Being an entrepreneur is a growing trend these days. With plummeting levels of job growth and difficulties finding lucrative jobs, most young people graduating from colleges and universities think about starting their own business. While this has given rise to a new start-up economy, there is a lot that needs to improve for these small business to succeed.
For example, start-ups are notorious for providing inconsistent customer care. Most entrepreneurs know they need to provide great customer care, and they do so, initially. However, after a few months, there is hardly any focus on customer care, whether they are succeeding in their businesses or not.
Call center employees, on the other hand, provide consistent customer care, whether it rains or shines. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to declare that entrepreneurs have much to learn from the everyday call center or customer service employee. Here are some areas to start:
- Be consistent
Only a call center employee or a virtual receptionist knows what it takes to answer similar (but slightly unique) calls, every day, every week. It takes a lot of patience to consistently help customers and fix problems. As an entrepreneur, you can find inspiration in a call center employee’s undying commitment to customer care, resolving every call or inquiry, and apply that to your own business.
- Be patient
It requires a LOT of effort to be patient and polite when a customer is yelling or swearing, or is just being difficult. Yet, call center employees handle even the most discourteous calls, because it is their job. As an entrepreneur, you will probably have to answer your investors, your co-founders, your own family members and even your friends. How do you deal with all the questions? Be patient, and communicate your goals clearly.
- Be empathetic
One of the hallmark qualities of the best virtual receptionists is their ability to be empathetic. Empathy is different from sympathy, and it requires you to walk in another person’s shoes, and take helpful actions. Call center professionals do this every single day of their lives. Learn from their empathy, and be empathetic toward your customers and your business partners or employees, so that you understand what they expect from you as a leader. When you know what your customers want, how your employees want to be treated and encouraged, and what your business partners expect from you, you will have arrived as a top-notch entrepreneur.
- Wear a smile
Any call center employee or a virtual receptionist will tell you, that it is not easy to put up a smiling face when your voice is drying out, your throat hurts from all the talking, and when someone on the other side of the phone is not being very kind. Yet, call center employees smile their way to helping callers, because that is how they cope with their stress. Similarly, you should wear a smile no matter what is happening, whether it is a good or a bad day. This will help you to maintain a cheerful outlook, and this positivity will reflect through your business, your employees and customer service.
- Be helpful
The most important job of a call center employee is to offer solutions to callers’ problems. They may have a query, a request, something might not be working, they may have a doubt, etc. A call center employee offers helpful solutions to whoever calls. As an entrepreneur, you should learn to how to alleviate your community's pain points. Yes, your community. Your company can effect the environmental and social well-being of your community. You may want to take initiatives that impact local communities, in addition to providing your customers with great products and services. There are many ways to accomplish this, volunteering is just one option.
- Remember details
Employees at an answering service provider know that even the smallest of details are important and that they come in handy when customers are facing problems. As an entrepreneur, you too must remember all the small details, and focus on launching services and products that truly matter. If you miss these observations in your day-to-day interactions with your peers, competitors, and members of the target market, you will miss out on providing innovative products and services.
- Be organized
Answering service agents know how to be efficient when a customer calls them up: by being well-organized. They keep all the data and software tools well organized and updated. They know that it helps to be prepared so that all information is immediately accessible when the time arrives. They are also often organized in their lives. They keep their work stations clean, have things easily available in their drawers, and make note of important dates and events in the calendar. As an entrepreneur, you need to be organized too, in order to be an effective leader and business owner. Being organized helps you become more productive and efficient, which indirectly and directly result in growth and success.
- Work hard
Every call center works hard: they answer your phone, help customers and solve their problems, take notes, etc. When one call is done, they move right on to the next. But they do take much deserved breaks in between, and socialize with other employees in the office. Similarly, you, as an entrepreneur, must learn to work hard. Working hard will fetch you business results, but taking breaks in between is equally important. This is something that you should always learn from hardworking, fun-loving answering service employees.
- Drink enough water
Quite literally, we know it's easy to forget! Call center employees always keep a glass of water handy, they take sips in between so that their throats aren’t inflamed, when they are constantly making and receiving telephone calls. Similarly, you, as an entrepreneur, must drink enough water to keep you fresh and hydrated, throughout the day. After all, if you are fresh and healthy, you will be able to make better decisions. In addition, include the habit of eating healthy and getting some exercise and sun.
- Find time for “me” time
Every call center worker unwinds at the end of the day, and in fact, they are often told to do this when they are being trained. Helping customers can be great fun, but one needs time for oneself too. Similarly, you should make some time for yourself, and unwind at least for an hour in a day. This could be going for a run, working out in the gym, watching into nothingness and blanking out, and just about anything that might give you some peace. You will feel energized and be back to building your business all over again.
As you can see, entrepreneurs can learn a lot of things from call center employees. Not only is it important to be patient, empathic, and consistent, it is also important to find time for yourself, take care of your body, and remain cheerful in the face of adversities. If you would like to find out how our virtual receptionists deal with tough situations, do write to us or give us a call, and we might be able to help and inspire you to run your business better!