7 Ways Solopreneurs Can Seamlessly Offer an Elite Customer Experience

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A happy customer comes from a good customer experience (CX). A good CX requires professional and consistent support throughout the entire customer journey. This means providing high-quality customer service (CS) both before and after the point of sale.

Larger companies can devote individuals and even entire departments to sustaining elite CS. But what about small businesses? What about solopreneurs?

Research shows that 81% of small businesses are made up of single individuals operating without any employees. It is a challenge for these solopreneurs to run their businesses, do their work, and still support customers at a high level.

It’s a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. Here are several ways I’ve discovered that you can provide enterprise-level CS as a single-employee business without exhausting yourself in the process.

1. Centralize Your Communications

For the customer’s sake, it’s wise to offer CS through a select number of options, such as email, phone, and social media. But I’ve found when you’re operating on your own, you can’t spread your attention over too many communication channels. Responding to the sheer number of notifications can be a full-time job, and bouncing between platforms is a nightmare.

Of course, you still want to provide that omnichannel experience that maximizes CX. I believe striking a balance is the best option here. Fortunately, there are tools that help centralize communications without removing communication channels.

Thryv, for instance, offers a free Command Center feature that combines over a dozen communication channels into a single, easy-to-use inbox. Solutions like this can help you stay on top of communications without dealing with overwhelm as you go along.

2. Structure Your Days

It’s important to put the right tools in place to help you thrive. However, I’ve learned the hard way that you also need to hone some soft skills and intangibles if you want to avoid burnout and overwhelm while managing your CS.

One of the best ways to do this is by practicing better CS discipline. This looks like two things.

First, you want to be available whenever is reasonably possible. Don’t hide from or avoid your customer service duties. That looks bad. Second, make sure to establish boundaries. You may technically be available at 6 p.m., but if your CS hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., leave a response until the next day.

3. Lean on Self-Serve Content

Self-serve content is a godsend for solopreneurs. It allows you to provide helpful, meaningful answers for individuals and removes the need for them to contact you directly.

G2 points out that there are multiple kinds of self-serve content that are worth considering. This starts with basic knowledge centers or collections of information housed on a company blog or FAQ section of your site.

More sophisticated options, like mobile help applications and chatbots, are also helpful. While they were once expensive solutions reserved for enterprises with more resources, now anyone can create a simple app or set up a chatbot to handle basic CS inquiries.

4. Track Metrics

Metrics matter in CS just as much as in sales, marketing, and other key areas of business. As a solopreneur, metrics can give you clearer insight into how your customer service is working and if it is satisfying customer needs.

Zendesk points out that there are countless CS metrics you can track. Some of these are more important than others, depending on your particular situation.

The CS software brand lists things like CSAT (customer satisfaction) and CES (customer effort) scores as top-level priorities. However, if those are too sophisticated for your needs, you can simply observe something like social media mentions or the number of resolved customer questions. Use this data to direct and refine your CS over time.

5. Learn to Prioritize

Prioritization is key in business. As a single-person business, you already prioritize by focusing on the most important thing at any given moment.

You can prioritize within your CS efforts, too. In fact, you have to if you want to provide high-quality service.

This requires the ability to identify customer communications that are time-sensitive. If someone has a question about a missing package, they should get an answer right away. If another person is wondering if you’re running a sale this Christmas, you can wait a reasonable amount of time to respond.

6. Improve as You Go

Feedback is a powerful tool. It helps you hone your craft and build your business.

If you want to improve your customer service efforts, don’t be afraid to ask what people think of how you’re doing. Be polite in responding and use each opportunity to grow.

You can ask for feedback in different ways. For instance, you can pop up a post on social media or send out an email survey. You can even ask for feedback at the end of each CS interaction. Use these opportunities to learn and grow.

7. Be Honest

Finally, remember to be honest and transparent throughout your customer service interactions. The truth is, you aren’t a major enterprise. You aren’t even a typical small business.

You’re just you. And that’s okay.

In fact, being open about managing your own customer service can have a positive effect on your overall CS. Don’t be afraid to leverage your solopreneur status as you go along.

To be clear, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse. Instead, let people know that you want to help them and you’re ready to go above and beyond to do that, even though it’s just you manning the ship. This will set expectations and create a more relatable, open, and honest tone from the get-go with each interaction.

Dominating CS as a Solopreneur

Good customer service doesn’t have to be instantaneous or flawless. It needs to be clean, professional, organized, and honest.

As a solopreneur, most customers won’t expect you to respond to their inquiries as if you have the resources of a Big Tech brand or retail giant. Instead, use the tips above to keep your CS efforts focused and effective — all without exhausting yourself in the process.

Image credit: The Coach Space; Pexels

Chalmers Brown
Chalmers is the Co-founder and CTO of Due. He writes for some of the largest publications and brands in the world including Forbes, The Next Web, American Express, and many more.