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5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Customer Support in Under 10 Minutes

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These small hacks will lead to a big impact on your customer service operation.

Customer service is hard work.

And like any other career, getting excellent at support is a long, challenging, and never-ending journey of self-improvement.

But all never-ending journeys are made up of small steps, and today, we’re going to talk about some of the smallest and most effective steps you can take right now to improve your customer service productivity and performance.

Check them out below:

1) Set Up an Auto-response

If you’ve emailed enough businesses for support, then you’ve seen it.

The cold, impersonal, automated email that, in an instant, makes it clear that you’re not a person that the business is trying to help, but a ticket number… a cog in the machine that is their customer support operation.

That automated email⁠—the very first time a customer hears back from you when they email you for support⁠—isn’t just impersonal.

It’s also a huge wasted opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your customer.

Setting up a great auto-response that actually helps you build loyalty only takes about ten minutes, and we put together a short guide that tells you exactly how to do that.

Check it out right here.

2) Watch This Short Video

When Ross Shafer checked in to the Marriott Hotel in Orlando, he had been traveling all day. He was exhausted and hungry.

Calling down to room service, Ross ordered a cheeseburger and a Diet Coke. When his order arrived wrong, one Marriott employee, Maria Garcia, made a small gesture that ended up paying off massively in loyalty, goodwill and free press for the company.

Maria’s actions can teach and inspire us all to take those tiny "extra" steps that can make a big impact on our businesses.

3) Download and Print Out the Customer Support Interaction Checklist

One of my favorite books is called The Checklist Manifesto. Written by Atul Gawande, a renowned surgeon, it shares some incredible stories about how checklists—such a simple concept—save millions of lives every year in hospitals, airplanes and huge construction sites.

But the underlying lesson of the book is that checklists can be used to "bulletproof" a system of any size or stakes, including a customer service operation.

We put together a 9-point checklist that you can use to ensure that every customer service interaction you "ticks all the boxes" for delivering value to your customers and building long, lasting relationships that help you develop loyalty, increase retention and grow your business.

See the entire checklist⁠—and download a PDF copy to print out for yourself⁠—right here.

4) Create a Canned Reply

How many times have you written the same response over and over and over again?

Retyping responses doesn’t just cause hand cramps; it kills a lot of time.

That’s where saved common replies come in handy.

Rather than wasting time typing the same reply over and over again (probably the single most time-sucking repetitive task that support professionals have to do), common (sometimes called “canned”) replies let you insert frequently used messages with a click.

If you’re not using a help desk that offers common replies, you can still take advantage of this time-saving tactic. I’m a huge fan of aText for Mac (for PC’s, try PhraseExpress), which lets you create keyboard shortcuts. You could create something as simple as a shortcut to save you a few keystrokes typing your email address, or something as powerful as a shortcut for an entire paragraph-long email.

To get started, just pick any email that you’ve sent at least three times this week, and save it as a common reply.

Next time you find yourself about to retype that answer, just insert your saved reply, make a few small edits to personalize the message, and send away.

5) Take a 10 Minute Break

In the always-moving world of customer support, you may think that you can’t afford to take breaks during the day.

But in fact, you can’t afford not to.

Here’s why: they boost focus and productivity like almost nothing else.

Three researchers at the University of Michigan conducted an experiment to test the power of breaks.

First, they measured their participants’ mood and focus, followed by 35 minutes of rapid-fire tests designed to create mental fatigue.

Next, the researchers sent the participants on 50-55 minute walks.

One group was sent to nature trails, while the other group walked around downtown.

When the participants returned, they were tested again.

Both groups came back with higher performance than when they started, but the group that walked in “nature” showed improvements that were 200% higher than the improvements in the downtown group.

So either way, taking a walk increases focus, but getting into nature can give you an extra boost.

But here’s a twist that you’re going to love if you truly can’t take an hour-long break: in that same study, another group was simply shown pictures of nature for ten minutes.

Productivity Booster Productivity Booster

Fascinatingly, that helped, too! Simply taking a ten-minute break and looking at pictures of nature gave workers improved focus when they returned to their tasks.

So whether you choose to spend your break walking or not, don’t miss out on the incredible productivity-boosting power of unplugging for a bit.

Getting Better, 10 Minutes at a Time

When you’re battling support emails all day, it can seem like you don’t have time for anything else.

But getting better at your craft doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

It just takes a small amount of deliberate practice, repeated over time.

I hope that these tips help you to improve your customer service productivity and performance⁠—and lead to higher retention and customer satisfaction⁠—in less time than you thought possible.

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About the Author

Len Markidan heads up marketing at Groove. He’s focused on helping startups and small businesses build better relationships with their customers.

Read his latest posts or follow him on Twitter

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