Every entrepreneur understands that from time to time, their limits will be tested.
But when you’re being tested on a daily basis, it’s only a matter of time before you start feeling burned out.
Oftentimes, it’s having to deal with customers that put the most pressure on business owners.
Customer service can prove to be more stressful than any other aspect of your business. The pain of troubleshooting complicated issues and hearing from dissatisfied clients day-by-day can easily put anyone on edge.
Here, we’ll take a look at how entrepreneurs can avoid being overwhelmed despite all the tension that comes with customer support.
Tidy Up Your Inbox
A disorganized email system can make it more difficult to deal with all the messages you’re getting, so the very first step in preventing customer service burnout is uncluttering your mail.
You’d want to organize your mail in the manner of importance. Be sure to prioritize your inbox so that the most important messages come up on top. You can also create labels or folders where you can revisit emails that don’t warrant immediate responses in the future.
You might want to set up a secondary email that’s not work-related so the non-urgent, personal messages don’t flood your mail.
You should also unsubscribe from unnecessary emails or newsletters and create a separate folder for old conversations that you might need in the future, instead of keeping them in the main inbox.
Many entrepreneurs have a bad habit of checking their inbox first thing in the morning, which creates unnecessary stress before your workday even begins. Give yourself quiet time in the morning to prepare yourself for the mental challenge ahead.
Work in Blocks
Forcing yourself to answer every customer support question as you see them can be daunting. After all, there can be hundreds of them on any given day, and even if you work nonstop, your inbox will never reach zero.
What you can do is set blocks of time in the day dedicated to answering emails only. Dealing with a couple of complaints for about half an hour in the morning, afternoon, and evening is better than trying to finish them all in a single work session. You’ll also be able to formulate better responses and solve problems more quickly if you haven’t tired yourself out answering emails for hours.
Having a schedule for when to check your mail will also help keep your focus, rather than dropping off important work to answer messages as they arrive. Be sure to mute notifications to avoid getting distracted in the middle of crucial tasks.
Use Canned Responses
In many cases, entrepreneurs would have to send the same messages over and over again, especially when they are to answer customer queries about a specific product or service. You’d want to create templates that you can easily pull up to answer repeated questions.
Canned responses can save you tons of time and mental energy so that you can spend them on more meaningful tasks. Aside from answering the same questions, canned responses can also be used in scheduling meetings and sending routine paperwork.
Here’s an excellent step-by-step guide in creating canned responses in Gmail.
Know When to Delegate
It can be hard to keep a work inbox sane, especially when your business starts to grow. And it’s easy for entrepreneurs to feel obliged to answer every email 24/7 in an attempt to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Don’t fall into this trap. Every successful business owner knows the importance of accepting help and learning to let go. Not every customer issue requires your attention.
Consider training one of your best employees to serve as your personal assistant. You can start delegating the smallest tasks to test their competence and gradually increase their responsibilities. Remember, you don’t want them to feel overwhelmed either.
When your assistant is ready, set up a separate email to filter support inquiries and other general business questions that your assistant is able to answer.
Spend Time With Your Employees
Support days may seem long and never-ending, and you would need the help of your employees to stay positive. Whether you’re running a fully-staffed office or a virtual startup, make sure to connect with your employees and set fun meetups whenever possible.
Spending time with your staff is a great way to build a work culture that would boost everyone’s morale. Happy employees are known to be more productive at work, and the more effective they are, the happier your customers will be as well. Moreover, having a good relationship with everyone on the team can help you feel more grounded and less overwhelmed.
Focus on Your Company’s Vision
Without good vision, any company would crumble to pieces. Your vision is what keeps you directed and focused on both your short and long-term goals. Your vision for your company will keep you anchored and determined to face whatever challenges are thrown your way. It’s what makes everything else worth it.
In the customer support aspect of your business, you will have to deal with different kinds of people. In many cases, you will have to stay humble and swallow your pride. Focusing on your vision can help you keep your personal feelings in check and build the patience that you need to handle even the most difficult customers with poise.
Take Some Time Off
It’s easy to feel like you can’t leave the team alone and all those messages unanswered when you’re the boss, but the sad truth is, you are more likely to lose your cool and experience burnout if you overwork yourself. Working like crazy can take a huge toll on your health and prevent you from producing meaningful work because you are too exhausted to focus.
A stressed-out boss who’s constantly angry is useless to the team. You have to set a good example and become a supportive, positive, encouraging employer that everyone wants to follow.
Taking a vacation, whether local or overseas, can help you blow off some steam and unplug from your daily worries.
That said, it’s equally important to pick a relaxing, highly-rated destination to ensure that your time off will be worthwhile. Going on a vacation that ends up in disaster will only stress you out even more. Splurge a little bit on luxury hotels and avoid poorly-reviewed accommodations like Motel 6.
Don’t forget to set up an autoresponder to let anyone who messages you know that you are away. That way, you won’t feel guilty and tempted to open your inbox.
Trust in your team to manage for a little while without you and let all your anxieties go so that you can come back well-rested and ready to tackle a whole new set of challenges ahead. Just be sure to make the necessary preparations and assign a responsible and trustworthy leader to oversee things while you’re away.
Entrepreneurs tend to wear several different hats, and it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed, especially when it comes to customer service. If you feel like you’re starting to lose it, apply one or all of these tips, take a deep breath, and be sure to talk to someone about it!