Angela shares 5 things she’s learned about small business aches and pains, and the advice she gives to her own team of small-to-medium-sized enterprise (or SME) helpers.
1. No two days are the same
For a small business owner, even a ‘tight ship’ can be easily rocked by staff turnover, legislation changes, and cash flow. I speak to many small business owners that employ a lot of casual staff members, and when turnover comes around, it can be very stressful if they feel locked out of systems they don’t understand. Luckily, we can be flexible and agile with our response, especially on our Business Flex options. Most of the time, once I chat to my client, it’s a relatively easy fix.
2. Business owners are always busy…
The advice I give to small business owners all the time is to take the time to understand your plans and devices and share that knowledge through your business. We’re well and truly in the smartphone era, and it’s easier than ever to make sense of your tech. Having a working knowledge of the tools available to you will help you get the maximum value and avoid unnecessary headaches.
3. …But most of them still have time to chat!
When you’re helping clients on the phone all day, you don’t just talk ‘business’, you talk about life. I know that behind their busy schedules, there are real people on the line. We chat about our kids, our families, and football –whatever’s important to them, really.
I have some great clients, from retailers to construction, to commercial cookeries, to beauty suppliers. One of my favourite clients is a beauty retailer that is really taking off. They’re a great team, and they’re really good to their employees. Whenever I see their products or walk into their store, I think, “I help them. Nobody knows it, but I’m a part of that.” And that makes me feel like what I do is really worthwhile.
4. Communication is key
Most of the problems I help to fix for my small business clients could be fixed by communicating more effectively. At the same time, in the contact centre, we share our clients’ issues in catch up meetings so we can build our knowledge base and get a shared, thorough understanding of our clients as a team. If one of us can’t get to the bottom of something, one of our colleagues has likely solved the same problem. We have structured standups and we use project management tools like Office Communicator and Trello, to keep us from getting bogged-down in emails.
5. We’re all human
Recently, a new team member of mine had a client whose issue seemingly just couldn’t be fixed, and the situation proved really frustrating. We took a breather, and I hopped on, introduced myself and we worked through it together. Eventually, it turned out that the client had, what we call, a “phantom bar” and with a replacement handset, the problem was resolved. At the end of the day, sometimes people get snappy, and what they need above anything else is to be heard.
At Vodafone, we know that personalised service is critical to small businesses. That’s why we offer dedicated Business Specialists, Local service, and Personal Managers like Angela for businesses with ten or more connections.
We’ll give your small business the kind of TLC you give your customers, because we know that’s what SMEs need from their telco to succeed.
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