How can I do fewer “urgent + not important” tasks and more higher value activities?

This question is answered by our amazing partner, PartnerHero. Trust PartnerHero to give your customers an amazing experience so you can get back to growing your company.

Q: I’m often drowning in my inbox and spend a lot of time responding to pre-sales questions, logging customer feedback, etc. I don’t want to lose sight of what my customers want, but how can I get some of my time back so I can focus on higher value things?

It’s a great sign that you have an overwhelming number of customer emails. That means you’re striking a chord in your market! But it sucks to put out fires all day when you really want to spend your time on things that’ll actually move the needle.

The good news is there are a few ways you can address this problem. 

1. Invest in self-service options

Customers want answers to their questions as quickly as possible. Most people (like me) are happy to get those answers without needing to hop on live chat or send a support email. 

With some upfront investment, you can create self-service support options that include:

  • Knowledge base – Answers to your customers’ most frequently asked questions.
  • Blog – A great place to answer pre-sales questions with tutorials, teach users how to best use your product, etc. 
  • Chatbots – Have a chatbot respond to questions with answers from your knowledge base and blog.
  • User communities – Have your most active users help others get the most from your product. 

The big drawback is that you miss out on the one-on-one interactions with customers that sometimes surface useful insights. But if you're a startup trying to scale, these self-service options are worth investing in. 

2. Bring in members of other teams to help

Founders can’t do everything by themselves. They need to bring in other team members to help clear the support inbox, no matter what their job titles are. There are a few ways you could go about this:

  • Implement all hands support – Many companies involve everyone in customer service from day one, either forever or for a limited time. Zappos and Automattic (makers of WordPress) are well known for including a stint in customer support as part of their onboarding process.
  • Bring in specific teams – Another option is to escalate specific questions to team members best-suited to answering them, like routing highly technical questions to your engineers.
  • Use your team to reset – When you have a big product launch or other times where you need extra help, you can block off times in the calendar for your team to support with reaching inbox zero.

The other benefit of bringing in your team is that different people are in direct contact with customers. This spreads out and amplifies the learnings across the company. 

But there’s an opportunity cost to having team members answer customers when that’s not their primary job. Every minute they spend responding to an email is a minute they’re not spending on writing code or building ad campaigns, etc. 

3. Find external help

There’s one more option: outsourcing. I know, most people assume outsourcing = exploiting people overseas with broken English who give bad service. But this view is outdated.

There’s a new wave of companies, led by brands like PartnerHero, that will keep your customers happier than ever while spending 50% less than if you were to hire a team in-house.

PartnerHero focuses on treating people well and delivering a customer experience that acts like an extension of your brand. They can build programs that’ll get you (and your engineers) out of the inbox so you can focus on growing your startup.

Everything’s custom-built for your needs so if you have a more technical product that requires a higher level of support, or if you simply want to make sure customer feedback is reported well to your product team, they can make it happen. 

Great customer experience reduces churn, increases LTV, and drives more referrals. So if you’re looking to reclaim your time and focus on the things that grow your business, reach out to PartnerHero