Customer Service – 7 Tips for Excellent Customer Service


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. ~ Maya Angelou

This quote from the amazing Maya Angelou is one of the most true statements in life and business.  I have learned that creating an amazing customer service relationship is a lot of work, but well worth the effort.  Good customer service (relating and serving your customers needs) is one of the best ways to connect in a positive way with your client.  This also allows you to maintain that powerful relationship for a very long time.   My social media management company is in its fourth year, and I am very proud that many of my clients have been consistent AssistantAngel clients for years.

Here is a list of 7 Tips to encourage excellence in your customer service:

Customer Service Excellence

1.  Believe in Your Client’s Vision.  When building my business many years ago, I made a conscious effort to work with clients whose businesses I truly believe in.  It is important, as a social media marketer, that I am fully invested in what their business goals and objectives are.  If you are not invested in your client’s best interest at all times, it will become obvious in the work that you do for them.

2.  Under Promise, Over Deliver.   Without a question, when making promises to your client, be sure to “under promise and over deliver”.  Recognize the limits of your time, resources and deadline schedule so you can give your client a reasonable end time for a project.  I even plan to have the project completed a day or two before I promised, just to allow for any last minute “time challenges” that may occur in my business schedule or personal life.

3.  Set Reasonable Expectations.  When beginning to work with a new client, be sure to set resonable expectations so your client can know what he/she can expect from working with you. For example I always remind my clients that email is the best form of communication with me.  I am often on the go and working “virtually” and I am able to best manage my time and team if I correspond with my clients via email.  For some clients, if we do have phone commitments, I schedule them and make sure I am prepared for the call and honor that time for the client to answer their questions or provide them an update.

Virtual Assistant Social Media4.  Listen,  Listen to what a client shares with you.  It is important to hear what they need and how you can best help them.  A good practice is to repeat back to them what your understanding of their needs are, so you are both on the same page.

5. If You Find A Problem, Present A Solution.  Often when working on a client project (i.e. blog, event, etc.) I sometimes find additional areas that need to be addressed.  If it is something I can handle quickly, I fix and/or update it, and let the client know what I have done.  If it is a larger issue, I do research to find someone (or more than one) reliable contact who can solve their issue.  It is important in a fast-paced marketing world to not just address a client’s problems, but also to find a solution (if possible) for that client.

6. H.A.L.T.  It is important when dealing with clients that you recognize your own limitations.  I always plan far ahead for my clients’ needs, and sometimes I have an off day. These are some instances when it is best to work behind the scenes and not directly with a client.  There is nothing more challenging than to repair a relationship with a client.  If you take a few minutes to know when it is not a good time for you, you will be in a much better place when engaging with the client at a later time.  I always encourage my team to consider when they need to HALT:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

If you experience any of the above, it may not be a great time to engage directly with a client, if you are not at your best.

7. Connector.  I personally believe that being a “connector” is not only a great marketing tool for your business, but it is a powerful way to truly support the business owners that trust you.  If I recognize a client can benefit from a business connection that I may be able to help facilitate, I do so.  I do not expect anything in return, it is just a way of letting my client know “I believe in your vision”.

To have great customer service for your clients does take time.  Every email you send, every comment on a post, every level of engagement is a way for you to show your support for your client and create excellent customer service.

How about you?  Do you find it easy to give amazing customer service to your clients?  What do you find as your greatest strength to encourage great customer service for your clients?  Please comment below, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media News for Clients and 12 Management Tools to Save You Time

AssistantAngel is celebrating its fourth year as a Virtual Assistant / Social Media Management company. We are very blessed to work with many amazing clients across the United States, Canada and world-wide.

AssistantAngel - Social Media Management Success

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT ~ Back to Basics

In looking back over the past four years, I am reminded at how “basic” social media can be at times. Often people ask me which social media tools I recommend and which tools I personally use.

Social Media is a tool to get your information to your ideal audience.  The key to successfully utilizesocial media is staying organized with a clear and concise message to the correct audience.  Below is a list of the social media management tools that I use each month. Some tools I use daily. This list will give you a good idea of how my team and I are able to stay organized and stay on top of the latest social media trends.

IN THE CLOUD

1. Gmail – Having my email kick over to a gmail account has enabled me to grab email when I am on the go. Whether it is from my smartphone, laptop or computer, I can access emails and my email folders at any time. This helps when I am searching for a client’s particular email.

2.  Dropbox – With clients adding more and more images to their websites, blogs and social media posts, it is important to have great quality images.  I like to use Dropbox so my client can share images with me.  Dropbox also has a feature of renaming folders, to help keep your Dropbox organized (i.e. by Client Name, etc)

Google DriveTRANSPARENCY

3. Google Drive – I have become very fond of Google Drive. It is a seamless way to share documents (similar to word, excel, images, etc) with other contacts. I often keep information on separate tabs for the Google drive doc. I also like to make sure my client and I share a Google Drive document with pertinent information that is available to them, any time they need it.

CALENDARS

4. Keeping track of client’s events and deadlines is very important. Each week I utilize at least 2 calendars to make sure I remember AND also have a backup (in the event the internet should go down).

Google Calendar – I enjoy the flexibility of adding / removing events on Google Calendar and having it access my phone and computer. One feature I especially like is the REMINDER feature. You can have the event send you an email or notification of the event.

o Quick Tip: When adding an event to my calendar, I include as much information as possible: Call-in number, link to the client’s website and any other information for the call. This way prior to my appointment, I have everything available to prepare for my appointment.

Monthly Calendar (paper). I have disciplined myself to make sure when I add a calendar event to my online calendar, I also add it to my wall calendar. Often when I am speaking with a client on the phone, I need to schedule or touch base with them in a couple weeks. By quickly viewing my upcoming appointments, I can see the best time for our next meeting.

E-MAIL MANAGEMENT

Business Connector Assistant Angel - Social Media ManagerOne motto I attempt to follow with ALL areas of my social media management business is to “Touch It Only Once”. What that means to me is if it is an email, request, calendar update, etc. I only want to “touch” it once.

5.  In order to achieve this with email, which I get HUNDREDS of emails each day, I utilize a tool called: Follow Up Then. You can “forward” the email so it shows up in your inbox at the time you specify. For example, you can forward an important email to 3days@followupthen.com and that email will show up in your inbox in 3 days.  When the email comes back, I can address it or delay it again.  This has helped to stay organized.

6.  A second tool I enjoy for Email Management is Boomerang for Gmail.  Boomerang allows you to send a message at a specific time.  For example, if you are working late at night, it is not always appropriate to email a client at 11:30 PM.  However, you can easily schedule the Boomerang Email (and I ALWAYS cc myself so I have a copy of the email) to be distributed the next business day.

TASK MANAGEMENT

7. To keep clients tasks organized (by day, week, month, 6 months, etc) I utilize Asana.com. Asana is nice because you can create “projects” for each client as well as add tags and due dates. Please Note: Asana is also a great tool for teams, where you can “assign” different tasks to different team members. I like the mobile version of Asana that synchs with the online portal. Again, I can review tasks and update easily from my mobile device.

Social Media Management - AssistantAngel Raleigh NCSOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT

8. Engaging on various social media platforms can be a daunting task. I am starting to enjoy utilizing Hootsuite again (for a while I thought the platform was lagging). Hootsuite has recently released some new updates that make it worth a second look:

◊ Add Hootsuite plugin to Chrome. If you find a great article online, you can make sure that the article is saved and distributed as you like on Hootsuite.

◊ Hootsuite also integrates with Google+, LinkedIn (personal and company pages), Facebook (personal and fan pages), Twitter, WordPress and more.

o Please Note: Just because a tool ALLOWS you to easily post on various platforms at one time, does not mean it is best to do so. (See previous blog about Social Media Engagement)

SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS

9. Finding the latest trend in social media can be challenging.  Social media is CONSTANTLY changing.  Here are some excellent sites that give you cutting edge information that you can immediately begin to implement for your clients:

TIME MANAGEMENT

AssistantAngel Instagram Desk10. The clock, and management of it, is absolutely vital to ensure that I am able to accomplish ALL that I need to in a day…and make room for the “unexpected”. I keep an alarm clock on my desk. I work in block sections of time. I set the timer and do not check email or texts during that time (unless it is an emergency).

Also, by giving myself permission to have “free / research” block time, I am able to have a buffer in my schedule to handle the unforeseen things that happen each and every day.

NOTES

11. Post-It-Notes – are my best friend! I keep them on my desk, in my briefcase, purse and in my car. Whenever I have to jot myself a quick note (or remember something for later) I jot it down on a Post-It-Note. At the end of the day, when I clear my desk and prepare for the next day (it’s not always CLEAR of tasks mind you!), I make sure to handle each Post-It-Note, one at a time with an action: write email, reminders, schedules, add an appointment, etc.

PEACEFUL WORK ENVIRONMENT

12. I do my best work when I have a peaceful and positive work environment. That means, my desk is organized, I have thrown away trash, coffee cups, etc.  “A clean desk is a clean mind…”

I also make sure I have music in the background. For me, I have found classical music gets my juices flowing and allows me the creative spark I need to stay focused and on task.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Is there a TOOL that you utilize each day that you can NOT live without? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  I hope this list has been helpful and gives you some additional tools to consider as you manage your business and your clients.

Angel Lebak, Owner www.AssistantAngel.com team of Social Media Managers and Virtual Assistants

Angel Lebak, Owner www.AssistantAngel.com team of Social Media Managers and Virtual Assistants

STAY CONNECTED.  Feel free to connect with Angel here. Angel is also on social media: FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and more. If you know of someone who wants to become a Virtual Assistant, have them sign up for Angel’s free Virtual Assistant Training Network.  (Please Note:  the VATN Training Network will be having many new changes in 2014…stay tuned!)  Sign up for the latest updates from Angel here.

Thank you for your continued support.  I will connect with you soon!

~ Angel

Social Media Marketing: Slow and Steady Engagement Wins the Race

I am convinced in this ever changing world of social media marketing, that the old saying “slow and steady wins the race” is very true.

I remember the early days of my Virtual Assistant business, and most small business owners believed that we needed to “push” our message out on various platforms.  As social media exploded, those platforms were just another avenue to “post” your latest idea, blog or product for sale.  The social media arena is quickly changing.  So how do we do engage in the most effective way with our ideal client effectively?

Here are a few tips that I have seen work well for many of my clients.

1.  Get to KNOW your fans and followers.

  • What do they love?  What do they LOVE about you?
  • Why did they choose to follow you and/or read your blog or comment on your post?
  • What is their ULTIMATE goal for their business?
  • For Example, on Facebook, be sure to learn how they came to become your fans and be sure to Welcome Them!

2.  Find the common thread that you share with them.

  • Did they connect with you on Facebook from another platform?
  • Are they also followers of your blog?
  • How can you best serve that potential client?
  • Do they need your advice?  Do they need another expert who can better help them?
  • What is their “pain point”
  • One of the reasons that Pinterest has become such a hot trend in 2012 is because people can truly engage with what “connects” them.  It is very interesting.

3.  Engage, Engage, Engage

  • Engage with your audience
  • Thank them when they comment
  • Offer insight / expertise
  • Suggest solutions to their challenges, etc. as time allows.
  • Share material that is a benefit to your audience.  (The more time goes on, I am finding that SHARING other people’s content has even more impact).
  • On LinkedIn, for example, you can now: click Like to a Post, Share a Post or give a recommendation with “1 click”.  These are all ways to engage and let that person know you appreciate and like their information.

4.  Be Authentic

  • There is a reason that folks are coming to you.  Be yourself.
  • The fans, clients and supporters who you TRULY engage and relate with, will be your greatest support and source of referrals for years to come.
  • For Instance on Twitter:  Are you noticing that you are engaging with people who have similar interests?  Perhaps you both relate to people with similar industries or interests.  Often reviewing popular #hashtags will be a good way to determine this.
  • Keep in mind that if you Retweet (RT) or Share someone’s post or tweet, it is an implied endorsement of that information.  So be sure you understand what you are sharing.

5.  Respond in a Timely Manner

  • If you truthfully only have time to engage on 1 social media platform, then perform on that platform with EXCELLENCE.
  • In my opinion it is better to hit a “Grand Slam” with one ball, than to strike out with 3 balls.
  • If you are most comfortable with Facebook, than start there.  Do what works for your time and also your personality.  As you get more confident you can expand and learn another social media platform.

6.  Give Back

  • This is the KEY to true success.  Take the time to give back to those who are just starting out or need your advice.
  • I remember those who were there for me when I didn’t know anyone.  My goal is to offer that same encouragement and support to those who need it, when it is in my power to do so.
  • You can do this on each of the platforms by “sharing”, “liking”, “retweeting” or “commenting” on other people’s posts.

7.  Be Patient

  • Four years after starting my Virtual Assistant business I am still reaping from “relationship seeds” that were planted years ago.
  • If you honor each fan, follower and contact with excellence, your passion and true character will be seen by all who engage with you.
  • True engagement with your audience takes TIME.  Truthfully, if you are consistent, you should see results in a few weeks to a few months.

So whether you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ or Pinterest be sure you are engaging with your audience in a timely and authentic manner.  In my opinion, this is will yield you more benefits than any push marketing campaign.

How About You?

Are you able to effectively engage with your ideal audience?  Comment below or contact Angel here.

Angel can also be found on the various social media platforms:  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest

Become a Virtual Assistant: Be Your Clients Raving Fan

Becoming Your Clients Raving Fan is one of the most important things you can do to support your Virtual Assistant client.

How do you accomplish this?

1. Believe In the Client’s Vision– Truly believe in the client and what their work vision is. What I mean by that is be selective in the clients you choose to work with. Have it be someone whom you truly enjoy the work they do, recognize their value, and the positive attribute they make to society.

2. Speak the Truth – Be truthful in your marketing. Make sure that you are able to be out there and share their knowledge and expertise with the world. If you do NOT believe in the qualities of your client, it will show in your work to and with that client.

3. Client’s #1 Cheerleader – Many times behind the scenes your client needs someone to tell them what a great job THEY are doing. (This is true for all of us). If they are making a positive impact on the community and the area around them, be sure to tell them! Your encouragement as a Virtual Assistant will help them.

In conclusion, connect with your client and let them know how much you support them and believe in their vision. As you and your client are on the same page with the same goals, it makes all levels of marketing, relating and communication much more effective.

Virtual Assistant Tip: Touch It Only Once

“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.” ~ – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One of the most important skills a Virtual Assistant, Personal Assistant or Administrative Professional will need to fully grasp is time management. Keeping yourself, your email, your calendar AND your clients organized is vital to the success of your VA business.

Without a question the process of: Touch It Only Once has been an immense time saver for me.

Here are some areas of my business where I challenge myself to “Touch It Only Once”.

1. Emails – Touch the Email Only Once (file the email, forward, delete, or use it in the future).

Ninja Tip: FollowUpThen (www.FollowUpThen.com) This program allows you to get a reminder message to do something.  For example, if I promised a client I will follow up in 3 days, I can bcc: 3days@followupthen.com in the email, and I will get my original email AND a reminder in 3 days in my email inbox.  This is a free tool and a HUGE time saver!

2. To Do Tasks – Touch the Task Only Once (pre-schedule work time helps with this)

3. Phone Calls – Touch the Phone Calls at Once (schedule or return phone calls at pre-set times)

4. Client Schedule – Plan Ahead to serve one Client at One Time for a block of period (i.e. 2 hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) is for this client.  Focus on that client file for increased productivity.

5.  Piggy Back Meetings – Touch the “Meeting Place” Only Once.  It is always a wise use of our time to plan a one-on-one meeting before of after a networking event, for example.  You are at one location, but serving many purposes.  Many of us do this with the Inside919 Big Lunch, Final Friday and Tuesday Coffee Breaks.  This is a GREAT use of our time!

6. Meeting Notes – Touch the Meeting Notes Only Once.  After I return from a meeting, I go thru my notebook and then add the notes to the appropriate file, folder, master binder, etc. so I can easily find the information in the future.

7. Business Cards – Touch the Business Card Only Once.  If I have someone’s business card, I have usually asked for it, I take one business card at a time and respond accordingly.

Did I promise to email them information?  Did I offer to connect them with someone who can help them?  Did they inquire about my services?

Business Buffers – Obviously, life and business happen.  You always have to have a buffer in your schedule.  But by challenging yourself to “Touch It Only Once” you may get better use of the time you have.

Did you find these virtual assistant tips helpful?  Is there any other areas in your business that can apply to: Touch It Only Once?