Welcome back to the Being Found Show. We are the local business guide to being found online by more buying customers. We are going to cover some tools that will help businesses better manage communication with customers.
The first thing on my list is Gmail. I have used a lot of different email hosts, and Gmail is where it is at. Even when I am setting up a website for a client, I will have Google host their business email because a lot of times these businesses use several different platforms and it makes it difficult to bring together and keep track of. Your email is your number one source of communication with clients, so you need to be smart and efficient with how you manage it.
Another major source of communication is by telephone. Google Voice is a tool that can be used personally or for businesses. It can just tell you who is calling when you receive a phone call or when using it for business; it can say your business name when called. This tool is helpful for differentiating greeting when you pick up the phone. If someone is calling for me, my greeting would be casual and personal, but if someone is calling my business, it will be professional.
Bring this back to Gmail; if I’m not able to answer a call and someone leaves me a message, I get a text message and an email of the transcription of the voicemail through Google Voice. So there’s one way to get all these things down, especially when using Google Voice. You can have pre-recorded responses set to play during certain times. If someone calls your business on the weekend, during non-business hours, during the end of the day or even when you are busy with something else, you can have set messages to play for that timeframe.
The next tool is simply your cell phone. That is where you are going to get those calls and those emails. I realize this is no-brainer stuff, but I’m just trying to help wrap one’s brain around the fact that your phone is using tools and following through with a path to help you manage all of this.
Relating to that, social media and notifications is the next topic. You don’t want to receive a notification for every single thing happening on your social media apps. You do want to see what is essential, pop up. You can manage the notifications you receive. You don’t want to know when a friend of a friend posts a review on a restaurant three towns over. You do want to know when someone reviews your business though. Managing notifications can help business owners sift through what is and isn’t important and stay on top of things.
Managing social media is one that sort of freaks people out, especially considering the time consumption and in the arena of distraction. It’s easy to get distracted on social media. It’s like you sit down and you’re trying to do some work and the next thing you know you’re like in the dark web of like family pictures and cat photos. It can be a total time sucker. There are a lot of sites that come with apps to help you manage this.
Hootsuite can combine three profiles to allow the one person who is in charge of those to easily maintain them in one place. You can link your Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+ for example. It allows you to create columns. So one can be solely the communications. If somebody’s just trying to manage communications just for each one of those, you just create one dashboard that shows you communications coming to you directly and maybe a column of what’s called “mentions” where people mention you and that can show up, and you can respond to that as well. There is no distraction, and you can get down to the business of your social media profiles. You can connect three if you pay for this thing, you can connect all of your profiles from various social media outlets. Also, consider using Sprouts Social for social media planning, it has a great reputation and plenty of flexibility.
Here is something that I don’t do but I should get into. If I am the owner and operator of business but am planning on hiring new employees with new email addresses to take over certain parts like social media, I need to find a way to funnel those emails to the right place. As of now, the main email is receiving each type of email. If somebody fills out the form or tries to contact you, one is sales, and one is billing, and one is social media, and basically, they’re all coming right to my email. But as I expand, I’m able to delegate those out and get them out of my email.
That is something that I’ve been planning on focusing on here. I think that it’s a really good idea and also it sets them up to do the one thing, especially for smaller businesses that are pushing medium-sized business, I always ask them to do. I ask what the one email is that needs to be connected to contact pages and forms. They don’t have a main email that these specific things should go to.
The solution is creating an email of your own. Having email@example.com will allow you to delegate those emails properly. You can switch over the emails throughout your business with ease. You didn’t have to pay a guy like me to go through your entire website to make sure that everything’s cool. You are structurally safe and sound and you’re able to keep in contact with your customers.
Our last piece of advice is to keep your inbox clean. That doesn’t mean you should delete everything but instead file it. Do not keep things in your inbox that you need to work on. If you need to work on it, it needs to go into your project management system, and you need to clear that thing out of the inbox so that when you glance at your inbox, you can tell if somebody needs to be responded to or not. You don’t have to go through it and wonder if something has already been replied to or completed. Staying on top of it can keep you accountable and save you time to focus on more important things.
Tips and Tools for Managing Communication With Customers
- Google Voice
- Sprout Social
- Manage business emails to make delegation easier
- Keep your inbox cleaned out
Thank you for listening to this segment of the Being Found Show, to hear the full show listen here: Being Found Show Episode #57 or subscribe to our Podcast.