As your business gets busier, have you found it difficult to keep up with everything?
Sometimes things start to slip, not intentionally, but simply because you’re so slammed and your time really is finite! Growing businesses often reach an awkward point, where it’s still the founder taking care of most things, as there isn’t yet anyone else to share the load.
One common casualty that you really can’t afford to mess with is your customer care and/or helpdesk experience. It’s vitally important that you maintain timely, appropriate responses and ensure that customer needs are met.
You’ve probably had an experience like this yourself. You need help with something so you send a query through the company helpdesk. You wait. And wait. And wait. With no response appearing, perhaps you try again, or, perhaps you decide that the company obviously has poor customer service and you’re not going to waste your time.
This is exactly the situation you don’t want your own business to fall into! The thing is, when you’re busy, it’s virtually impossible to take care of everything yourself. This is where hiring a virtual assistant can make an important impact.
Here’s how a virtual assistant can help you to lift your customer care and helpdesk game:
Acting as a customer service representative
When you’ve got a goal to have excellent customer service, as a general rule, the quicker you’re able to respond, the better. In our digital, instant-everything world, expectations around customer service responsiveness have only increased with modern technology.
Here’s some food for thought:
- 41% of customers say they expect an email response within 6 hours (source)
- 47% expect a response to a social media post or message within an hour (source)
- 72% who complain via Twitter expect a response within an hour (source).
All of this can seem quite daunting to the busy founder who is trying to be all things to all people! An hour?! Who can meet that expectation every time?
"When customer service becomes public it becomes a spectator sport. If you are really good at public customer service, then your social care can become a new form of marketing."
Things can get out of hand fast if you’re not quick to respond, or, if you rely on some kind of “canned” response to get you by:
Cue a virtual assistant with customer service skills! Virtual assistants can be there to respond in a timely manner to any messages, even to acknowledge receipt and give the person a timeline for a response. There are many potential questions the virtual assistant will be able to answer, too.
As for any sort of escalating activities, such as what can happen with social media, a virtual assistant can at least bring it to your attention quickly so that you have the option of dealing with it.
Responding to helpdesk queries
If your business has the need to respond to “help” questions, then you need a great system for doing so. A customer that needs help has some kind of immediate pain to do with your product or service - this is your time to prove that they made the right decision in choosing you!
If you put some great guidelines and resources in place, a virtual assistant can easily help by responding to helpdesk queries. In fact, your responsiveness to requests for help can really be a way to set your business apart from others.
How can you get this started? Documenting policies and procedures is a good way to start, as your virtual assistant will probably need to refer to them. This helps them to be able to respond autonomously to any query that doesn’t require escalating.
Many businesses gather up FAQs and use them to help start a knowledge base on their website too. Your virtual assistant can help with compiling this. A knowledge base means that clients can be directed to the right information easily, and if your team grows, everyone is giving the same consistent answers.
It’s also a good idea to have some guidelines, both for helpdesk and for general customer service queries, so that the virtual assistant understands how much authority they have to respond and when something should be escalated.
Setting up vital communications
Customer communications are an important part of customer care, but often a time-consuming thing for you to be dealing with. Whether that’s setting up autoresponders, newsletters or blog posts, these are all tasks a virtual assistant can take off your hands.
While there are no universal “guidelines” for how often you should be communicating with your customers, the general consensus is that you need to be in touch at least once per month, so that people remember who you are! It all depends on your industry and target audience - one suggestion is to look at influencers in your space and see what is working for them.
Most virtual assistants don’t do the actual writing of emails or blogs (they’re not content specialists), but they can significantly help by taking over the setup. They can also help to keep you accountable - are you aiming to meet a regular schedule? Your virtual assistant can follow up to make sure you (or your content person) have written the content.
Monitoring online chatter
Are you keeping an eye out for mentions of your business or name online? Sometimes people discuss businesses (especially on social media), and it’s an opportunity for you to respond. For example, consider review sites like Yelp as well - it’s a good idea to stay on top of what people are saying.
Virtual assistants can set up and use monitoring tools to be alerted to any mentions of you or your business. They can step in, or they can draw conversations to your attention where appropriate.
Speaking of monitoring, with today’s ease of hiding behind keyboards online, are you making sure that what appears to represent your business, really is your business? There have been many cases of people creating fake accounts and responding to posts to troll the business. Your VA is a great resource for monitoring that sort of thing! (Like this example below, of an account that pretended to be Target’s customer service).
Give you a break!
Let’s be honest, how many people always feel up to the task of delivering great customer service? We’re all human, and we all need a break sometimes. It can be tiring going from one task to the next, while maintaining the “face” of your business.
A virtual assistant can provide a much-needed break from that. You don’t need to be involved with all the minutiae that can easily be delegated to someone else. This gives you the space to get on with important things, or just take a breather.
Additionally, a virtual assistant can help by spotting potential opportunities for your business. They are in close contact with what your customers are saying, so can often find new ideas, or spot trends.
There you have it - could a virtual assistant be the missing link you need to really boost your customer care and helpdesk experience?
As an entrepreneur, there can be a tendency to want to hang on, or not to want to trust anyone else with looking after customers, but truthfully, you don’t have to do it alone.
A virtual assistant can bring vital consistency and response times to your business, giving you the opportunity to outshine others. And if you're looking for more ways a virtual assistant can help you, our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants will teach you all the ins and outs of having virtual assistant that you can use to your advantage in order to grow your business. Could your service be your competitive advantage?