Building trust in a virtual workplace

Building trust in a virtual workplace

How to Build Trust in a Virtual Workplace


Building trust in a virtual workplace is the cornerstone of all high-performance organizations. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, high-performance companies report 50% more productivity, 76% more engagement, 74% less stress & 70% more alignment with company purpose. 

In a virtual workplace, building trust has its own unique challenges. Without casual interactions at the water cooler, it becomes more difficult to build rapport. Often colleagues lose context for each others’ actions in a remote setting, unable to intuitively pick up on external behaviour influences. Finally, as is always the case, digital communication leaves room for many misunderstandings. 

So how do leaders build trust in a virtual workplace?  

It comes down to a number of factors. The first is kindness.

It may seem over simplified, but treating people with respect is the first step to building a trusted environment. How does this work in a virtual setting? It means allowing for flexibility, understanding that working from home may have some unique challenges and making space for that. Successful leaders carve out time to work with each employee one on one. Additionally, they set up regular weekly meetings as a team to stay connected. Not only that, they know it is important to allow time for employees to connect with each other, so they create opportunities for that. 

Building trust in the virtual workplace requires competence.

Strong leadership skills like communication and transparency are key when working with a team remotely. With so much opportunity for misinterpretation, it is imperative that leaders put communication at the top of their priority list. They don’t always need to have all the answers, but they must be honest about it when they don’t. These actions build a solid foundation for their team.  

Successful remote leaders possess is reliability.

 When building trust, it is essential to do what you say you are going to do. If you promised to send follow up documents at a certain time, ensure that you do. Stand by your commitments, try not to cancel meetings last minute, let your team know that you value their time.  

They foster connection

 Finally, successfully commanding a virtual team, requires creating a genuine connection. Ensuring that your camera is on for every online meeting. Looking directly at the camera emulates eye contact. Making efforts to connect ‘off-line’ via check-in texts and phone calls. Lastly, making sure your team feels comfortable to reach out when they are facing challenges without fear of repercussions. 

 
More and more companies are veering toward a virtual model based on the current situation, but also in a more longer term capacity. Understanding the unique challenges you may face as a remote leader will ensure that you are equipped to succeed. 


If you’d like assistance with building a virtual team, we can help!  

The real cost of missing a call

The real cost of missing a call

The real cost of missing a call

You’ve heard us chat about this before. The real cost of missing a call, especially on the first attempt. First, it may not shock you to know that 75% of callers hang-up if they get a voicemail. However, did you realize that 85% of those callers, never call back? Obviously, the potential revenue loss is substantial, but just how substantial?

Let’s find out just how much it costs to miss a call

A few weeks ago, our Director of Operations, Brandon, held a webinar about your phone line as your life line. In it, he opened with an example of the actual monetary cost to missing a call from a prospective customer.

Here is the breakdown he supplied: For the sake of this example, let’s assume your average customer order comes in around $75 and the average amount it costs to take a call is $5. Using these parameters, it is pretty clear to see that the cost to missing one call is $65. However, what if that customer was actually calling to book a 12 week package, with one order per week for the next 12 weeks. The cost to take the call is the same, but the potential revenue jumps to $900. In this scenario, the cost of missing the call jumps to $895.

Intangible costs to missing a call

However, that’s not where it ends.

Wasted Marketing Efforts

Let’s start to take into consideration some of the intangible costs to missing this call. For instance, you likely spend money on various sources of marketing for your business. In most cases, this marketing is aimed at driving calls to your location. Now that you’ve missed this call, that money that you’ve allocated to promotion, is essentially wasted.

Competitor Boost

Since we now know that 85% of callers do not call back, we can safely assume they have moved on to the next company on their list. If that company, your competitor, was able to take that call, then they are reaping the benefits of that new customer, including their lifespan purchases and referrals.

Reputation

When you’re unable to manage your calls, it sends a message to your clients that you are not managing your business well enough to handle inquiries. It doesn’t take much for a potential customer to wonder if that mis-management will lead into your product or service delivery.

Lifetime Value Loss of missing a call

In our example at the beginning of this article, we broke down a few examples of potential revenue loss from a call. However, what you really need to look at is the potential lifetime loss of missing that call and potential new client. To calculate this amount, you must first determine what your annual average customer value is. To do this, multiply your average order value ($75 in our example above) by the average number of orders you receive from a single client in the run of a year. For this example, let’s assume you see this client weekly for 4 months of the year, approximately 16 orders/year. So, in this example, the annual average customer value is $1200. Now, you must determine what your average customer lifespan is. For our example, we’ll say 5 years.

Therefore, the approximate lifetime value loss for a single client is $6000.

That is a substantial loss for missing a single phone call. If you’re looking to up your game but having an in-house receptionist isn’t in the cards, consider hiring a virtual receptionist. Our customized service helps to bridge this gap, keeping your reputation in tact and your books in the black.

Click here to get started!

How to deal with an angry customer on the phone – 10 steps

How to deal with an angry customer on the phone – 10 steps

If you work in customer service, chances are you’ve had at least one run-in with an angry customer on the phone. 

Believe it or not, with the proper tools, it is possible to turn a nasty situation with an angry customer into a positive outcome. As customer service experts, we have dealt with our share of difficult situations. These are our top 10 tips for turning a customer’s frown, upside down.

First up, listen.

In many cases, the customer just needs to get something off of their chest. Giving them the space to talk it out maybe enough to deescalate the situation. Make sure to offer constructive responses and to stay calm, even if the customer is getting heated. Really listening to what they have to say allows you to gain insight into the situation but also show genuine concern for their dissatisfaction.

Validate the problem

Whether the angry customer is in the right or not, they perceive themselves to be. Acknowledging their feelings can help to quickly bring down their emotion. Talking down to a customer or not taking their concerns seriously will only fuel their anger and will not help to resolve the issue.

Keep your emotions out of it

As difficult as it may be, try to keep your emotions low when dealing with an angry customer. You may have heard of the saying, “Emotions high, intelligence low”. When we are speaking from emotion, often we are not speaking rationally. The key is to separate yourself from their emotion. Treat them objectively, as a problem to be solved.

Practice pleasantries

Believe it or not, being pleasant is a skill. The best part is, it is a skill you can practice and master. Speak to yourself in the mirror in a pleasant tone. Respond to friends and family in a practiced tone. Most of all, remember to smile in your responses, which will automatically enhance your telephone tone and demeanour.

Get to the bottom of things

Figuring out what is actually bothering the angry customer will help to level the playing field quickly. Getting to the bottom of their discomfort will allow you to move into problem solving mode and hopefully resolve the issue.

Offer Solutions

While apologizing for the customer’s dissatisfaction is certainly recommended, offering solutions is also necessary. If possible, provide several options for the customer to consider. Having choice will give them control, which typically diffuses an angry situation quickly.

Avoid delays

If possible, avoid putting the customer on hold. Adding additional wait time will only make the situation worse. That said, sometimes you have to confer with others to solve a problem. In such cases, try to keep the customer on the line so they know you are working hard to find a solution.

Be Transparent

Trying to solve problems with lies or vague responses will not alleviate the situation. Instead, be clear, tell the truth and admit wrong doing if warranted. It can be tempting to simply tell the angry customer what they want to hear, but that will only lengthen the process. Find a real solution and if you’re unable to resolve it on the phone, find someone that can.

Find a way to relate to the situation

Having empathy for what the customer is going through will allow you to be considered relatable. Even if you don’t have a direct connection to the person or perhaps even the outcome, letting them know you understand their position will go a long way.

Know when to quit

If all else fails and the customer is still angry and aggressive, know when you’ve reached your limit. If you’ve gone through all of the above tips and the person refuses to calm down and continues to yell or speak rudely, it may be time to end the call. 

When is an answering service right for your business?

When is an answering service right for your business?

When is an answering service right for your business?

It can be difficult for busy business owners to measure when it may be time to hire a virtual receptionist. The most obvious question is when does the benefit outweigh the cost? Luckily, there are several key indicators that can help determine the answer.

Professional Image

If your business requires the image that you’re ‘always on’ or that you have a large support system in place, missing calls can be a huge red flag for clients. As a business owner, you may not be able to answer every call that comes in. Or if you are, chances are you’ve been caught with your dog barking in the background or sounding out of breath as you run out to complete an errand. Even with a full time receptionist or support team, between sick time and vacation days, gaps will arise. If your professional image can’t afford to have missed calls, it may be time to look into receptionist support.

Business Growth Opportunities

As your productivity grows, so do your opportunities for growth. I can be overwhelming as more calls come in while you’re trying to hold everything else down. A professional answering service can alleviate the pressure of mounting inquiries, allowing you to focus on building your business. If you’ve noticed that your call volume has increased to a level you can’t keep up with, it may be time to hire a virtual receptionist.

Affordability

It may seem like a frivolous expense to hire an outside company to answer your calls. However, if you look at the cost to set up a similar service in-house, it may not seem quite as daunting of an expense. Not only will it cost much less to hire a third party, your team won’t be interrupted incessantly by the phones ringing each day, lending to higher levels of productivity! So, if you’ve been thinking about expanding your support team, it may be time to consider a third-party instead.

If any of these indicators sound familiar, it might be time to take your business to the next level by working with a virtual receptionist. If you’d like a quick demo of how Smiledog works for our clients, click here! 

 

The science behind answering the phone with a smile

The science behind answering the phone with a smile

It may sound like a gimmick, but believe it or not, answering the phone with a smile makes a difference. Not only that, there are scientific reasons to back it up. We believe in this so much at Smiledog, we named our company based on this premise. Today on the blog, we’re going to identify how it works.

Smiling affects your vocal tone

The acoustic effects of a smile’s stretched lips on speech changes the tone of your voice. In fact, when you’re auditory smiling, your tone is upbeat and friendly. Often the effect is so obvious that you may not even realize it until you’re smiling yourself in response!

This response is so powerful that we train our Smile Team to start smiling before they even answer a call. Try it, you’ll find that regardless of what you say, if you say it with a smile, it will have a positive outcome.

Moods are contagious

Moods are as contagious as the common cold. Psychologists call this phenomenon emotional contagion. It is actually a three step process where one person’s feelings and demeanor transfer to another. The first stage is called non-conscious mimicry, where you mimic the other person’s actions, often subconsciously. Second, you experience the feedback from the action, meaning if you frowned you may feel sad and conversely, if you smiled, you may feel happy. Lastly, you begin to synchronize your emotions until the nonverbal cues of those around you physically alter your own behavioural state.

When customers call in a frustrated or angry state, greeting them with an upbeat and positive tone and demeanor can change the course of the call nearly instantaneously.

Smiling actually makes you happy

Having a bad day when you work in customer service just isn’t an option! That’s not to say it doesn’t happen from time to time. Research suggests that even forced smiles can boost your mood. A smile spurs a powerful chemical reaction in the brain that can make you feel happier. We encourage our team to smile before, during and after their calls. Hopefully they’re mostly genuine, but if needed, our team knows they can quickly boost their mood by forcing a smile, in most cases, it doesn’t take long before they’re smiling for real.

There you have it, smiling is a simple, but effective, action that can improve your mood and in our case, also improve the experience that your customer receives. If you’re not convinced, give it a try and see for yourself how powerful a simple smile really is.

3 Phone Follies Losing Your Chiropractic Clinic New Patients (which are you guilty of?)

3 Phone Follies Losing Your Chiropractic Clinic New Patients (which are you guilty of?)

Missed calls, calls that go to voicemail and callers who put on hold are the #1 source of lost revenue for chiropractic clinics.

Most new patients begin their search for a Chiropractor with Google. This medium offers a great opportunity if you’re good with the Google to position your website in front of the prospects. 

However, it’s also easy for a new patient to just call someone else if your phone goes unanswered or they’re forced to wait on hold for too long.

This article covers the three phone issues costing Chiropractic clinics new patients every month. Which is happening in your clinic?

 

#1 “Can You Hold a Moment?”

 

PROBLEM:If you have in-house reception, you’ve heard it before. The phone’s answered, and person calling hears “thank you for calling … can you hold a moment”.A caller is put on hold most often when there’s someone in the clinic that requires service. The idea that the patient in the office takes precedence is true. However, it’s not excellent customer service to put someone on hold for a minute or two either.I think if you took a survey you’d find that more often than not people asked to hold a moment, who aren’t current customers, end up hanging up if waiting more than 30-45 seconds.

 

Setting up backup reception, where calls that go unanswered within the first 3-4 rings bounce to an offsite virtual receptionist automatically. The virtual receptionist can answer the call live, and no one gets put on hold. Every caller gets to speak to a live person, and your clinic doesn’t miss out on new potential patients.

 

#2 No Receptionist (or not full-time)

 

PROBLEM:If you’ve recently started or run a small practice then not having an in-house receptionist or maybe only having someone part-time is the norm. Staff costs money, and when starting out money isn’t always something we have. It becomes a chicken or the egg type discussion.Missed calls can mean lost revenue from both current and new prospective patients.

 

SOLUTIONConsider hiring an offsite virtual reception service either part or full-time to handle incoming patient phone calls. If you use a cloud-based calendar booking service such as Cliniko or JaneApp, a virtual receptionist can even book patient appointments for you.

 

#3 Flexible Hours = Voicemail

 

PROBLEM:Having regular business hours for a chiropractic practice can hurt new patient acquisition. Not everyone can come in 9-5 Monday to Friday. You know this, and we know this. Flexible clinic hours such as closing two mornings a week but staying open until 8 pm those same days are often the norm, but who’s picking up the phone if someone calls on those mornings no one there?New patients are often lost this way as people tend not to leave a voicemail. It’s too easy to just move on to the next Chiropractor in line on Google.

 

Part-time and backup offsite virtual reception can be set up to only answer calls that aren’t picked up by the 3rd ring in your office. So, outside business hours, or when your in-house receptionist is busy with another patient, callers will still get a live person to speak too.

 

Lots of Other Choices

 

The fact is most people looking for a chiropractor to visit are using the Internet, more specifically, Google. When they search for “chiropractor city name” there are at least ten choices that come up. The commitment level to have to get you on the phone isn’t that high. A simple back button click gives them another nine choices.All this choice is why it’s essential that you maximize every call. You don’t know which ones are current patients that may wait or call back and which are potential new patients looking for a provider.

 

SOLUTION = Offsite Virtual Reception

 

 

Offsite virtual reception services, such as Smiledog, answer incoming calls just as an in-house receptionist would. Want to see how we do it? Check out our demo video and price guide here. Depending on the appointment booking system you use in your clinic we can even book new patient assessments and current patient appointments* without you even needing to speak with your client.We work with dozens of Chiropractic and wellness clinics across Canada and the US; watch one of our testimonial videos below from Dr. Nick Stryniak.

 

Online Booking? No Problem!

 

Thanks to online apps like Cliniko, Jane App, and a few others, offering online appointment booking is a breeze. Virtual reception services, such as Smiledog, can use these online book apps to book in current and new patients right on your calendar while you’re with another patient. Want to see how we make this work for Chiropractors and wellness clinics? Check out our appointment setting demo video and price guide here.