Step up your customer service to go full-time

Where I work.

I listen to dreams, from those that share with me that they too one day, want to leave corporate and do what they love full-time.  It’s anything and everything, from graphic design, marketing, photography to making things.

So when I hear that I’ve referred business to those people and my friend hasn’t heard back for days, I scratch my head wondering, Just how badly do they really want it?  Because you really have to want it badly if you’re going to be working for yourself one day.  In fact, you’re gonna have to want it really bad every day to get things going and bring in a check.  I juggled a full-time job in marketing (I negotiated to work 32 hours for 4 workdays therefore getting Fridays off), I managed to successfully keep my photography and graphic design businesses afloat so the leaving corporate world forever was a smooth transition.

Here are some easy tips to upgrade your customer service now so it’ll be a breeze when you go full-time.  It all starts with your service.

  • Answer emails in a timely manner.  As in, every day.  Answer in the morning, answer on your lunch break and at the end of the day.  I often get emails that say, “Wow, thanks for getting back to me so quickly.”  And if you have a full-time job, you still offer top notch customer service and take your business calls on breaks and go outside.  Respect your day job, but learn to give your potential customers and current clients quick replies.
  • Be polite, always.  Even when you’re super mad and that person is totally in the wrong and their attitude is uncalled for.  Take a deep breath. Know that while the customer is supposed to always be right (you’ll soon find out that’s not really the case), your customer always has to be treated with respect.  You can simmer down a situation just with your tone and approach, remember that.
  • You work your tail off on evenings and on weekends.  Because really, that’s the only time you have to dedicate to growing the other business as you juggle a full-time job.
  • Take your calls outside.  If you’re working full-time, you have lunch breaks.  That’s when you excuse yourself to make these business calls.  Eat your lunch outside, away from work as you catch up for the hour.  Run your errands for your “second job” during that time.
  • Act like this is your full time job.   No one really has to know you have another job, I don’t know if that really makes anyone more legit in their business but it’s making your customers feel like you are paying attention to them and on call as if you are running this service full-time.  Which means, being accessible and as stated earlier, being punctual.
  • Market yourself.  Use social media to market your skills, tweet, blog and Facebook regularly so the world knows you’re alive.  Do this on your lunch time or mini breaks so your employer doesn’t get upset.
  • Network.  Now is better time than ever to meet with those in the industry and see how they are liking it or managing their work, full-time or not.  Meet with other vendors you hope to work with.  It’s so encouraging to meet with others and share dreams and even struggles.  The closer knit your network, the more you will be motivated.

Customer service is an art and it’s an important entity of business.  Remember you can have an amazing talent but without business sense and strong marketing skills, no one will know you exist!  Excellent customer service paired with beautiful imagery will ensure your businesses can skyrocket when it’s time to make that gutsy jump.  You can do it.  Make this year your last year working that job you dislike.

Diana Elizabeth remembers taking calls at work and having to basically run in the hallway or in the elevator to take the calls.  She found that setting up her foundation while she was still working was incredible beneficial when she decided to go full-time.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.

1 Comment

  • Tim Poole

    Diana, very timely and important blog. As the saying goes, you walk the talk. You have always answered my emails, no matter how trivial, within 24 hours and most of the time much quicker. In fact, I am convinced the “no answer” is becoming the acceptable way of communicating. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

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