Do you find your time is consumed by emails?
I think many of us have adopted the wrong strategy when it comes to emails, too many people believe that email is a replacement to actually having a conversation, don’t get me wrong it is important to use email as a way to confirm things, remind people and create a routes of proof but to many people have their productivity destroyed by how they use their email system. The notification that pops up that tells you someone has sent you a message pulls you to read or respond straight away but why?
As I am sure you are already aware the volume of emails we get every day seems to be increasing at an alarming rate unfortunately many are junk, and that makes it hard to filter through, in my last blog I discussed how to reduce the clutter in your mailbox to help you focus on whats important, this blog is about assisting you to retrain your clients on how you use your email within your business.
I struggled with the volume as well, and because of this, I introduced a few strategies that have helped maintain excellent customer service without needing to respond to my clients as soon as the email alerts pop up.
I think you have a responsibility to educate your clients on how you use email within your business, as your email system should not be the control of your day, when a client sends an email to be wary of responding immediately, don’t rush because if this is how you respond all the time some may start to think this is the norm and expect this rapid response all the time. Create a window of time for response time as this puts you back in more control, it gives you some breathing space which is extremely useful if you are busy with other things.
Automatic Response Message:
I have found that adding an autoresponder to my emails explaining that in order to maintain my productivity my practice is to check my email two to three times a day and if you require some urgent assistance, then they should call me.
My clients, family, and associates have a different number that allows me to filter the important calls from the general ones, there fore I am able to respond to the important calls first instead of them being clogged up in the voicemail stream of sales calls and time wasters that we all get from time to time. I have never had a complaint about the use of my autoresponder from my clients, in fact, many have taken the strategy on board and found it extremely useful.
By teaching your customers of this type of process, you are explaining your email rules and how they work within your business, when they contact you they know what is happening and that your response will not be immediate and if they want a quicker response they should call, quite often this helps people check that what they want is indeed important.
Be careful how fast you respond:
I have spoken to past clients about response time, and it has been fascinating what I found about their way of thinking, for example, some people told me that if someone responded to them quickly too often they would begin to think about how busy were they, especially if they were the sole operator of the business such as a coach, holistic practitioner or solopreneur. Reflect on that some people may think that a quick response means you don’t have many clients, that could have a real negative impact on your business and how people may speak about your business to others.
Of course, a quick response is also a good thing which is why creating a breathing space allows you to stay in control and respond accordingly, this strategy is all about assisting you to maintain levels of productivity.
Balance is Key:
It is a delicate balance to maintain the correct response time and if it needs to be quick fine just make sure it based on fact rather than what you think it should be, send out a survey about customer service and find out what your clients would be happy about then tweak your strategies and your processes to fit.
I am always keen to hear about your strategies so share with me how you manage your email?