for you, then you should have systems in place to ensure quality control. Record and review all client interactions with your employees so they can constantly improve, and hold each employee accountable for customer service standards.

                    Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk

                     

                    10. Stay Steps Ahead

                      Always be prepared and be a few steps ahead of your client to guide them in the right direction. With a team that’s great at project management and account management, you can seamlessly stay in contact with clients, updating them and building their trust.

                      Bobby Emamian, Prolific Interactive

                       

                      11. Create a Process Checklist

                        Documenting procedures and processes are key for us. We have developed a checklist called “The Customer Experience” in our office. This makes us more in-tune to consistently deliver our vision for how a customer should feel after doing business with us, no matter how busy we get. We make sure every client we have has experienced each step of the checklist before proceeding further in the relationship and project.

                        Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations

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                        12. Remember Their Importance

                          Ultimately, our businesses exist to serve our existing customers, not to create products or to attract new customers. Both of the latter two items are important, but not the most important. By reminding yourself of your priorities, it makes it easier to set aside the time to serve them well.

                          Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®

                           

                          13. Keep Up Communication

                            It’s not so much important what you say, but how often you say it. Customers, clients, and people in general love to feel that you are aware of their presence. Providing good customer service isn’t all about being pleasant, but also just communicating often and allowing your clients to feel validated. So whether it’s staying on top of emails or phone calls, make sure you respond often and quickly.

                            Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr

                            14. Make It Natural

                              Build a team that has natural customer service skills. Personally, I don’t have to get as involved with customer relations because my team is awesome and cares about each of our clients.

                              John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

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                                1 What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success) 2 11 Tips on How to Resolve (Almost) Any Conflict in the Workplace 3 Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It) 4 How to Run an Effective Meeting: 10 Simple Ways 5 10 Habits Of People Who Are Highly Successful At Work

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                                Last Updated on May 20, 2020

                                What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

                                What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

                                Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

                                These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

                                What Are Analytical Skills?

                                According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

                                “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

                                Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

                                Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

                                Visualization

                                Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

                                Critical Thinking

                                Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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                                As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

                                Computing

                                Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

                                In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

                                Problem-Solving

                                Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

                                Resource Management

                                Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

                                For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

                                Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

                                For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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                                The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

                                Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

                                There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

                                For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

                                If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

                                What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

                                Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

                                6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

                                There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

                                Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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                                But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

                                Below are a few strategies to get you started:

                                1. Ideate Business Ideas

                                Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

                                You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

                                2. Leverage Analytical Tools

                                Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

                                3. Have a Personal Learning Library

                                Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

                                Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

                                For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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                                4. Participate in Online Communities

                                The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

                                For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

                                5. Seek Mental Stimulation

                                To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

                                6. Keep a Personal Journal

                                Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

                                Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

                                Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

                                Bottom Line

                                As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

                                More Success Skillset

                                Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
                                [2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
                                [3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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