As a solo entrepreneur the last year, half my time has been working and half my time has been researching ways to outsource and extract myself from job functions.
I know that customer support and chatbots or overseas VAs or other types of AI/technology make various levels of extracting yourself from customer support an easy and attractive position.
But I absolutely advise against it.
Actually speaking to customers directly (whether on phone, chat, or email) is a unique opportunity to supercharge your customer affinity yet so many avoid the oppty to save a few minutes a day.
For the last 20 years commerce has moved away from direct person-to-person contact and toward impersonal automations. Differentiate yourself by providing the customer service other people don’t.
You can really only differentiate yourself my the quality of your product, your price, and your marketing/brand. Those are hard.
But differentiation based on customer service is super easy.
I set up a google Voice number and put it on my website and orders and emails and explicitly welcome calls. We do about 100 orders a day and I may get 1 call a day. That’s it. Between the calls and the FB/Insta messages/comments and emails I may have to dedicate 30 minutes a day.
It’s a fluctuating 30 minutes that pulls me out of whatever I’m doing and distracts me, sure. It has its detractions. But the benefits far outweigh the nuisances.
Most calls the customer leaves shocked.
- Shocked that a real human actually answered the phone immediately.
- Shocked they I didn’t put them on hold for 5 minutes *Shocked that I didn’t transfer them to another person so they had to explain themselves all over again
- Shocked that I was happy and helpful and engaged.
- Shocked that I could answer their question, whatever it is, immediately rather than having it go into some void and hope someone responds to them.
- Shocked that if I couldn’t answer it, I committed to follow up and did
- Shocked that they got the OWNER OF THE COMPANY on the phone to answer the simple question that was answered already in one of the emails that they got. They often apologize to me for even calling.
We get a significant number of glowingly positive reviews on our site and socials by people who talk about how much they love us. They rave about the uncommonly great customer service.
But really all I do most of the time is answer the phone and confirm the item has shipped.
It takes me 5 minutes and I have a loyal customer for life