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!
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.
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.
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.
5. Real Time With OlarkOlark
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.
6. It’s a Team Effort
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.
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.
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.
9. If It’s So Important, Create a System
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.