4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Customer Service Experience
It used to be that businesses did not have much competition and didn’t have to put much effort to make sales. Now that opening a business has become an easier and more common thing, companies are finding that customer service experiences can differentiate them from their competitors.
It also used to be that if your customer service was bad, only the dissatisfied customer along with his/her circle would know. These days, customers can place a bad review anywhere on the internet. They will even go as far as write unthinkable things on your social media pages or posts.
If you’ve landed on this blog, you must be looking for ways to improve your customer service. Perhaps you’ve received bad customer reviews or maybe you’re finding that you’re losing customers – Don’t worry. Here are four simple ways to improve your customer service experience:
1. After sales support
If you think that customers are demanding before the sale, be prepared for after-sales demands. Customers feel that since they have purchased from you, they have the right to receive support for everything, including brushing their teeth. Okay, that’s an over exaggeration, but it’s still true that the quality of after-sales support determines whether you will get a repeat customer or not.
Here are some results from a customer service study
- “Fifty-eight percent of customer service teams view managing social media inquiries as their top challenge.
- Churn rate can increase by 15% if organisations fail to respond to customers on social media.
- Forty-five percent of customers share negative reviews on social media.
- Sixty-three percent of consumers read negative reviews on social media.
- And, 65% are likely to speak negatively about their customer service experience.”
After-sales support begins the moment your customer has made the decision to purchase and involves the following:
- A thank you note for their business
- Handling the safe delivery of goods
- Ensure that your customer has your contact details
- Adding your customer to your email list
- Checking up with your customer and offering additional products or services
2. Monitor your online presence
Some customers prefer to send their queries via social media, and they expect a prompt response. If you haven’t got a Social Media Manager handling your accounts, get one asap!
Your Social Media Manager should be someone with customer service experience and who manages their own social media presence well.
Provide customers with a feedback mechanism across your entire online presence. That way, your Social Media Manager can monitor and implement changes to address key issues when they arise.
3. Take care of your staff
A happy employee makes great customer support a possibility. Take care of your employees, and they will take care of you. It is Richard Branson who made this saying popular. He built Virgin on this principle, and to this day, the company is listed as one of the best to work for.
Here’s how to improve staff morale:
- Pay good incentives
- Train staff regularly
- Try to understand their point-of-view
- Involve them in key decisions
4. 24/7 Support
If possible, provide 24/7 support services. Many businesses have opted for this method and have seen great results.
In addition, allow your customers to find technical information such as articles, how to’s, news and more in one central place. Making this information available to customers will reduce the need for them to escalate queries.
Stop Doing Social Media Yourself and Grow Your Business
More than 460 small business owners, CEO’s and proprietors were asked how much time they spend managing their social media account. Here are the results:
- 63% spend 1-5 hours online
- The rest spend more than five hours
- Some spend as much as 21 hours a week or more
21 hours a week! That’s over half of a normal work-week. It’s no wonder that the number one gift every entrepreneur, small business owner or CEO asks for is more time. There’s got to be another way.
The amount of time spent on social media can be recovered if you outsource it to a Virtual Assistant. Outsourcing this task is not only beneficial but mandatory for anyone who is serious about growing their business.
How to work with a Virtual Assistant to manage your social media
Businesses have good intentions when creating their social media pages, but often these pages lack direction in content and structure. They’re not using a content posting schedule and therefore cannot measure the true benefits of their efforts.
A Virtual Assistant can help you to develop a content posting schedule for all your social media accounts. This schedule can include posting times, content that she will post, engagement received after posting and more. No longer do you have to wonder what the true effect of your posts are as she will manage that for you.
“Remember that building an audience takes time.”
I am always bewildered by entrepreneurs who expect their social media accounts to grow overnight. Building a social media presence takes time, and hiring a short-term freelancer on Fiverr will not work. Purchasing likes on the web will not help either. All you will get is a bunch of ghost followers who don’t engage with your content. You’ve got to build your audience organically.
Before you hand over your social media accounts to a Virtual Assistant, make sure you outline the best practices. Best practices include:
- How often you want posts to go live
- If she should respond to comments
- The topics that should be frequently explored
- The topics that are off limits
- How often you should get draft posts sent to you for review
- Which automated tool you will use to publish posts (Hootsuite, Buffer or the internal scheduling tool)
Other ways to use a Virtual Assistant to manage your social media
A Virtual Assistant is also useful to engage with your audience’s comments and queries. Often, people leave ‘angry’ comments on social media due to its public nature and therefore impact, so you’ve got to keep on top of that to diffuse situations. Your Virtual Assistant can schedule to receive email notifications for comments, direct messages and tags. She can then follow those notifications to respond to them. Not everyone is aware of customer service etiquette, so have a template ready for the following situations:
- General query
Here’s a typical response to a complaint:
We sincerely apologise for the bad service you have experienced. Please give us your details in a direct message and we will contact you to solve this issue. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will solve this issue with a matter of urgency. Kind Regards. Admin
These templates will ensure that your Virtual Assistant will not get involved in an argument on any of your social media accounts.
When it comes to finding out who’s talking about your company, a Virtual Assistant can do this too. She can use Tweetdeck, Google Alerts or Mention.net to do this easily.
Finally, it is advised to use a password sharing tool such as LastPass to share social media passwords securely with your Virtual Assistant.
4 Signs that Show You Need to Get Rid of Your Office Assistant
Entrepreneurs generally hire Office Assistants as one of their first employees. This is because as their business grows, they realise that they need someone to help with the workload. Office Assistants are a perfect choice because these employees can do it all. From running your errands to filing your documents, there is not much that’s off the charts for these dynamic workers.
Nonetheless, there are certain instances when Office Assistants are no longer relevant and one may need to end the relationship. Here are times when an Office Assistant may not be the best choice for your business:
1. You have a ‘shoestring’ budget
If you’re really struggling to get your business off the ground or you’re a startup that needs to save on costs, don’t hire an Office Assistant. Hire a Virtual Assistant instead. In so doing, you get the same or even better quality of work without having to worry about paying for office space, hardware and software to get her going. You also don’t have to worry about employee benefits such as pension funds, travel allowances and medical funds.
In addition, you only pay for the hours worked. This way, you avoid unproductive employees.
The exception to this rule would be if you really need someone at your premises to pack goods or ship certain items. In that case, an Assistant is necessary, but if you can do everything virtually, that will save your business on employee costs.
2. You need a flexible employee
Entrepreneurs are super busy, and I’m sure you are too. As expected, there may be times when you need some urgent work done and can’t call on your Office Assistant because she only works set hours.
Virtual assistants offer that flexibility. You can hire one when you need and as you need her.
3. You like your space
Introverts are known to appreciate their space, but there are also other personality types that enjoy working on their own. If you prefer your own space and the thought of sharing an office frustrates you, it is a sign that you must get rid of your Office Assistant and opt for a Virtual Assistant instead.
4. You’re making losses
Granted, an Assistant is not meant to generate sales, but their presence should lighten up your workload and give you more time to close more leads. If your Assistant has become more of a liability than an asset, it may be time to let her go.
5 Tell-tale signs it’s time to hire a Virtual Assistant
So, you think you don’t need a Virtual Assistant? Take the quiz to find out:
- Whether you need a Virtual Assistant
- The areas for which your unique business requires a Virtual Assistant
In our previous blog post we discussed how you can become a great entrepreneur by hiring a Virtual Assistant, but today, let’s look at situations that require these services.
1) You hardly get through your to-do list
If you’re a business owner failing to get through your daily tasks and can’t find important information in all the clutter, you require a Virtual Assistant. Your Virtual Assistant can work on an hourly basis so that you can control your costs.
To help your assistant to best manage your schedule, give her a daily task list. For example:
- Check my emails to see if there are customer queries
- Call 20 prospects to see if they are interested in my product
- Write one blog
Having a clear list of tasks will help your assistant to have a better idea of how they should utilise their time. Also, request your assistant to send a daily report of all work done for the day. This will help you to keep track of which tasks have been completed and which are still in progress – great method to avoid misunderstandings.
2) You spend less time with family and more at work
Granted, entrepreneurship is a demanding journey, but you should not refuse precious moments with family and friends if you don’t have to. Having a Virtual Assistant can help free your time so that you can focus on more important things in life, like family and friends. You may also use the free time to focus on acquiring clients rather than doing admin work.
3) Admin annoys the living daylights out of you
There are only a select few people in the world who enjoy admin, Virtual Assistants are some of them. If you hate admin and would rather spend your time doing something else, you need a Virtual Assistant.
4) You travel a lot and need someone to hold down the fort while you’re gone
Being an entrepreneur means that you probably attend out of town meetings. When this happens, you need someone you can trust to handle your office work while you’re gone. A Virtual Assistant is perfect for this. He/she can handle your work remotely at an affordable cost so that you don’t have to get back to a huge pile of work.
5) You can’t afford a full-time traditional employee
If you really need help but you can’t afford a full-time employee, a Virtual Assistant may work for you. Virtual Assistants are usually freelancers, stay-at-home parents and retirees who still have the skills to offer, but prefer working flexible hours. You can leverage your time and money by hiring one.
If you’re not sure where to start, give us a call!