For any small business that deals with customers, their service and support standards are the hardest to maintain. With the rest of the business to run, your customers can often go forgotten or the service you give them substandard. Of course, most companies can?t afford a dedicated staff member, in their early days. This means that creative solutions have to be found to get your customers served.
- Automated Support Desks/Peer Support
For questions that are regularly asked or that are easy to predict, you can solve the problem of customer contact very easily. Using a software solution to build an automated service desk into your site allows your customers to search for their problem. This requires some work to get running, but once it?s up, you can just keep updating it as you get asked new questions. It?s worth the initial set up here, simply to avoid having to answer the same questions over and over again.
You can also set up a peer support system. This is a way for your customers to solve problems together and get answers from each other. Once you?ve built up enough of a customer base, you can have nearly all of your customer services handled this way. To get people interested, use rewards such as discounts to incentivise helping. It might cost you a bit of profit, but it will still be cheaper than hiring someone.
- Mail And Emails
With a mail forwarding address, you can have your regular correspondence come to you, and your service mail sent to another address. This saves you time sorting through your mail and will give you a specific day each week to sort out your mail. Having a forwarding address will also make you look more professional, as the customers will only see a business address.
With modern technology, you can have your emails handled by an automated system. You will set up the system to recognize various terms so that it can reply to customers with relevant support. If they can?t recognize anything in the email, it will get sent directly to you for sorting. This can eliminate repeat questions altogether, by giving people the answer automatically. For a more personal approach, you can outsource your emails to another company. Similarly to an automated system, any emails that they can?t deal with will be sent back. But, the chance of them not being able to help is much lower than the chance the automated system will fail.
- Call Handling
Much like your emails, you can have your calls handled by an external organization. Some companies can handle your payments for you so that customers can talk to them about billing issues. You will give them a detailed document outlining your company?s policies. They will use the document to answer the questions they can. Any questions they can?t answer will, unfortunately, come back to you. Despite this, most of the calls you receive can be handled for you, which will save you a great deal of time.
Ultimately, you will still have to do some of the work, but you can greatly reduce your current workload. Simply having a code of practice for your customer service will make a difference, but to go the extra mile, you need to do some research.