If you are a business owner running a successful eCommerce business and have yet to hire a customer service virtual assistant, you’re probably spending much of your time dealing with customer service issues.
When your business is getting 50 or more orders per day, you’re likely getting double the inquiries too, correct? These inquiries may include questions about products, concerns about orders or feedback on a variety of issues.
When you’re spending most of your time dealing with customer service, you’re not able to put your best effort into growing your business or enjoying the lifestyle you hoped for. If this sounds like you, hiring a customer service virtual assistant may be your ticket to freedom, happiness, and expansion in your business.
Should you hire a customer service virtual assistant?
All savvy business owners know that customer service is the key to business success. You must keep your customers happy because happy customers tend to come back for more.
Happy customers also gladly refer new paying customers who will then continue to buy and refer you. Your reach continues to grow and expand as long as your customers are satisfied. Unhappy customers, on the other hand, can destroy your business’s potential and wreak havoc on your bottom line. Unhappy customers can potentially turn a profitable business into a failure.
But keeping your customers happy takes time, and business owners often run out of that precious resource. There are so many different aspects of running a business, and once your business reaches a certain level, you cannot do it alone. Rather than letting customer service fall by the wayside, the best thing you can do is hire a customer service virtual assistant to take on the responsibility.
By hiring a customer service virtual assistant, you are doing both you and your customers a huge favor. Not only will you be freeing your load up, but you’ll also be reinforcing your business’ customer service capabilities by outsourcing it to experienced and skilled individuals.
You’re also going to need someone to represent you when you’re not around, especially if you conduct a 24/7 operation.
It’s a definite win-win no matter how you look at it.
Which tasks should you outsource to a customer service virtual assistant?
Keep customers (potential, past and present) happy can be time-consuming because of the responsibilities involved. From answering phone calls to commenting on social media, it can get crazy if you have other tasks on your plate.
For these tasks to be performed at the highest level, you’ll need someone with the skills and experience to handle customer concerns. You’ll need someone dedicated for the role, someone whose focus is solely on giving your customers the help they’re looking for.
The best way to determine which tasks to outsource is to start with those that are deemed necessary in extending assistance to customers. Answering phone calls and responding to chats and emails are some of the best examples.
They can also help in order fulfillment and tracking, refunds processing, and escalation handling, to name a few. If a customer needs assistance in learning and understanding one of your business’ processes, the customer service virtual assistant is the best person for the project.
These are just some of the basics, of course. In the end, it’s still completely up to you which tasks you want them to cover. What’s important is to always keep in mind that a customer service representative is the extension of a business owner’s voice. It’s one of the reasons why you hired them in the first place.
Answer Questions and Guide the Process
Potential customers often have presales questions before committing to the purchase. These questions can be about the product itself, or the process involved in actually making the purchase.
Regardless of its nature, most customers won’t wait very long for an answer before moving on to the next company who sells something similar. A customer service virtual assistant can ensure that you aren’t losing potential sales just because customers aren’t getting their answers quick enough.
More than the turnaround, quality of support and assistance also makes a huge difference. When you have an experienced customer service rep who knows how to properly communicate with customers of any kind, you’re definitely in good hands.
Customers love being made to feel important. People would always prefer dealing with someone who knows what they’re talking about and treats them with respect.
Customers want to know where their products are, and they want to know now. We’ve all been there! This is where you can truly set a standard for excellent customer service in your business and stand out from your competition.
By hiring a customer service virtual assistant, you can have someone who’s able to track down orders as soon as your customers request the information. While this may seem easy and straightforward, you can’t say the same when you have an impatient customer pressuring you on the other line.
What separates a good customer service virtual assistant from an average one is that the former doesn’t easily crack under pressure.
Deal with Returns and Refunds
No one likes to deal with returns and refunds. When you have already lost business, you may not immediately see the need for excellent customer service in this area. Dealing with returns and refunds promptly and professionally, however, is extremely important.
Your customer is already unhappy or dissatisfied with their product. The last thing you want to do is make them even more disappointed. Most people who return items will be happy with a quick and easy process and refund, even when they were initially unhappy with the purchase.
Keeping them happy avoids a situation where they feel the urge to spread negative feedback or leave bad reviews online. Furthermore, you should always seek to understand why your customers requested a refund in order to improve your product and keep returns at a minimum.
Not only does this help your business’s bottom line, but making your customers’ voices heard leaves a lasting impression. Even after returning your product, they may come back to purchase again in the future.
Communication, in general (email, chat, phone, etc), takes a lot of time. The larger your business grows, the more emails, chats and phone calls come in each day. The quicker the response time and the more genuine the answer, the happier your customers are going to be.
A customer service virtual assistant can be a key role in maintaining communication and keeping your customers happy while freeing up time in your day to focus on growing your business.
Feedback for Continuous Improvement
Every business owner should always seek continuous improvement in its business operations. The best way to know what to improve on is to simply ask.
An essential part of customer service is asking for feedback. While it can be time-consuming for a business owner, it may be one of the best tasks to outsource to a customer service virtual assistant.
A virtual assistant will be able to survey or speak to customers. They can find out what went well and what didn’t. Which processes were straightforward and which were confusing. They’d also be able to determine if the customers found them user-friendly.
How much are you willing to spend?
It’s important to know the budget you’re willing to allocate for outsourcing before you jump right in. Though it is relatively cheaper than paying someone full-time, it’s better to have a clear understanding of how freelancers are paid and how many hours you require.
Most freelancers are paid by the hour while some have fixed rates. This is why having a rough estimate of the number of hours you’ll need is essential. This will allow you to manage your budget more efficiently. Once you’ve determined the number of hours you need, you should be ready to hire the person you’re looking for.
Hiring a customer service virtual assistant
If you’re convinced that hiring a customer service virtual assistant is the right move, the next question you probably have is how and where do you begin?
The good news is there are various freelance marketplaces online you can go to. Each of these marketplaces has deep talent pools you can explore. This allows you to find the best customer service assistant who fits your requirements to a tee.
FreeeUp is one of these marketplaces that makes hiring a virtual assistant easier and faster. What makes working with FreeeUp ideal is the fact that they only house the top 1% of today’s freelancers and that all of them pre-vetted.
What this means is that you don’t have to be heavily involved in the hiring process. FreeeUp has already done that for you. All you have to do is submit your requirements and FreeeUp will introduce you to a freelancer that matches it within 1 business day.
You can then conduct a 15 to 20-minute interview, just to see if you are a great fit. You can easily request for another freelancer if the first one isn’t who you’re looking for. Once you’ve found the freelancer of your choice, you can be working with him or her within the next 24 hours.
If you are a business owner who’s got a commanding schedule, hiring via FreeeUp is definitely an excellent option.
Onboard the customer service virtual assistant you hired
It’s important to remember that the bus doesn’t stop at pressing the “hire” button. In fact, there is still a lot for you to do once you’ve hired the freelancer of your choice.
We can’t stress enough how important a proper onboarding process is. Even if you’ve hired the most skilled and experienced freelancer, you can’t just leave things up to them and hope they figure them out on their own.
Good leaders set their people up for success and a proper onboarding is one way of doing it. Onboarding is essential because this is your way of breaking the freelancer in, so to speak. It’s a time when you set all the expectations before you formally work together.
It’s the best time to talk about your preferred work hours, means of communication, and things you require. This may include things like reports or any other similar documents.
Getting all of these out of the way allows for a smooth and seamless working relationship. It will also minimize, if not totally eliminate cases of miscommunication. There should be less of this when they already know what needs to be done before they even begin.
Access to Tools and Apps
Lastly, it’s also a good time to provide them the logins they need for the tools you use. It’s also a good time to introduce them to said apps if they’re not familiar with some of them.
It’s better to iron everything out and answer all their questions at this point. This will prevent them from coming back every now and then because something’s not clear. While it is a great practice to record your onboarding process on video or document them, being reachable while they’re viewing these materials is ideal. It’s easier for you to quickly clarify any confusion on their part.
There are so many reasons why you should consider hiring a customer service virtual assistant to help run your business operations. In fact, the future of your business may depend on it. Not only will it allow you to focus on growing and expanding while keeping your customers happy, but outsourcing important tasks will actually save you money and increase your profits.
Over the course of the next few days, keep a tally of the hours you spend on customer service activities. This may involve tasks like responding to emails, answering questions, addressing concerns, dealing with feedback and keeping your customers happy.
I’d be willing to bet it is more time than you think. If you want to take it one step further, reach out with a quick survey or poll. Ask your past customers how satisfied they were with your customer service and if there are areas for improvement.
When you get that feedback, don’t take it lightly. Take some time to see how hiring a customer service virtual assistant could change your business.
Thinking of outsourcing customer service yet? If you are ready, hop on over and get in touch with qualified customer service freelancers through FreeeUp now.
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Noel Rosos is a personal development writer, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and founder of Life’s How You Live It, a personal development blog dedicated to helping people live the life they’ve always dreamed of. He is also a writer/contributor for Arianna Huffington’s wellness site, Thrive Global. He is an affiliate marketer, a full-time husband and father, and a self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST.