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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

                                More by this author

                                9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

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                                Last Updated on August 16, 2019

                                15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

                                15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

                                Once you have embarked on your professional life, whether it is after college or high school, you will be making a transition to the workplace. If possible, it is good to find an employer that is flexible. In other words, one that possesses a culture that is diverse and tailors to the needs of its employees as a bottom line.

                                But, even if you don’t land your dream job right away, there are many ways to improve your experiences within the workplace as you climb the career ladder.

                                In the subsequent sections will be looking over ways to engage your relationships at work, including 15 ways to effectively approach interpersonal relationships at the workplace.

                                1. Open Up Cautiously

                                Depending on if its a startup, a small business, enterprise or corporation it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.

                                Be mindful of how much you open up about yourself, specifically regarding your personal life. You do not want to give the wrong impression, so be careful how much or what details you divulge about being in a relationship or having children.

                                You have to reach a certain comfort level and rapport with the rest of the staff to be able to engage in transparent conversations. A good general guideline is to stick to small talk.

                                2. Observe Your Surroundings

                                There will be times when we are summoned to have a leadership role or to undertake a project to lead a team.

                                Try not to be too bold or overcompensate at every turn when there is a meeting or an interaction among other staff or employees. The last thing you want to do is to be the person who wants to monopolize every conversation and every interaction.

                                Be a passive observer at first, and more often than not, you will learn a lot by letting others talk a lot about themselves.

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                                3. Listen Actively

                                It may seem redundant, but it is essential to practice the art of really listening to the other person.

                                Developing interpersonal skills and connections with others at work comes down to listening. It is not just paraphrasing what your superiors or colleagues are trying to communicate; it is about understanding what is at the core and reading between the lines.

                                Phrases like “I can see what you are saying” or “I can acknowledge your insight” are just some examples. Learn to empathize and relate with people with whom you have a genuine connection.

                                4. Consolidate All Feedback

                                When you learn to listen to others and to allow them to finish their thoughts you are on your way to be being a great communicator.

                                One of the toughest tasks to accomplish is to include everyone’s voice. Don’t rely on shout-outs or trying to come up with the best answer. Including everyone’s voice is about listening to all suggestions and putting together an entire picture. When everyone feels part of the process there is great cohesion.

                                5. Never Make Sweeping Judgements

                                As person and a human being with compassion never make any assumptions about anyone.

                                Just because they have a certain skin color, clothes or physical features, never make stereotypical or generalizations about anyone.

                                6. Keep Emotions in Check

                                Work-related stress is something we all have to deal with at some point or another. Whether you work in the public or private sector you will encounter stressors or stressful co-workers. In this case, it is good to keep open the lines of communications.

                                Always ask to clarify how a person feels and where they are coming from. It is better to entertain these conversations before they make a person lash out or have a negative reaction. Ask to speak privately and get feedback. When you do this it really shows you care about what your role is and that you are a true professional.

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                                7. Give Help to Others

                                Having compassion and empathy for others is a noble attitude to practice.

                                Though, do be careful about how much you want to get involved with colleagues at the office; it could jeopardize the nature of your work relationship and the roles you both have.

                                It’s best to separate the personal from the professional and lend a hand by using your best judgement.

                                8. Broaden Your Horizons

                                Once you have worked in a company or an organization, things can get repetitive and dull. Sometimes we need to remember that we are human and need to fulfill certain responsibilities.

                                Often we want to try to change things by introducing our best abilities or perhaps our inventions, but we need to be realistic. Change does not happen overnight, rather it is a long process.

                                Step back and take a look at the big picture, and, put all your cards on the table to get perspective. Sometimes we approach situations in life from the wrong point-of-view.

                                9. Be Optimistic

                                This is probably one you have heard time and time again.

                                When we suggest to have a positive attitude it does not mean to fake it until you make it, nor to conceal your feelings. This is not the case in this situation. Overall, you want to try to be authentic in how you are feeling, because life will throw curve balls that are beyond our control.

                                10. Be Sensitive to Cultural Norms

                                Whenever you are around other people within a professional workspace, do not make assumptions in trying to figure people out in an instant.

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                                Some cultures discourage physical contact, while others may be inviting. Always be courteous, respectful and ask questions. It will not only make you more aware of others’ needs, but show that you are considerate of the differences.

                                You do not want to get off on the wrong foot by being too friendly or too touchy. Just observe how people respond to your approach and let them lead the way of what is a safe practice to meet and greet the first time around.

                                11. Show Professionalism

                                How you interact and carry yourself around others will be the difference between a job promotion or losing your job. No matter what, always respectful and professional towards others.

                                You will have an opportunities in life and at work, so showcase an outpouring of great and positive energy in the face of adversity.

                                12. Get Involved with Activities

                                When you are part of a company, there are often opportunities for organized activities outside of the office space.

                                Sometimes it is worth exploring uncharted terrain and to get to know people in a different environment. Plus, you will have an opportunity to be seeing in a different light.

                                Even though you are off the clock, keep your professional tenure and set boundaries. You want to be vulnerable, but not put yourself in a comprising position. Use your intuition and common sense to evaluate these situations.

                                13. Get to Know Your Company

                                With your smartphone or your laptop, you have at your fingertips a mine of information online. Just as you would do before a job interview, conduct ample research to get familiarized with what your company does and how its branding is perceived via the media or social networks.

                                Rather than just focusing on doing your job and fulfilling the duties, see what the business is up to. It is fundamental to really know what organization you belong to. Get educated on what other ventures they are involved with as well as the ones that you are directly in the know about.

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                                14. Learn to Problem Solve

                                Problem solving is going to be a skill you will acquire with experience and by making mistakes. Furthermore, not only will you make mistakes but you will likely also sometimes fail. This is okay and is part of the natural swing of things!

                                Learn to take responsibility for your actions and decisions. At the same time, do not blame others for coming up short. When you come forward with the truth and responsibility, your supervisors or superiors will take notice of your authenticity.

                                One of the greatest gifts in life is fail and once you experience you start to get a different perspective on how to move forward at the job.

                                15. Do Some Prospecting

                                If you have coding, computer, language or other beneficial skills, be sure to pitch these at the right time.

                                When you start out new at a company it is best not to show all your cards. It is like poker: don’t let others see if you believe you have the upper hand. Take time to get familiarized with your company and organization before promoting your outside skillset.

                                You will know when to put forward your amazing talents, so proceed with caution.

                                Conclusion

                                Learning to refine your interpersonal skills is a lifelong process. In time, you will also became more effective and skillful after accumulating work-related experiences.

                                Exert humility, understanding, compassion, and mindfulness and the rewards will come!

                                Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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