In your business’s early days, you focus on getting high-quality products to your customers as quickly as possible. Because your attention is on production and marketing, you tend to let other parts of your company slide, especially those related to communication. If you want to ensure your company’s long-term success, give these issues your attention as soon as possible.
Right now, whoever is closest to the phone serves as your receptionist, if you even have an office phone. While this works for very small businesses, once you start gaining more customers, you need to have someone stationed at your phones constantly.
Otherwise, you risk missing phone calls that could change your company completely, including the following:
- Major orders from potential clients
- Promotions from vendors
- Important information about billing changes
- Special investment offers
If you can’t afford a full-time receptionist, pay for a live phone answering service.
With this service, someone at a third-party company answers your calls, forwards them to the necessary employees, and takes messages.
Since live phone answering services such as VoiceNation are offsite, you don’t even have to worry about making room in your office for a reception desk.
To further simplify this part of your company, digitize the rest of a receptionist’s jobs. Create an email for your business and link it to your personal email so you never miss a new online message.
Rather than having a receptionist hand out memos, send a company-wide email with news and updates. These steps not only save you money, but they also cut down on unnecessary communication.
Handling customer service issues yourself is acceptable when you only have a few complaints a month. However, as your customer base grows, so do your complaints, and you need dedicated customer service representatives to make sure everyone’s needs are met.
These workers handle the following duties:
- Product recalls
As you hire customer service representatives, make sure you choose friendly people with excellent communication skills.
Also, ensure that they have up-to-date product databases and shipping information to prevent more confusion and complaints.
One of the best ways to communicate with your customers is through social media. Most of them are willing to follow you on Facebook or Instagram even if they won’t sign up for your email newsletter. As soon as you have room in your budget, hire a dedicated social media coordinator to handle the following jobs:
- Post new content
- Promote search engine optimization blog posts
- Moderate comments
It’s no longer enough to simply post some photos of you and your employees and hope that your customers like them. Today, social media marketing is one of the most important parts of your long-term business strategy. You must stay current on updates in the world of social networking, and you must invest plenty of resources into your plan.
If you and your employees can’t communicate effectively with each other, it doesn’t matter how well you work with your customers. In an ideal world, your staff wouldn’t have any issues with each other, but that’s not realistic. Prepare for internal conflict by hiring human resources representatives, who address employee grievances. Their common duties include taking care of these issues:
- Discrimination complaints
- Sexual harassment reports
- On- and offboarding processes
- Workplace relationships
- Conflict resolution
Do not delay creating an HR team longer than necessary, because these issues are serious.
Handling employees’ complaints requires extensive knowledge of labour-related laws such as the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. While you should also understand these laws’ basic requirements, you do not have the time or expertise necessary to handle related complaints.
Your HR staff also works to prevent issues with communication in reception, customer service, and social media.
Frequently, HR departments hold diversity training to raise awareness about issues such as unintentional racism and ageism. They also teach your employees how to avoid microaggressions, inappropriate jokes, and other behaviours that keep your workplace from operating smoothly.
Once you’ve made it through your business’s first quarter, it’s time to focus on your communication skills. By hiring people to handle these areas of your company, you make sure that your employees and customers get the attention they deserve.