Customer service can turn into a major time suck. Before you know it, you don’t have enough time to actually create products or services. But here are a few hacks to lessen the load.
When you add up the amount of time you’ve spent on customer service this year, it can feel like a headache. How can you save time on dealing with clients while still maintaining a successful relationship?
- Create a help center. A frequently-asked-question (FAQ) page is great, but it may not be hefty enough to handle all your customer inquiries. Consider implementing a detailed help page that can offer a variety of answers to questions. Obviously, a help line and e-mail address need to be provided for specific support, but a well-organized help center can work wonders at tackling a variety of issues.
- Be up front about expectations. Your business process should be well-defined, and your rules should be in written. When clients sign on, immediately let them know your boundaries and process so that they aren’t wondering when they’ll hear from you next or what is or isn’t allowed. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, you can save a lot of hassle by sending a detailed shot list early on with a form for “must have” requests so that brides don’t feel the need to constantly be sending you Pinterest photos. Or, if you’re a software engineer, giving your clients a schedule and your regular office hours will help them understand when they’ll be hearing from you and that they shouldn’t call you for updates at 8:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. The more information you provide up front, the fewer questions clients will have later.
- Integrate your systems. Do you use one software for accounting, one for responding to e-mails, one for scheduling, and one for project management? Try to invest in a platform like Dubsado that can do many of those things in one platform. Spending time switching between software applications is a huge time waster—researchers call it the “switching cost” and say that you lose a whopping 20 or so minutes every time you need to switch between tasks. Also, if they fail to integrate properly, you’ll be constantly fixing mistakes. Having all that information in one place will help you stay focused and organized.
- Don’t fall down the social media rabbit hole. Social media is one of the marketing tools that can take up all day if you let it. Schedule out a small chunk of time each day—maybe 15 minutes—to respond to customer issues on social media. Anything that would take longer than that should be directed to your help line or help center. Facebook isn’t the place for complicated questions from customers.