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But, I Don’t Want to Deal With Customers Today!

Keller Hawthorne | May 4, 2009 | Comment
Keller's Thoughts

Haven’t we all felt this way at times? You’ve created a successful online business, you’re making good money and you’ve got a ton of customers. You might find yourself with a lot more time now to do whatever it is YOU want to do. But, you still have to process those orders and provide customer service; and with more and more orders coming in, the mundane operations of your business are taking more time.

I’ve been there. I’ve had my days where the last thing I wanted to do was talk to a customer. Hey, I’ve got better things to do like work on a new company I’m creating or enjoy my jewelry hobby! But then I remember why I’m able to spend time on those things.

Ok, you are the unbelievably brilliant person who thought up your business model and made it a success, but your customers are the ones feeding you. Without our customers, our businesses would crumble. So, why do we seem to forget that once we obtain success? Well, it’s probably because of expectations and lack of excitement.

When I opened my first store, my very first customers were like rock stars in my eyes. I loved them and couldn’t have been more excited to process their orders. In fact, I remember a time when I called my family and friends every time I got an order! But today, my expectations have changed. I expect tons of orders to come in and I expect money to be deposited into my account from yesterday’s orders. And the rock star has become a nuisance.

Has my order shipped yet? It’s already been five minutes since I purchased it!

Can I change my order for the 10th time?

Is that item a blue-red, an orange red, or a “nothing will ever satisfy me” red?

It’s official – the daily operations of your business have become boring and, yes, even annoying. So what now? You still need your customers and someone has to process their orders.

It’s time to implement your auto-pilot plan. How many times do you get bugged with the same question every day? Is there a way we can prevent customers from emailing us that question?

No, I’m not talking about removing your contact form!

I’m talking about simple tweaks you can make to your website or operations that can save you a lot of time. Here are a few ideas:

  1. If you get asked the same question over and over, it’s time to put the answer to that question right above your contact form. Your customers won’t need to bug you with it anymore. Also, make sure you have a “FAQ” available and make sure that question is listed.
  2. Set up email templates in Notepad or Word. If there is a standard answer to a customer inquiry, like “when will my order ship,” set up an email template like this:

    We appreciate your order! Orders are normally shipped within 48 hours. You will receive a tracking number by email once your order has shipped.

    Now just copy and paste it into an email and press send. Done! (Oh, but don’t forget to save it for the next customer)

  3. Utilize an email marketing service like Constant Contact. I absolutely love this service and I’ve been using it since 2005. With Constant Contact, you can set up gorgeous email newsletters, create contact lists, setup sign up boxes on your website and schedule email campaigns! Plus, they just came out with a new auto responder service. It works for all types of companies, whether you’re selling products, services or information. I use Constant Contact for all of my store newsletters. This service helps save me a lot of time when it comes to staying in touch with customers. For, I use Aweber. Aweber is an awesome email marketing service that works well for text based emails. Check out how it works by signing up for my Newsletter!
  4. Set a specific time each day for processing orders. I used to process my orders whenever I received them. This was back when I had maybe one or two a day, so it didn’t really matter. Today, I would be a frantic mess if I had to stop whatever it was I was doing to process another order. So, I process all of my orders in the morning. One clean sweep! And orders that come in after that time are processed the next morning.
  5. Don’t avoid your customers! You might not be in the mood to deal with an issue today; but the longer you make your customer wait, the less forgiving he/she will become. Handle issues quickly, not only so you keep your customers happy (and therefore your business alive), but so you can keep yourself out of the mental hospital! This isn’t really an auto-pilot tip, but it’s definitely something you should keep in mind.

These are just a few (wait, few = 3-4), make that “several” or “some” things you can do to help save you some time so that your customers can become rock stars again!

What steps do you take to automate your business? How do you avoid, well…, avoiding your customers?

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