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Email Replies: 5 Best Hacks on how to Start Getting Them Every Time

Getting prompt email replies has been a life-long dilemma associated with emailing. Emails are the go-to mode of communication for every business person. And as such, the importance of emails cannot be overstated.

Whenever an email is sent, a response is expected from the recipient. If a response is not received, the purpose of sending the email is ultimately defeated.

As a business person, you might have concerns from time to time about the effectiveness of the emails you send. Although those concerns can be initially vague, they become more straightforward when you remember that every email is intended to achieve a result. The result depends on the theme of the project. Emails are sent to request information, communicate vital information to clients and co-workers, apply for contracts, and more. The purposes for emails are as varied as the business operations of the companies that send them.

While emails do not (and ideally, should not be expected to) have the same outcomes, getting email replies every time has some benefits.

Benefits of Getting Email Replies Every Time

There is an assuring aura around getting prompt email replies. It can give you a feeling of effectiveness, which can significantly boost your morale. And when your enthusiasm is raised, your co-workers also feel it. The work pace is fast, and business goals are more quickly met.

Notably and interestingly, you can consider prompt email replies as a metric for influence and productivity. Granted, what another person chooses to do (replying or not replying to your emails is one of those choices) is mostly beyond your control. However, you can take advantage of some hacks to increase your chances of getting prompt email replies. 

email replies
Illustration of envelope

How to get Email Replies Every Time

Businesses and individuals you communicate with via email receive tons of emails every day. As a result, the odds of you getting email replies are low. This reality is why you should strive to make your emails stand out. You can do so precisely with the following:

1. Directly Ask for a Response

If you want your emails to be replied to promptly, then state them in your email. Do it directly and assertively. This may seem just an easy method out, but it's one of the most effective methods of getting prompt email replies. There are many ways to go about this. However, the most popular is specifically including RESPONSE NEEDED in the subject line. This addition can help to create a sense of urgency in your recipient. Immediately they see it; they automatically get triggered to reply as soon as they can. What makes this method most effective is it states translates your request to the recipient without them having to decipher t for themselves.

2. Make the Recipient Feel at Home

The logic to this is that making your email's potential recipient as comfortable as possible makes them more inclined to reply. Several studies have revealed that emails written in more straightforward, less-flowery words tend to be more often replied to than those that are not. This tip makes sense: if your recipient needs to look up words or is generally made uncomfortable with your style, he might be pissed. The consequence of that will be an unreplied email.

We advise a third-grade language. It is the most effective. A recent study by the email productivity company, Boomerang, found that emails written in third-grade language have a whopping 36% advantage in response rate over those written in a college-level language.

3. Start with a Clear Request

While you should directly ask for a response to your email right from its beginning and use words that the potential recipient will be comfortable reading, you still should not relegate the importance of clarity. You can attempt to trip the recipient with your direct request for a response and be down-to-earth in your communication with them, but if they cannot understand your email's theme or core message, they might still not be encouraged to reply at all.

A way to circumvent that is to Start with your request. Make it clear in such a way that they would not have to ask further questions. That way, you will be getting email replies right away. Do you want them to send a document regarding a shared business operation? Would you like to have lunch with them by 2 to discuss it? State this clearly.

4. Strive to Evoke Positive Emotions

A vital knowledge piece in copywriting: as humans, we base our consumer decisions on emotion and then rationalize them with logic. By and large, emotions are still the underlying factor for the goods and services we buy and our choices.

Imagine you had a terrible experience with a staffer of another company, and you want to complain to the customer support service. Of course, you can say (and maybe rightly so), “Mr. XXX is a completely obnoxious man…” This would not be very respectful and could go without getting any reply. However, framing your complaint as “I had a disappointing experience with Mr. XXX on October 15th. I do not know what the reason was, but I really wish he had treated me better…” This will even more easily fetch you an apology! This is an example of how to use your words to translate your emotions to get prompt responses.

5. Keep it Simple and Short

Finally, if you want to improve your emails’ response rate, start making them simpler and shorter. Studies have indicated that keeping emails short and straightforward has a magical effect on their response rate. The response rate is most optimal for emails between just 50 and 125 words. So, cut out all unnecessary details and go straight to the point of your email to get more email replies.

Conclusion

There you have five hacks that you should adopt to boost your chances of getting email replies.

  • Do not hesitate to ask for a response directly.
  • Make the recipient feel comfortable with your email.
  • Start with your request and make it as clear as you can.
  • Strive to evoke positive emotions even if the email is a complaint.
  • Keep it short and straightforward.

Despite their ostensible simplicity, those tips are highly practical. In fact, it is estimated that they help to reduce response time by half. It does not matter whether it is a product recommendation email or an introduction email to land your dream job that you are writing or you just want to ask for a salary raise for your teammates via email, what is important is that with the guide here, you can get email replies every time.

Hootsuite 2021 Review: Dashboard, Pricing, Analytics, Free Plan and More

If you’re a social media manager, you’re effectively wearing the hat of a content creator, content writer, copywriter, media strategist, crisis management specialist and more. You’re definitely a Jack of many trades and an expected master of all. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so good at what you do. And thanks to social media management tools like Hootsuite, getting your job done is a lot easier. 

What is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a social media management application that covers nearly every part of the job of a social media manager. It’s loaded with features that amplify your social media managing mojo, helping you complete tasks smoothly and seamlessly. 

From your Hootsuite dashboard, you’re able to do anything from curating material that’s both interesting and relevant to the brand you’re representing to scheduling articles, managing team members and calculating return on investment on promotional efforts. 

Hootsuite social media management and marketing app
Source: Hootsuite.com

A Run-through Our Hootsuite Review

Hootsuite is a complete toolkit you need if you're monitoring your brand's or business's social media performance. At the heart of the app's functionality, is the stream. It's an arrangement of vertical columns or feeds that show you what's happening in specific aspects of your social accounts. You can add multiple streams to your Hootsuite dashboard.

Hootsuite dashboard showing streams
Source: Hootsuite.com

While it's true that some social media platforms provide insights on the performance of organic and paid posts, Hootsuite brings all that information, from different accounts, together in one dashboard. So that at one glance, you can tell what's happening on at least three different social accounts. This comes in very handy if you're managing multiple accounts.

In addition to the major social networks, Hootsuite also integrates with Google Plus, Blogger, Disqus, Channelview and over 140 other apps. This means that the usefulness of Hootsuite is nearly limitless.

While the functionality of the Hootsuite dashboard might remind one of a mission control monitor, it does have its downsides; one of which is the learning curve that you might have to go through before finally getting a hang of how it works. But when you do, it's worth it.

How to Use Hootsuite

We’ll start by listing out the social media platforms that Hootsuite supports or integrates with. They include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

Scheduling and Publishing Social Media Posts

Hootsuite Publish Screenshot
Source: Hootsuite.com

You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that it’s important to post on social media at the right times. If you put out a tweet when your target audience isn't online, the chances of them receiving your messages are slim. On the other hand, if you tweet, say, 15 things at once, you'll most likely swamp people's news feeds and because nobody likes to feel like they’re being spammed, you could lose followers quickly.

Timing is very important when it comes to putting out content on social media. Using a tool that helps you determine the optimal times for your posts is the best way to go about timing them correctly.

Scheduling posts is a great way to maintain consistency in your social media interactions. And many algorithms reward consistency by putting your organic posts in front of more people. So this is one hack you want to take advantage of if you're a new brand or business without a huge ad budget.

It's a straightforward process with Hootsuite. Simply go to your Hootsuite dashboard, select which accounts you'd like to post from, enter the text and any relevant media, and then click “Schedule for later.”

Social Media Monitoring

This is the process of ascertaining or finding out what is being said about a company, individual, or product via various social and internet channels. It’s about gathering as much data and information as possible, keeping track of what people are saying about you on social media. It also involves keeping track of what you've already accomplished and what's going on in your industry's social sphere.

If your business is going to go anywhere near the top, building a strong social media presence is something you must consider. Hootsuite makes it easy to do all of this. Just add a stream in your Hootsuite dashboard and you’ll be able to keep tabs on conversations about your company, industry, and products. You can track all these based on keywords, hashtags, locations, and even specific users. 

And just in case you’re wondering, “What’s a Hootsuite stream?” It’s a feed that shows content from your connected social profiles. You can add up to 10 streams and use them to monitor activity across all of your accounts and interact with your audience. Streams can show your own posts as well as the amount of engagement they're getting.

For instance, you can set up a stream for your mentions or tags, another for your feed, timeline or homepage and yet another for your scheduled posts. And you can set these streams for all your linked social accounts and manage them from your Hootsuite dashboard. 

Social Media Analytics

Hootsuite AnalyzeTeam Screenshot
Source: Hootsuite.com

Hootsuite’s Analytics comes with a lot of built-in features that can be used to track the general performance of your social media efforts across numerous platforms. On Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, analytics keeps track of organic, owned, and earned data. 

If you’re on the Enterprise plan (more about Hootsuite plans and pricing later), you can also track indicators of customer service performance like average response times and interaction volume.

Types of Data You Can Get with Hootsuite’s Analytics

The type of analytical information you can access with Hootsuite’s Analytics is super dependant on the plan that you’re on. Bearing that in mind, from your Hootsuite dashboard, you may access any of the following:

Quick views: This lets you see the general performance of your post and team. It also suggests the best time to publish your posts. And if you have the Amplify feature in use, it’ll help you see how your company’s employees are engaging with a post in a single glance. 

Thanks to the Post Performance feature, your published content is displayed once it has been performed, along with an overview of how it was received by your audience. 

With Team performance, results for critical parameters including team productivity, reaction time and resolution time are displayed. And based on the performance of your previous post(s), the Best Time to Publish feature provides recommendations for the best days and times to publish on social media that are customised to suit your business. 

The Amplify Leaderboard displays engagement numbers for your Amplify posts as well as a leaderboard that allows you to compare your results to those of others in your company.

Impact:  Analytics allows you to track the results of your efforts on social media and the return on investment it’s bringing. You can see the outcomes for all of your organic, paid and dark social media posts and focus your resources on the activities that get you the most results, the ones your audience enjoys or responds to the most.

My Reports: Create reports that are personalized and shared for your company. For Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, you can get a mix of overview reports and customisable reports. It all depends on how ready you are to take advantage of user-generated data and how much you’re willing to invest in it.

Apps – Analyze engagement and content with the powerful Unmetric Twitter stats

Hootsuite Plans and Pricing

Like most SaaS products, Hootsuite charges users on a per month basis. However, these charges are billed annually. That said, there are five Hootsuite plans – one free and four paid plans – for you to choose from. 

screencapture hootsuite plans upgrade 2021 08 03 07 07 54 edit
Source: Hootsuite.com
  • Free: This might be a limited version of the app but for small businesses, it’s a great place to start. It allows you to add and manage 2 of any of the social media accounts that Hootsuite supports. You’ll be able to schedule up to 5 posts for each account and integrate any number of apps you like from Hootsuite’s app directory.
  • The Professional plan is the least expensive of all 4 paid plans. At $19 per month, you can add and manage 10 social media accounts, enjoy unlimited post scheduling functionality and analytics reports across all 10 social accounts. On the downside, you can only add one user and the amount you can spend on ads (boosting posts) is limited to $500/month. 
  • With the Team plan, you’ll be charged $99 per month for access to add 20 social media accounts, 3 users and manage team members. You’ll also be able to suspend posts that you’ve scheduled (you can’t do that on the free or professional plans), enjoy a $2000/month ad spend limit and get analytics reports that can be customised to best serve your business’s purposes.
  • When you upgrade to the Business plan, you get everything that comes with the Team plan plus 35 social accounts and the ability to add up to 15 users. You’ll also get access to premium apps, ROI reporting and social listening service via add-ons, $5000/month ad spend limit. You get all of these and more for a whopping $599/month.
  • And the biggest of them all, the Enterprise plan. There’s practically no limit to what you can do, social media management wise, with this plan. You can add more than 50 social media accounts and an unlimited number of users. Needless to say, in addition to all the VIP extras that come with this plan, you also get all of the functionalities of the other plans. Payment for this plan is also customised based on your business' needs.

About Hootsuite

Ryan H

Hootsuite is the result of the innovative mind of Ryan Holmes, founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Hootsuite. He first launched the software in 2008 as a freemium product that would manage the social media aspect of his clients’ businesses at Invoke (Ryan’s digital media agency where Hootsuite was born). The product was so effective and successful that it attracted $1.9 million in an earlier Series A funding and became a separate business. 

Today, Hootsuite has grown not just in functionality but in popularity as well. It’s a leading social media management company that has gained the trust of millions of customers worldwide and a pretty large chunk of the Fortune 1000 market.

6 Essential Ingredients for a Customer Service Call Script

A customer service call script is easily the most essential tool for a customer service agent. The importance of excellent Customer Service to an organisation cannot be overemphasized. Sometimes, a company is as successful as its Customer service team. The Customer Service Team must be proficient enough to be able to keep customers loyal to an organisation.

In a survey by NIC Systems, about 90% of respondents preferred to speak to a customer service agent over the phone rather than walk into the company to fix the situation. That is a whopping 9 persons out of every 10. This means more organisations should be hiring live agents to handle their customer service section, but not only that, these employees must be well trained on how to speak to various calibres of clients over the phone. Why? Simply because a telephone conversation cannot be rehearsed, different customers will likely have various reasons for calling.

In this post, we have put together essential ingredients for a call script that any customer service agent must know to excel in his or her role while on a call with a client, and here they are:

call script
6 Essential Ingredients for a Customer Service Call Script 10

Essential Ingredients for a Customer Service Script Call

  1. Follow previous call records

Have you ever heard the “please note that your call may be recorded for training and quality assurance purposes” when you call the customer service line of an organisation? If yes, this is what it is used for. The company records telephone conversations to keep a tab on employee performance and use the recorded call as training material for recruits as they require a proper understanding of how to handle calls with customers with those needs.

What’s more, some clients may be rude and overbearing and every customer service personnel must know how to calm such customers and equally provide the necessary solution to the problem at hand. In general, recorded calls are used to produce better call scripts as the supervisor may pick on few recorded calls to listen from time to time and admonish the agent that handled the call.

Furthermore, recorded calls help organisations to produce conversational call scripts rather than memorised or rehearsed ones.

  1. Encourage Positive responses

When writing a call script, you can start with basic details such as name, date of birth, last transaction etc. Doing this helps an aggrieved customer relax for few minutes before bursting out whatever may be agitating him/her, moreover when people are allowed to affirm statements, it gives them a positive outlook.

Hence, when a customer calls and you got all their details right, you would have succeeded in allowing some time for a ‘cool off’, enabling you to carry out your task more calmly and professionally, instead of repeatedly saying ‘we apologise for every inconvenience caused’.

call script
6 Essential Ingredients for a Customer Service Call Script 11
  1. Be straightforward and concise

When a customer calls to resolve an issue, the best way to answer is to be straightforward and concise while being polite. When a call script is too long, it wears a customer out, since you are not a friend or business partner with whom the client intends to have a chit-chat. Moreso, a complex call may result in the client continuously saying, ‘sorry I don’t get you’, and before you know it, the call is cut off. To keep your scripts short and straightforward, revise it from time to time to ensure that only relevant issues are included and that it is as clear as possible.

  1. Let your call Script be customer-centric

Your scripts should be designed in such a way that there is enough space for the client to respond so that it is not a monologue where only the customer service agent speaks. when this is applied, you find out that your clients respond and are then willing to listen to you after they must have spoken. On the other hand, if the customer service agent continues to speak for so long without the customer being allowed to air his mind as soon as the call is picked, it will create more and more unhappy clients.

When customers call, they are also anxious to speak first that they often miss the basic greeting, hence, it is most important to allow customers to speak and explain what the issue is, while the customer service personnel reiterates his understanding of what was just explained.

Your Script should accommodate a way for service agents to repeat to the customer what the issue is, to ensure that the customer’s issue was gotten correctly so that the right solution is not proffered to the wrong issue.

  1. Be flexible

As earlier said, no matter the amount of training given via recorded calls, there will always be something a customer service agent needs to improve upon. In this regard, always review your script and make changes as appropriate. Use new requests and concerns received to update your call script.

Your call script should be very flexible, one that is adaptable and not so rigid. It shouldn't be distorted just because a line was added. To this end, each agent must be able to handle ‘out of the blue’ questions and answers, which will be based largely on his or her knowledge of the company’s products and policies, among others.

  1. Call scripts must be solution-orientated

Apologies are good but not usually enough to placate an aggrieved customer. Rather, include in your call script, phrases such as ‘I will get on that right away and give you a callback or an email once it's fixed. Customers want to know that you are working on fixing their issue immediately.

When your script is designed this way, a call that may have started on a negative note will end up positively. A further step to take is to empower the agent to solve the issue on their own, in the instance that there was no need for a call, however, when doing this, it must be done reasonably.

For better understanding, here’s an example

Hello there,  thank you for calling (name of company). 

My name is (name of agent). 

I’d like to let you know that this call may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes. How may I be of help to you today?  

……………..Customer speaks…………… 

As soon as the issue is resolved, the agent will ask if there is any other thing the customer would like to be assisted with, if nothing, say thank you for calling and close the call politely.  

For example,  

Is there anything else that I can help you with?  

Wait for response  

We hope that you are satisfied with our service, it was nice speaking with you and we look forward to working with you in futureHave a wonderful day ahead.

Summary

When call scripting is done correctly, it’s often a fantastic tool for clear and consistent communication between Customer Service personnel and a customer. For inbound and outbound calls, a great call script can add the expected touch of professionalism to your somewhat boring daily service calls.

7 Examples of Replies to Customer Complaints Email

Customer complaints are an important part of your business, especially when running an e-commerce store like Amazon or eBay that deals mostly with products. No matter how great your product or service is, or how effective your customer service might be, customer complaints are inevitable.

Having a customer that brings his or her issue to your attention is a good thing for your business.

Customer complaints or feedback can improve your business and the output of your customer service team in the long run.

Increasing customer satisfaction is one of the fundamental goals of any business organization, and how your customer service team responds to those complaints is what would determine whether you would retain a customer or send him or her out packing.

Therefore, the way you respond to your customer complaints can go a long way in building trust and loyalty between you and your customers.

In this blog post, we will discuss 7 examples of how to respond to customer complaints. First, let's discuss some important tips.

Basic Tips on How to Respond to Customer Complaints

image describing customer service replying to customer complaints
7 Examples of Replies to Customer Complaints Email 16

When responding to a customer complaint, you need to take note of the following.

  1. Make sure you respond specifically to the issues brought up by the customer.
  2. Provide a specific apology that acknowledges any mistakes on your end.
  3. Mention what you will do or you have already done to solve that problem. 
  4. State how you will improve your products or services for the betterment of the customer’s experience in the future.

7 Email Templates to Respond to Customer Complaints

1. Acknowledging Customer Complaint Email

When your customer lodges a complaint through your communication platforms like emails, social media platforms, etc, it's important to let them know that you have received their email and you would get back to them with the appropriate response. Also, state when you would be able to get back to them. This is to assure your customers that you care about them and you want them to have the best your organization can offer.

Example of Acknowledging Customer Complaint Template 

Dear Sam,

Thank you for contacting Queen Industries by email. Note that we take our customer’s satisfaction seriously and we are glad to hear from you.

This email is to let you know that we received your message and we will get back to you with a response as soon as possible.

Please be advised that our response time can take up to 8 hours due to our large customer base.

During working hours we do our best to reply as quickly as possible and on weekends, our response time can take a little bit longer due to our limited staff on weekends.

For any questions or further assistance, please reply to this message or call us at +17856778910, or visit queenindustry.com.

Kind Regards,

Oladimeji Charles.

Customer service director.

delayed order
7 Examples of Replies to Customer Complaints Email 17

2. Email Complaint Response to a Customer Who has Delayed an Order

This is one of the most common and frustrating issues that come up now and then in the customer care department of any organization.

A customer may sound angry and disappointed because of a delay in receiving his or her product. Of course, the customer has the right to be disappointed or angry.

The best option is to apologize for any inconvenience and propose a solution to solve the problem. This is also the best time to reassure your customer that you are doing everything in your power to make sure they receive their purchase in good time.

Example of Product Delayed/Not Received Template.

Dear Jason,

Thanks for taking the time to notify us at Queen industries about your product not being delivered/ or being delayed.

We are so sorry for the inconvenience and we understand how frustrating this might have been for you.

However, I have tracked your package via DHL, and it’s currently listed as “out for delivery”.

If you’d like to keep track of your package’s status, you can visit this link www.dhltracking syetem.com. 

As a result of being one of our loyal customers for the past few years we are offering you 50% off your next purchase at queen industry.

However, if you fail to receive your package by the due date and time please contact me directly by replying to this message, or you can call me directly at +13412345778.

Once again, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Warm Regards,

Oladimeji Charles,

Customer Service Representative

wrong order s
7 Examples of Replies to Customer Complaints Email 18

3. The Customer Received Wrong Product

Imagine you have been anticipating a particular order like the new Sony PS5 and you can't wait to play it and upon arrival, you open it and discover it is a DVD player.

It can be frustrating and annoying right? 

In most cases, the customer might order a refund or the right product they ordered in the first place.

Regardless, you still have to send them an email apologizing and offering them the best solution to their problem

Example of Email Template Addressing a Customer that Received a Wrong Order

The example below assumes that the customer wants the right product they ordered.

Dear Vanessa,

Thank you for notifying us at Buy More about the wrong item you received from us. We are sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused you.

As I write to you, our logistics department is working on your correct order which should arrive tomorrow evening via DHL with the tracking number 10024 for you to track it.

In the meantime, we would like to request that you return the wrong product in the original shipping box using the attached shipping label and instructions within the next 7 days.

Once again, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Sincerely,

Oladimeji Charles

Customer Care director.
angry customer
7 Examples of Replies to Customer Complaints Email 19

4. Responding to Angry Customer Complaints

As a business owner, there are many times you would have to deal with a dissatisfied or an angry customer.

Not everyone would be satisfied with your product or services, so you should expect this as a business owner.

However, the way you respond and deal with the said angry customer matters a lot to your business. It can determine whether you will convert a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one or send them to your competitors.

When dealing with this kind of situation make sure to respect the organization's policies, ethics, and values.

The template below assumes that a customer is dissatisfied with the product and service experience of the organization

Example of Email Template for Responding to an Angry Customer Complaint

Dear Kyle,

Thank you for taking the time to bring to our attention the difficulties you have been experiencing with our product and services

We apologize that our services and product have not been up to your expectations and we are sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused you or your business.

At Gillard’s farm, customer satisfaction is our top priority, and it is our desire to see that customers are satisfied with our business at all levels and find the best possible way to fix any problem they might encounter.

Note that we are working on a solution and would inform you of the methods we have adopted to solve this particular issue and make sure they don’t occur in the future.

My deepest apologies for any inconvenience we have caused you. Our goal is to keep you as one of our valued customer and we hope to serve you better.

In compensation for this, we would give you a $100 gift card to purchase any of our products. Please let us know if you have any additional questions, concerns, or comments.

Sincerely,

Oladimeji Charles

Customer Service Director

5. Addressing Technical Complaints

You should expect to handle email complaints about technical issues if you work in companies like cable service providers, telecommunication networks, internet T.V like Netflix, etc. In fact, email complaints about technical issues apply to all businesses especially if your business is online and people have to make payments, shop, and buy things from your website or store.

Your customers might experience some technical issues that would demand your engineers to look into.

One common issue in billing – when your customer complains about billing them wrongly or charging more than what they bought from your store.

Billing errors, especially when they involve high currencies can make your customers angry and frustrated and can lead to a lack of trust.

In this kind of situation, it is advisable to be apologetic and offer an immediate solution to the problem. Also, assure them of the steps you would take to prevent this kind of issue from occurring in the future.

Example of an Email Response to a Customer with a Billing Issue

Dear John,

Thank you for bringing the billing error to our attention and we sincerely apologize for the inconveniences you might have encountered.

Note that we have processed and issued you the amount overcharged during your last purchase.

We have also adjusted the recurring billing amount to the original amount you should be billed per your purchase.

In addition to this, we would like to compensate you with a discount and a product trial on your next purchase.

Once again we apologize for the inconvenience and we look forward to serving you better in the future.

Sincerely,

Oladimeji Charles

Head of Customer Service.

6. Responding to Product Return Email Complaint

In business, especially ecommerce business, there are times that the customer might want to return the items they have purchased.

It could range from an oversize shoe to a computer that does not meet the customers specification.

In this case, the customer wants to send the product back to your company and ask for a refund.

In this situation, you can express your disappointment about how the product didn't meet their expectations and present them with the options available in regards to this situation. In most cases, this can be whether to refund the money or to exchange it with another item that fits the same price range of the product that was sent to you.

Example of a Product Return Email Template.

Dear Joseph,

We are so sorry that our product didn’t meet your expectations. However, we are grateful for your feedback. Your feedback will help us improve our offering.

As requested, we have processed the return of the product you purchased from us. Please note that we have attached to this email a shipping label you can print and attach to the said item to enable you to ship it to us free of charge.

Repackage the item into the shipping box it came with and attach the shipping label you have printed and take it to the nearest courier center.

Once we have received the goods, we would issue you a refund within 7 days.

Once again we apologize for any inconvenience caused by this and we look forward to your continued patronage in the future.

Sincerely,

Jason Teague .

Customer service representative

Queen Industry.

7. Responding to a Customer Asking About the Price of Your Product/Service

If you own an eCommerce business or any online business like Amazon where people call or email to know more about your product and services, responding to questions about the price of your products or services is inevitable.

In this type of email, you need to give the customer enough information about the product or services they asked for. Make sure you are clear and concise and straight to the point without overwhelming them with unnecessary information they did not ask for.

Example of Email for Responding to a Customer Asking About Your Product or Service

Dear Jane,

Thank you for your interest in our “How to build a WordPress-based website “at Sparkconect solutions.

We have three individual classes – beginner, intermediate, and professional classes. Depending on your skill level, you need to choose a class to start with.

The beginner class costs 30 dollars while the intermediate costs 50 dollars and the professional class costs 100 dollars.

However, there is a 50% discount for the first 10 people that register for any of the classes. Also, if you enroll for all the classes you would get a higher discount.

Should you require any additional information about the course, please feel free to reach out to us on any of our numbers and social media platforms.

Sincerely,

Jide Bamidele

C.O at Sparkconect Solutions

Conclusion

In conclusion, the way you handle business at the customer service level will determine whether you would retain a dissatisfied customer or lose them completely. After all, your customers are the heart of your business and the way you relate to them would determine the level of your success in that business.

However, with a well-trained customer support staff and meaningful email templates, you can give your team a great framework for addressing these complaints in a positive way.

How to Improve Your Email Productivity

CNBC report showed that the average person spent an average of 352 minutes checking email in 2017 and 360 minutes in 2018. Over time these numbers will only increase. The more digitalized we become, the more time we’ll spend on our devices, checking emails, attending meetings, etcetera. This is why it’s important to make sure your time is well optimized and you apply more effective methods to manage your email productivity.

One of the biggest problems we face is managing what seems like never-ending work with what’s never enough time. This is why we’re always seeking ways to make our tasks and operations more organized and better optimized for productivity.

Managing email productivity is directly simultaneous with managing time. Email is an ongoing mode of communication, there are no breaks, no offline periods, no off-hours, etc. Which is one of the main reasons why optimizing email productivity should not be overlooked.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the best methods to manage your email to increase productivity and make working with emails easier.

Ways to Improve Email Productivity

  1. Turn Off Email Notifications:

If you work with emails and your replies are time-sensitive, you may want to ignore this advice. But if you don’t, this is one of the best methods to get the best out of your emails. Notification affects your email productivity as it causes you to stop whatever you’re doing to respond or at least check the email.

Reconnecting after an interruption is difficult especially while working. This is why while it sounds counterproductive to email productivity, turning off notifications helps you give the desired attention to your emails whenever you decide to check them.

You should make it a point to tell your colleagues to send you a text or call you if there’s an important email that needs urgent attention. This way, your email productivity is better optimized and nothing slips through the crack.

  1. Use an Email Signature to Improve Email Productivity

If you send a lot of emails, having to include, “Best Regards” and your name in EVERY email can be tiring and time-consuming.

Having a signature saves you from this stress, so, all you have to do is write your reply and the signature is automatically included in the email you’re about to send.

Signatures are important when writing emails professionally.

  1. Templates and Canned responses can improve productivity.

If you send out 100s of emails weekly, you may discover that most of the responses are entirely similar. Creating a template or canned response can save you hours and increase your email productivity. This way you don’t have to write out the same reply whenever the need to reply to similar emails arise.

With templates, your email productivity increases as your response time becomes shorter and all you need to do before hitting send and editing a word or two if necessary.

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How to Improve Your Email Productivity 21
  1. Unsubscribe and Clear the Clutter

We subscribe to newsletters and other email marketing messages in hopes to follow up with brands and businesses we’re interested in. But in reality, a lot of these emails go unopened and can quickly pile up.

If you haven’t read a newsletter in a while, it’s best to unsubscribe from the mailing list. It’s completely unproductive to keep deleting each of these emails or getting notifications when you know you’re not going to end up reading it. In unsubscribing from the mailing list, you increase your email productivity and reduce the risk of missing important emails. Keep only the newsletters you read regularly.

  1. Delegate tasks to increase email productivity

If you have a large team working with you, you may want to consider delegating emails to them. If all emails come through you, you should automate your process so certain emails completely miss you and go straight to other members of your team.

That way, you’re left with the most important emails to respond to.

Also, if you get an email you feel a member of your team can respond to, to maximize your email productivity, you can simply forward these emails to members of your team and have them handle it (do not forget to inform them beforehand that you’ll be forwarding emails to them).

  1. Categorize your emails.

To take email productivity up a notch, your emails should be categorized according to the time it’ll take to respond to them.

From Short replies to emails that require you to complete a task before sending a reply.

This way, you’re able to tell which emails you need to answer immediately or the ones you have to set a reminder in your calendar to attend to.

  1. Learn to Write Short Replies

There’s a misconception that emails need to belong, “It’s an email, not a text”. This is inaccurate. When maximizing email productivity, you need to discern which emails need a word reply, a phrase or a single sentence. Do not belabour the obvious in your email in a bid to make it long, this is completely unnecessary reduces your email productivity.

Know which emails deserve long answers, don’t deserve answers at all, and the ones that deserve just one word as answers. After all, it’s an email, not an essay.

  1. Send Emails only when necessary.

Most times we receive emails and think, “this could have been a text”. Before sending an email, ask yourself if that email could easily be a text. And if the answer to that question I yes, you should opt-in for a text every time. This is unless you’re part of an organization that requires official communication. If not, improve your email productivity by sending fewer emails.

When optimizing for email productivity, the fewer emails you send, the fewer you receive.

  1. Set specific times to check your emails.

We’ve been conditioned to think of emails like text messages that we need to open or respond to immediately they come.

Sending emails is work! Unless your job is a customer service representative and you handle all email enquiries, to increase email productivity, you should check your emails at specific times.

The best times to check email if you’re working in a company is late morning and just before you leave the office. If you check your emails late morning, you would have handled other more important tasks before opening your email to handle other people’s. By checking your email before you leave the office, you increase your email productivity by ensuring you don’t miss anything at the close of office hours.

The worst times to check your email are first thing in the morning and right before bed.

  1. Employ autoresponders

If you’re going to be away for some time, it’s standard email practice that you share this information with whoever’s mailing you, and sharing information about what they should do.

This way whenever you get back from your responding to emails, you don’t meet 100s of unattended emails and angry clients or customers.

Read this article for everything you need to know about autoresponders.

Conclusion

Improving email productivity can do a world of good for you. You’re able to optimize your work process, better manage your time and get more things done faster. This article offers guides that if followed properly, would increase your email productivity and make you a better “emailer”.

Email Examples: Reprimand an Employee for a Breach of Policy

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When an employee is hired by a company, they’re required to adhere to policies. If an employee breaches policy, they're reprimanded for a breach of policy, this could be verbally or a reprimanding email for a breach of policy. In most cases, employees are made to read these policies and sign them upon hiring. You could be a team of 10, 20, 100, or 500 people. The need to adhere strictly to these policies cannot be overemphasized.

Policies keep companies going, they contain the dos and don’ts of the company and are the bedrock that companies are built on. They could be also be likened to the rules and regulations that keep the wheels of a company spinning. When an employee breaches company policy, an email should be sent to reprimand them for their actions. When an email is sent to reprimand an employee, it serves as a warning to them and also a reminder of the consequences should they repeat such actions in the future.

Emails reprimanding employees are often written by supervisors, HR, or members of the management team. Reprimanding emails are sent to criticize employees for their actions.

An email reprimanding an employee isn’t quite the same as letting an employee go. If the employee continues to breach company policies, an email reprimanding them would then serve as a precursor to laying them off.

What Should an Emails Sent to Reprimand an Employee Contain?

The most important thing for an email sent to reprimand an employee to contain is what said the employee did wrong. A reprimanding email should state as clearly and as succinct as possible, what an employee did wrong that warranted the email, how an employee is expected to behave going forward, and the consequences of the said employee were to continue breaching company policies.

Customarily, an email sent to reprimand an employee is often preceded by a verbal warning on the issue chastising them for their actions. Reprimand emails are essential if a company wants to ensure employees adhere to policies. It’s an encouraging disciplinary process.

How to Write an Email to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy

When writing an effective reprimanding email, certain guidelines should be followed to ensure the message is passed and received clearly.

An email reprimanding an employee must be written in a strong manner to show the severity of their actions. Regardless, it’s even more important that it is respectful. Before writing an email to reprimand an employee, it’s imperative that it is fact-checked that the employee is indeed breaking company policies and rules.

Depending on the severity of their actions, it’s always advisable, to begin with praising the employee on their good qualities before barreling down on what they’ve done wrong to earn a reprimand.

Proceed to explain how their actions have affected the company and list out steps that they could take to be better and mend the situation.

State out the actions that will be taken against the employee if they don’t refrain from breaking company policies. The consequences should be properly outlined to ensure the employee understands the dangers of their actions. 

Lastly, again, depending on the severity of their action, an email sent to reprimand an employee should end positively and encourage the employee that they’ll amend their actions.

Sample Emails to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy – Sample One

Dear James,

I am writing to bring to your notice that I’ve received a lot of complaints concerning your actions and interactions with the female members in your department. I am upset at the severity of these complaints made against you and would like to get to the root of this as quickly as possible.

As regards this, you’re to see me and the HR first thing in the morning on Monday to thoroughly discuss this and the consequences of your actions.

I look forward to hearing your version of the events.

Regards,

Michael Aburimen

Sample Emails to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy – Sample Two

Dear Osamudiamen,

I am writing this email to inform you that it’s been brought to my notice that on the 24th of February, you took the company’s car home without getting permission from the necessary authorities.

You should know that this is a clear violation of the company policy. Upon hiring, you were properly sensitized about the use of the company’s vehicles without proper authorization.

Please make sure you drop by my office to say to sign a document that will go into your file to serve as an official warning. If this happens again, you’d be facing HR for a review that may result in your dismissal.

The company will not tolerate any policy behavior that violates the company policies. Take this as a stern warning.

Sincerely

Tunde Adebowale


Sample Emails to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy – Sample Three

Dear Isabel

This email is to inform you of your poor behavior with a customer on the 5th of May.  The customer show proof of how you treated them and upon confirming, we found this to be true.

The customer called about a problem with their account and you said, “What did you do with your account? Just open another account and stop calling customer service for unimportant queries.”

This is extremely disrespectful and goes against everything we stand for as a company. As this is your first offense, we’re not going to be file this in your records.

If this ever repeats itself we will be forced to let you go.

Sincerely,

Jenny Osunde

Manager Human Resource

Sample Emails to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy – Sample Four

Hello Sandra,

This email serves as a warning to you for disregarding the company’s smoking policy.

It is clear in the company policy that you signed upon hiring that employees are not allowed to smoke on the company premises. Still, you have disregarded this policy and have been caught smoking in the cafeteria.

Consider this an official warning that will go in your record. Failure to abide by this policy will lead to the termination of your contract.

We hope this clears up any misunderstanding.

Regards,

Stephanie Joan

Head of Human Resource


Sample Emails to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy – Sample Five

Dear John,

This email is regarding your absenteeism in the office. This is affecting your team’s efficiency and your performance. We take attendance important and it’s expected for all employees to abide by the company policy and guidelines regarding time offs.

You have violated this policy many times last month alone. More specifically, you were not present in the office from the 18th to the 21st and on the 22 you left 4 hours before official closing time.  All along neither the HR nor the manager was aware of the reason behind your disappearance.

We understand that this is unlike you and you may be dealing with some personal issues, this is why we’re not filing this reprimand in your file but only as a gentle warning. If you’re going to be out of the office for whatever reason, you must let your manager or HR know beforehand.

We hope this does not happen again otherwise we may be forced to take disciplinary measures and possible termination.

Sincerely,

Manager Human Resource

Sample Emails to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy – Sample Six

Dear Rudy,

This email is written to officially reprimand you for a breach of policy. Upon hiring you signed a document that specifically states that employees should not share company information with anyone outside the company.

Yet this is exactly what you have done. We have substantial evidence that you met with someone on the 2nd of May and shared sensitive company information with them. This is a clear breach of the company’s policy as a result, you have a meeting with your manager and HR slated for tomorrow at 9 AM to discuss the severity of your offense and your future in this company.

Regards,

James McCarthy

Sample Emails to Reprimand an Employee for Breach of Policy – Sample Seven

Hello Chukwuemeka,

This is to inform you that the management team has been receiving complaints about you from your female team members. Some of the women in your team have complained about your condescending jokes and chauvinistic remarks.

This may be an issue caused by imprudent thinking on your part, nonetheless, it breaches company policy.  We’re a forward-thinking company and complaints like this paint us in a bad light.

You’re to meet with the manager-human resource for a meeting tomorrow and tender an apology to the women you’ve distressed.

Let this be a firm warning as a reoccurrence of this and your employment may be terminated.

Regards,

Samuel Jonathan

Conclusion

Writing an email to reprimand an employee is a delicate task. This is because while it is similar to laying off an employee, it’s not quite the same. The samples above can provide detailed case studies on how an email to reprimand an employee for breach of policy would go.

10 Things You Should Stop Doing In A Professional Email

Things you should avoid when writing a professional email
10 Things You Should Stop Doing In A Professional Email 36

When writing a professional email, there are rules that must be observed. Writing a good and professional email shows your level of professionalism and builds your credibility, this is extremely important to climb the corporate ladder.

Research shows that global email users amounted to 3.9 billion users and it is expected to reach 4.3 billion users in 2023.

Research also shows that 293.6 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2020 and would reach 347.3 billion in daily emails in 2022.

From the statistics above, it is obvious that a ton of emails are sent and received on a daily basis.

This means that you have to be very careful with your approach, choice of words and general delivery when writing a professional email.

If you do not choose your words and approach carefully, your email will fail to pass across the information effectively and this can greatly affect your credibility.

Professional email etiquette is all about writing emails that are straightforward, and error-free and as effectively as possible, convey the intended message.

In this blog post, I am going to discuss some of the things you should avoid doing when writing a professional email.

10 Things You Should not do in a Professional Email

1. Avoid Choosing a Bad Subject Line 

In any email, the subject line is the first thing your recipient sees upon receipt.

Subject lines are essential and crucial to your email because it gives your recipient an idea of what your email entails and answers the question of why they should open it.

Therefore, your email subject line should be strictly professional and at the same time attention-grabbing to avoid your email been sent to the trash or spam folder.

A good subject line should be precise and spell out what your email is about. A one-line sentence is often the best strategy to follow when writing subject lines.

Other than emails selling a product, a one-sentence subject line is often the safest option. An example of an email that should be a single sentence is a job application email. A job application email should ONLY contain the position you're applying for.

Example

Let's say you are applying for the head of logistics in a company, let's say Amazon.

Your email subject line would be like this

 "Application for the head of logistics at Amazon".

This has captured your whole message and when the recruiter or HR sees this they instantly know what your email is about.

In a situation where they didn't specify, make sure your subject line is related to the content of your email.

2. Not Using the Proper Salutation

In any professional email letter, it is best to start with a formal greeting like Dear Sir, Dear Madam, Dear Mr. King, etc.  Avoid using greetings like “hey there, hello there, etc.

These kinds of greetings are unprofessional and casual. If you are not sure about the name of the person you are contacting, it is best to use “Dear Sir/Madam”.

Using salutations like, “To whom it may concern” is highly discouraged as it gives the impression that you haven't done enough research on the recipient of your email.

Remember sending the wrong salutation to clients, business partners, HR's, Head of departments, etc creates a wrong impression.

Also, use appropriate closings like “sincerely“, “faithfully“, “best regards“, “thank you“, etc with your name in a professional email. Avoid closing like best wishes, cheers, etc.

When writing email salutations, it is important that you do prior research on the organization, college or institution you are applying to. This gives you enough information to address the letter to the appropriate person.

3. Avoid Spelling Mistakes

Image describing spelling mistake when writing a professional email
10 Things You Should Stop Doing In A Professional Email 37

Grammar and spelling mistakes can happen to literally anyone, even professionals.

When writing professional emails, spelling and grammatical errors cannot be ignored. Sometimes mistakes or wrong spellings can give a completely different meaning to a word or sentence thereby passing across the wrong information or entirely confusing the recipient.

Grammatical and spelling mistakes say a lot about your credibility and professionalism, this is why they are avoided at all costs. There's a number of tools that make editing and proofreading a lot easier. These tools scan through your email essentially providing an extra pair of artificial-intelligent eyes. Some of these tools are Grammarly, Hemingway editor, etc.

4. Avoid Adding Attachments Unless Asked by the Recipient 

Experts have advised that you should avoid including an attachment in a professional email as much as possible.

Therefore it is important for you to state that you are adding an attachment in your mail. State the kind of file or document and the information it contains so the recipient would know that the file is from you.

5. Avoid Sending Mails to the Wrong Recipient

Sometimes you might be in a hurry to send an email to apply for a job because of the deadline or time frame attached to the job application.

This might cause you to act irrationally and send emails with sensitive documents to the wrong person or recipient.

Before sending any email, no matter the situation, make sure you double-check the recipient's email address to avoid the costly mistake of sending your mail to the wrong recipient.

This mistake may be detrimental to you as you may be arming an unknown individual with sensitive information needed to harm your company.

Therefore you have to be careful when sending your email. make sure you research the organization or institution properly to know the right address you are supposed to email your email to.

6. Avoid Long Emails

The goal of any email letter is to get the message across to the recipient in the most concise manner.

Sometimes, your content might be brief and you may feel the need to add more words to make it “more professional”, desist from actions like this. No rule states that email professionalism is directly proportional to its length.

There is nothing wrong with your email being short, granted it passes the message across.

Professional emails should be clear and straight to the point and be void of unnecessary words.

7. Using the Wrong Tone

Remember that the goal of any email is to pass a message across, therefore, your tone matters a lot when writing a professional email.

Make sure your content is easy to understand, less persuasive, and more neutral. Keep it short and simple, specific, and straight to the point.

A professional email is nowhere to flaunt your vocabulary skills, the goal is to pass across your message in the simplest form.

Above all make sure your email is tailored according to the needs, preferences, and knowledge of your recipients.

8. Avoid Using Abbreviations and Emojis

When writing a professional email it is best to write in full and avoid abbreviations. When writing formal emails or writing to your superiors, it is advisable to do it without emojis.

Remember not everyone is familiar with emojis, and not everybody knows or understands every single abbreviation.

Therefore, to effectively, make sure you write in full to avoid any errors.

9. Improper Use of “Reply All”

This is usually common in a workplace (company or organization). This happens when an email response that is aimed at one person, in particular, ends up going to an entire team or a large number of people.

For example, your boss just sent a message congratulating everyone on a job well done on the contract the company just secured.

Although it is not necessary for you to reply, and should in case you do, don't hit the reply-all button.

To avoid including unnecessary recipients, make sure to check the others that received the email and make sure that you are sending your reply to the correct recipient(s).

The idea here is not to bombard people with unnecessary emails and to avoid sharing sensitive documents with the wrong recipient.

Unless there’s a clear need for everyone involved to know about the content you are about to send, please avoid it.

email productivity
10 Things You Should Stop Doing In A Professional Email 38

10. Avoid sending emails at the wrong time.

Sending emails late at night or during weekends does not really show professionalism and it can have an effect on your email. 

Sending professional emails outside of normal business hours usually 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM can give a negative impression on your personality, that you lack time management skills and you are desperate for the recipient's reply.

Stick to sending emails during business hours, and if you must answer emails at night or on weekends, schedule them to send first thing in the morning during work hours. This all depends on the nature of your job and how time-sensitive those emails are.

Conclusion

When writing a professional email, there are things you should NOT do. A professional email can be sent to everyone in an organization, because of this, it's important that a professional email is free from errors of all kinds. From the guideline in the article, you'll find the dos and don'ts about writing professional emails.

Is Pandadoc the Best Free E-signature Service and Document Automation Software?

First of all, are you a business that’s looking to save time and increase sales while keeping both your customers and employees happy? Whether you're a small business or a big one, if your answer to that question is “yes”, Pandadoc might just be the total package deal you need. It’s an all-in-one document management and automation software that not only helps you to create business documents (think: proposals, contracts, forms, quotes etc.) but tracks, approves, e-signs and archives them as well.

pandadoc logo
Pandadoc logo

We’ll be sharing all the important things you need to know about Pandadoc in this post. We’ll tell you what we like about it and things we’re not crazy about and think should be improved on. This way, you’ll be able to easily decide whether or not it's the best document creation and management software for your business.

This isn't the longest review in the history of long reviews but it's as comprehensive as they come. If you're looking for a specific piece of information and would like to get right to it, feel free to click any of the headings below to get to it.

Getting Started with Pandadoc

 Let’s start by looking at the Pandadoc sign-up process. 

On Pandadoc’s homepage, you’ll find the “Start free 14-day trial” and “Request a demo” buttons. Clicking on the free-trial button takes you to the sign-up page while clicking on the request-demo button takes you to another page with a simple form.

screencapture pandadoc 2021 07 01 04 38 04 edit
Source: Pandadoc.com

Once you fill and submit the form, someone from Pandadoc will contact you to schedule your 15-minute demo and answer any questions you might have.

That’s that for requesting a demo. Now, let’s take a look at the sign-up page.

You get to the sign-up page by clicking on any of the “Start free 14-day trial” buttons on the homepage. Once there, you’re required to fill out a pop-up form with your work or business email, the field you work in and a password.

After you complete the form and click on “sign up”, another page with a more detailed form comes up which asks for your first and last name, your role, the CRM you use, number of employees etc. Fill that out, submit it and you’ll get a mail asking you to verify your email address.

Once you verify your email, you’ll be redirected to your Pandadoc account with free access to all the premium features for 14 days. That’s pretty neat, right? Now, if you don’t have a work email, you’ll be given the option of signing up to Pandadoc’s free esign plan, allowing you to create a free account. We’ll see what’s available in the free account when we talk about Pandadoc’s pricing.

Here’s what we like about Pandadoc’s Sign-up Process:

  • You don’t need a credit card to sign up. This is great as we all know how inconvenient the seemingly simple act of reaching for our cards, when we’re not in the actual process of buying anything, can be.
  • The password creation process is blissfully simple. There’s no requirement for special characters, upper case letters or numbers.
  • The use of simple, easy-to-understand prompts that help you to quickly grasp the information you need to fill the forms with. There’ll be no head-scratching, googling or emailing support for help.
  • And of course, the free access to Pandadoc’s premium features for 14 days.

Here’s what we don’t like about it:

  • There seem to be 2 different sign-up pages and there’s no telling which one you’ll land on when you click on a free-trial button. One page has a form that asks for only your work email and a password. The other has a form that includes a request for your field of work. The difference? The page with the form that asks for your field of work lets you access the free trial with all the premium features while the other page only lets you create a free account (with limited features).
pandadoc free trial signup page
But this doesn't
pandadoc signup page
This allows you to access premium features

Pandadoc Solution and Features

This document automation and esign software are as feature-rich as they come. With one user saying that Pandadoc has double the features of a popular alternative, Docusign, it’s easy to see how it’s fast becoming a favourite among many big and small businesses.

In addition to helping you collect legally-binding electronic signatures from your customers, clients and employees, it also helps you to simplify the process of creating your business documents.

Document automation solutions in Pandadoc’s collection include forms, proposals, contracts, quotes and payments. With these, you and your team can automatically create any document you need and in much less time than it already takes you to do them. And it’s all thanks to its rich library of templates and its workflow automation feature.

Before we go any further, let’s take a peek into the way these solutions work.

Forms: With these, you can collect your customers’/clients’ data with ease. What’s more, there are many templates to choose from – from registration to order form templates, application to performance assessment forms and even templates for petitions and donations.

All you’ll have to do is customise them to suit your brand’s purposes and send them out – a process that can be completed in minutes instead of hours.

Contracts and proposals: Creating professional contracts and effective proposals that look amazing – without sacrificing accuracy – is a task that Pandadoc has simplified such that you’re able to do it in under an hour. In addition to the templates, there are also clause suggestions that you can choose from. And there’s even a CRM integration feature that allows you to transfer your customers’ data into the document that you’re creating.

Quotes, payments and invoices:  It’s great how easy it is to send quotations and invoices and receive payments with these features. You can quickly create quotations and send them to your customer/client. We especially love how transparent it makes the process by allowing the customer to make changes, notifying you of such changes (we’ll talk about the tracking feature in a bit) and allowing them to contact you directly. You’ll agree with us that such an allowance can increase customer’s trust in the process and ultimately, in your brand.

Pandadoc also makes it possible for you to generate invoices and collect payments by integrating with your payment gateway. This reduces the time it takes for you to get paid as it allows you to add payment blocks in your invoices and quotes.

Pandadoc templates: Even though we’ve already mentioned the templates while discussing other features, we’d like to mention that, at the time of this review, Pandadoc boasts an impressive 450+ professionally done templates. Did we mention that you can also create your own templates? Well, yes, you can.

183 proposal templates in Pandadoc library

Source: Pandadoc.com

Here’s what we like about Pandadoc’s Features:

  • Thanks to its many features, you can get so much work done without leaving your dashboard. From esigning documents to collecting your customers’ esignatures, designing and branding your documents to collaborating with your team on them, analytics, automating workflows and so much more.
  • It’s a huge plus that your customers can edit proposals, quotes and pretty much any documents you send them. And that you’re notified every time changes are made. This not only saves time, that would have been lost to all the back and forth usually involved in this process, it’s also increases trust and ultimately, sales.
  • It's also great for collaborating as a team and makes remote working particularly easy as members of a team can track changes to documents in real time. Yeah, we think that that's really nice. (You can check out our piece on delegating tasks during remote working for some tips you might find helpful)
  • In addition to notifying you every time your customer acts on a contract, proposal or any document you send them, Pandadoc lets you schedule reminders so that you don’t forget to perform relevant next steps on the documents.
  • We love that you’re also able to create documents and customise templates to reflect your brand colours. It’s also great that customised templates and documents are reusable. It makes it easy to keep your brand message consistent.
  • The ability to store all your documents in a place makes it easy to access them when you need to quickly find specific documents.
  • It's also available as an app for Android and iOS devices. The web version is also great on mobile devices.
Pandadoc dashboard immediately after sign up
Your dashboard just after you sign up.
Source: Pandadoc.com

Here’s what we don’t like about Pandadoc Features:

  • There’s a learning curve that, depending on your tech skills, might take a bit of time to go through.
  • More language options (maybe a translator feature) would be great for when a document’s receiver isn’t proficient in English language.
  • It doesn’t allow for more than one photo to be uploaded per time – which is a bummer, if you ask us. It sure would be nice and time-saving to be able to upload more photos per time.

Integrations: What does Pandadoc integrate with?

You can work with the tools you love as Pandadoc integrates seamlessly with several other applications. Here’s a list of some of the tools the esigning and document management software integrates with (based on category):

CRMPaymentStorageProductivityIntegration platformsAdminDesign
HubSpotStripeGoogle DriveGmailZapier ConnectorsSingle Sign-onCanva
SalesmatePayPalDropboxSlackIntegromat
Zendesk SellSquareBoxMicrosoft Word
PipedriveFreshBooks NewMicrosoft OneDriveGoogle Sheets
ZohoAuthorize.Net
CopperQuickBooks Payments
InsightlyQuickBooks Online
Nimble
Microsoft Dynamics
Pipeliner
Salesforce

Then there’s Pandadoc API which lets you integrate Pandadoc features into your application and website. This means that you can collect your customers’ electronic signatures, generate documents and get notified when your customers act on documents you’ve sent them.

Here’s what we like about Pandadoc Integrations:

  • The integrations are easy to set up so you don’t need to be a programmer or coder to integrate your favourite tools.
  • Integrations promote smooth transition from one task to another.

Here’s what we don’t like:

  • While the functionality of the integrations is great, they could be more robust for a richer user experience.

Pandadoc Pricing

Depending on your business’s needs, you can sign up for any of the 4 plans on offer. There’s the free esign, the essentials, the business and the enterprise plans.

The Free esign plan is what you’re automatically signed up to when you sign up without a work email. It allows you to collect as many esignatures as your business needs – all of them legally binding and secure. You can also upload as many documents as you like and collect payments on the free esign plan. Many small business owners use this plan and they’ve reported great satisfaction with it. If yours is a small business, this might work for you as well.

With the Essentials plan, you get everything in the free esign plan plus access to Pandadoc’s templates, drag-and-drop editor for documents, document tracking and analytics and around-the-clock support via chat or email. Subscription to this plan costs $19/month for each user which means that for a team of 3, it would cost $19 times 3 per month.

Upgrading to the Business plan gives you all the features of the essential plan plus access to CRM integrations, workflow automation and approvals, Zapier integrations, bulk document sending, customised document branding and forms. This plan is the most popular with users and subscribing to it costs $49 per month for each user.

The Enterprise plan comes with all the features of the other plans plus single sign-on (SSO), customised user roles, integrations, user performance, content reporting, content locking, unrestricted number of workspaces for your different teams, API and 24/7 customer support. To subscribe to this plan, you’ll need to contact Pandadoc. They’ll be able to find a payment plan that works best for your business.

About the brand

Pandadoc was born out of a desire to meet a need: the simplification of document creation processes for real people and businesses. Mikita Mikado and Sergey Barysiuk, co-founders of Pandadoc, came up with the idea after Mikita had spent six hours putting together a business proposal. That was in 2011.

It's been a decade since its inception and the brand has grown into an ecosystem of document creation and processing solutions with an increasing customer base worldwide.

Our verdict on Pandadoc

With all of the functionality and options it offers, Pandadoc can make your work life a lot easier, productive, and profitable. Moreover, its responsive and helpful support that’s manned by real humans (not bots, thank God!) makes it easy to get guidance when you need it. Finally, while we agree that this document management software is top-tier, we would love to see a budget-friendlier version with more of the premium features which, in our opinion, would be more cost-effective for smaller businesses.

Want to check out Pandadoc? Click here to try Pandadoc.

Best Practices for Whatsapp for Business

Starting out as a personal chat tool, especially after its buy over by Facebook, it has become one of the best business marketing platforms.

However, rather than assume everyone on the planet knows about Whatsapp for business and its effectiveness for business use, this post will highlight the best ways to use Whatsapp for business so that its many benefits can be enjoyed. Just like they say, information is power. Starting with the rudiments and down to its more comprehensive parts.

What is Whatsapp?

Whatsapp is free, and your mobile number is all you need for a connection with the world. With your verified mobile number, you can chat with other Whatsapp users everywhere. There is no barrier due to country codes or time difference, everyone anywhere can chat on Whatsapp 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year without interruption.

The other aspect is to ensure that there is a reliable network connection such as Wifi or mobile data. It supports media (video and pictures) and file sharing, with voice and video call possibility; what more can one ask for? Currently, more than 55.6% of the world uses Whatsapp for instant communication. Going forward to the real deal, Whatsapp for Business here’s how to get the best use, as announced in 2017.

How to use Whatsapp for Business

As earlier said, the Whatsapp app is available in the store attached to all smartphones. From Ios to Android, all have the latest version of the Whatsapp app. Upon downloading the app from the requisite store, it brings up a prompt to enter your mobile number, once done, the same is verified via an SMS or a Call and the number becomes an active Whatsapp line.

Why Use Whatsapp For Business?

With more than half of the world using Whatsapp, you can be sure that such a number among your customers are current Whatsapp users, so literally, using Whatsapp for business is the smart way to go for every business owner. It’s as simple as that.

Ways to Use Whatsapp For Business to Yield Effective Results

Businesses should adopt the use of Whatsapp to communicate with numerous clients (up to 256 contacts at a stretch) by utilizing the following tips:

Customer Service in Real-Time

With Whatsapp for business communication, your business can provide an extraordinary Customer Service experience to clients. Every question can be replied to in an apt manner since customers can just send a chat over for answers to question they may have on your product or service.

If you are an international vendor, with customers in different parts of the world, a client who intends to purchase a product for delivery may be in the ‘am’ hours while you are your ‘pm’ hours, but with Whatsapp for business, you can easily respond to the client. In addition, with the inclusion of files, video, and calls, every customer can get a personal customer service experience which most instant messaging applications do not have.

General Customer Support

With the 24hour Status feature on Whatsapp, every business owner is able to reach customers with new products and solutions to problems they may have. For example, a salon owner can post short video clips on how to give general maintenance to their hair which keeps clients glued to the Whatsapp page because of the benefits they receive.

A tech expert may post pictures and tutorials on how-tos, while an e-commerce store owner can post pictures of their new arrivals, and the list goes on. With this resource, your company becomes a one-stop place for anything they require when it relates to the services or products rendered.

Target Groups

Whatsapp for business enables the creation of groups with many participants where your customers can invite referrals who they think will benefit from your product or service. The provision of live videos and support can be shared with contacts not in the group who may require your service which leads to more customer generation and retention.

You can form different groups for different customer segments so that you can tailor the information communicated to various groups differently.

Customer Feedback

You can create a group where you ask for feedback from your customers. This way, you will find out what you need to improve on, especially where many of your customers agree to the same thing.

What’s more, it serves as an indirect way to carry out indirect market research to improve your products and/or services. As much as customers do not like to answer questionnaires, with the addition of a coupon or freebie, should you decide to use one, you will get many responses to your questionnaires and surveys.

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Best Practices for Whatsapp for Business 47

Flash Sales and other promotional items

Rather than wait for customers to log on to your website by chance in order to view your flash sale and promotional offers, Whatsapp for business enables you to reach more customers than you can imagine.

The Display Picture and Status can work for this, and you can be sure that almost all of them will view what you have to offer. This way, you get more focused attention and faster sales. Your coupons will not be wasted because you will automatically reach more customers than if your awareness was only restricted to your website and other social media platforms.

Partner with other Business Owners

When you join other groups and partner with like-minded business owners on Whatsapp for Business, you increase your network, thereby increasing the awareness you give your business.

When you collaborate with other partners, they will refer customers who need your service to you especially if they do not offer the same service.

Conclusion

Whatsapp is a great tool for businesses. Its direct communicating features make it worth every penny spent in getting an effective internet connection on any device for its use. Be it on a mobile phone or PC, Whatsapp gives you everything you need to reach out to your customers and get fast responses.

Not ignoring the fact that people do not relish their privacy and dislike continuous disturbance, so you need to moderately send messages and posts. Your group may just be one out of 20 groups a certain person belongs and when it is time to take out one group that disturbs, you may just fall into that category.

12 Best Customer Service Software and Steps to Choose

Choosing the right customer service software and providing quality customer service often go hand in hand. Research has shown that loyal customers are less likely to leave you for your competitors and are more likely to advertise for you via word of mouth.

The more your business grows, the more you realize that responding to customers via email and keeping a record of this manually is not sustainable. Hence, the need for customer service software.

In this article, you'll learn:

What is Customer Service Software?

In a nutshell, Customer Service Software is any tool or system that allows you to prioritize, manage, organize, report, and respond to customer enquiries either singularly or altogether.  While almost any communication tool can do this, some were created specifically to handle customer complaints and enquiries. We’ll delve further into the rest of the article.

Customer service software can be used to handle one or more mediums of communication, this includes chatting, email, messaging, not only that, effective customer service software allows integration into group chat systems, social media, and even emailing.

One of the major differences between regular communication tools and customer service software is the ability of customer service tools to generate tickets. With ineffective tools like shared inboxes and spreadsheets, it’s almost impossible to get the level of detail and personalization that comes with proper customer service ticketing.

Ticketing keeps a tally of all interactions the customer service team has had with a customer. It could be via phone call, chat, social media et al. Proper ticketing tallies all these interactions regardless of how the customer contacted you. If a customer contacts you via email and the follow-up response is a phone call, these pieces of information are tallied in the same support ticket.

Taking it up a notch, customer service tools allow seamless integrations into systems that give the customer service agent more information about a customer and their enquiry.

Advantages of Using Customer Service Software

Customer service software can benefit businesses of all sizes-from an SME without a single customer service rep to a company with hundreds of customer service reps serving thousands or millions of customers.

Customer service tools help you create better customer service experiences. Here’s how it does it:

  • Faster and more consistent support.
    Nothing irks a customer more than a delayed response to their inquiry. Customer service tools help customer reps respond to inquiries faster with in-built features geared towards faster and more efficient management.
  • Increases customer loyalty. When brands provide fast support, customer loyalty, and support increase. Reports have shown that customers revisit brands they’re loyal to. Effective customer support ranks up among customer retention methods.
  • Better customer service rep. experience. Customer service reps are usually more motivated to provide better care with the right set of tools. This increases their productivity and saves the company time and resources.
  • Gain better customer data. Customer service tools help companies collect, identify, organize and correlate all user requests, feedback, and even bug reports. With these insights, general customer service can be improved to stay ahead of the times and trends in the company.
  • Helps your business scale faster. The ability for a business to grow rests entirely on the shoulders of its customers-both new and existing.  And at the core of customer growth is customer satisfaction. Customer service tools allow companies to grow with their customers by analyzing their requests, inquiries, and complaints and with this analysis, create better services based on the needs of their customers.

 5 Types of Customer Service Mediums

Five customer service mediums facilitate better customer service. These tools are different and serve different niches.

1. Call support

Calling remains one of the most effective methods of resolving customer enquiries, especially for sensitive, urgent high-stake enquiries.

What makes calling one of the best methods of customer service is the human touch. With other methods, customers are usually staring at a screen. But with phone support, a customer feels more at ease with their enquiries or complaints knowing a human is handling it and not a bot.

For call support to be more effective, a customer service rep needs to have a call script available with responses to FAQs.

2. Email

Emailing has been one of the oldest methods of customer support, and its relevance isn’t dwindling. Like call support, email remains an effective channel to resolve customer complaints.

To respond to angry clients via email read this article.

3. Live chat

Live chat helps customer reps solve customer issues in real-time from wherever the customer is, this could be the website home or support page, via your mobile app, or anywhere that has a live chat feature.

This helps brands stay ahead of problems before they occur. If your business requires users to go through different stages before service is fully rendered, you may want to add a live chat feature to the page that proves to be most difficult to navigate. For example, if you handle an online shop and the payment page is the page users have most trouble navigating, to stay ahead of problems and ensure the service is completed without any hitch, the payment page would be a great place to have a live chat feature.

If your company has regular enquiries from customers, a chatbot feature would be a great addition for enquiries. This way, you offer round-the-clock support even when there are no customer service agents available.

4. Messaging

Social messaging channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat-has brought a new age to customer service management and revolutionized the way people get in touch.

Another benefit of using customer service software is the ability for a complaint to be logged in a centralized location regardless of where the customer sent the enquiry from.

5. Customer knowledge community

With a customer knowledge community or forum, support teams can enable customers to solve problems themselves. Research has shown that over 81% of customers prefer to figure out the solution to a problem on their own rather than seeking customer support.

This is only advisable if your company has the right tech to flag responses and delete obsolete replies and updating them with more updated articles. 

Key Features for a Customer Service Software

For customer service software to be effective, it needs to have key features that are unnegotiable.

1. Organization

The organization is a really important feature for any customer service software. This creates a clean interface for users by selectively grouping all incoming messages into folders, tabs, or groups.

This is important not only because it declutters the customer service software, but also because it lets the customer service reps know what’s done and what needs to be done and take action promptly.

2. Collection

Easily the most important feature any customer service software should have. This answers the question of “How do the customer inquiries come into the software for customer reps to respond to them?”

Customer service software collects emails and messages that come in through different channels.

Most customer service tools come with integrations with external providers that allow messages to come in from different channels.

3. Integration

A lot of customer service software offers seamless integration with other systems and APIs for programming integration into even more systems. The integration allows you to connect with tools like Slack or other communications tools, CRM software, Social tools, Shopify, and other internal systems that help customer service reps serve customers better.

4. Collaboration

Collaboration features on customer service tools allow multiple people to collaborate on the same enquiry – from regular customer reps to IT experts and operations if the need arises.

Collaboration features on customer service software allow participants to interact in teams, mention one another, share notes taken, assign conversations to specific members of the team, etc.

5. Responding

What good is a customer service tool that doesn’t respond to enquiries? Customer service tools respond to enquiries across platforms that these enquiries came from.

6. Report and analyzation

Reporting and analyzing are important for customer service as this helps companies understand their customers better. This is important because companies can tell where their customers are having difficulties, what they need, and what they’re trying to achieve.

This also gives the companies insight into how well their representatives interact with customers. This is done by reporting things like “time of response”, “period of resolution”, “popular request category”, “amount of request per time frame” etc.

Most of the features listed above are common among most customer service tools, the only difference is the implementation.

We’ve put together this list of the top 12 best customer service software.

Each selection has a unique innovative feature that sets them apart and we highlight these features along with the pricing.

12 Best Customer Service Software

To help you decide on which customer service tool would be just right for you, we’ve put together a list of the best customer service tools.

There are different approaches to customer service tools, there’s no one-size-fits-all, so we took the liberty of listing customer service tools from different niches with different and specialized specifications.

1. HubSpot

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HubSpot

HubSpot is one of the most recognized customer relations management in the industry ­(CRM). They offer a wide range of software in sales, marketing and service.

HubSpot's Free CRM solution does not exclude customer care solutions. HubSpot's free features for customer care services include live chats, chatbots, ticketing, conversations inbox and team email. If you’re in the market for a free customer service tool for your small business, HubSpot may have some of the features you need.

They have paid plans for more advanced features and better benefits.
Pricing:

Starter: $40 per month.

Professional: $320 per month

Enterprise $1200 per month.

These rates are charged per annum. It costs 20% more if you’re interested in paying monthly.

2. Zendesk

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Zendesk

Zendesk is an amazing customer service tool that helps businesses to create effective and seamless customer service experiences. Zendesk offers integrations that allow inquiries and conversations to come from different channels, creating a smoother customer experience all around.

Zendesk has a unique agent workspace that equips customer service reps with all the tools they need to deliver fast personalized responses, collaborate with teams, all from a single connected interface.

While no tool is a one size fits all, Zendesk defies this by providing simple and sophisticated customer service to large enterprises and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Zendesk gives large enterprises the tools customer service agents need to handle a wide range of customer needs from different channels while making sure the process from enquiry to resolution is as seamless as possible.

For Small-sized businesses, Zendesk offers a unique efficient customer experience. They offer all the tools needed to keep track of all customer enquiries and work closely with customers till their enquiries and complaints have been resolved.

With Zendesk’s Artificial Intelligence automation and unique workspaces, teams can work faster, smarter, easier and reach a lot more customers.

Pricing: Zendesk has 2 price models: Plans for everyone and Plans for enterprises.

Plans for everyone

Suite Team – $49 per agent/ month

Suite Growth $79 per agent/ month

Suite Professional $99 per agent/ month

Plans for enterprises

Suite Enterprise $150 per agent/ month

These plans are all billed annually.

3. Gorgias

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Gorgias

Gorgias ranks among the best customer service software for integration with eCommerce platforms.

In eCommerce, providing good customer service is one of the most important things you can do to create, retain and increase old and new customer loyalty. Gorgias is a customer service software stacked with the tools needed to make this possible.

Gorgias does this by integrating seamlessly with three of the most popular platforms for eCommerce: Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento.

Georgia pulls customer data from these platforms giving you a comprehensive view of the performance and interaction with these customers, the data Gorgias pulls includes consumer data, order histories and interactions. This is important as it helps you personalize your responses to these customers, and give you more insight in creating chatbot automation with frequently asked questions and requests.

Georgia has a great user interface that helps your customer service reps to organize and handle tickets effectively. This customer service tool gathers customer requests across multiple channels like social media, SMS, live chat and email.

Georgia also takes it a step further by providing tools that take customer service to a whole other level. An example of this tool's Omnichannel ability is for customer service reps to engage with customers when they interact with your ad, social posts or other published materials. 

With this feature, you have a bird’s eye view of your customers and guide them through their buyer’s journey long before they visit your website and add anything to their cart.

Pricing:

Georgia has three pricing models.

The basic plan goes for $60 per month.

The pro plan goes for $300 per month.

The advanced plan goes for $750 per month.  

If you pay per annum:


The basic plan goes for $50 per month.

The pro plan goes for $250 per month.

The advanced plan goes for $625 per month.

4. Help Scout

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Help Scout

Geared towards smaller businesses, Help Scout provides great customer service for customers and your customer service support team. Help Scout boasts of being sophisticated and simple enough for customer service teams to use without spending time learning how to use the tool.

With Help Scout, customer service reps can handle email and social media enquiries from a single centralized tool.

Help Scout also offers a help centre that gives customers answers to enquiries on their own while reducing the number of enquiries your customer service team has to deal with.  This customer service tool also offers a saved template feature that allows customer service agents to respond to frequently asked enquiries faster thus saving your customer service team time.

Help Scout also has a feature called collision detection that helps a customer rep know if another agent is already working on a particular service request. This completely eliminates the risk of multiple replies to the same ticket.

Pricing:

Help Scout has a standard plan for $20 per user/ month.

A plus plan for $35 per user/month

They also offer custom plans for large companies.

5. Monday.com

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Monday.com

Monday.com is a customer service software that handles everything concerning customer relations but takes it up a notch by providing tools that help nurture customer relationships well after a sale has been made.

If you’re a B2B company interested in maintaining a long term relationship with your customer, Monday.com is a great tool to consider. Monday.com offers custom data you want to store regarding your customers, this includes client behaviours, client actions, touchpoints, etc.

In the case that a customer comes to you concerning a sale or anything relating to their account, any member of your team can pull up information on this customer and proceed to answer their enquiry without missing a beat. Doesn’t matter if a customer representative is dealing with the customer for the first time, all the information they need is right at their fingertips. 

As a manager or an admin, Monday.com gives the manager a bird’s eye view on how well your customer service reps are handling the enquiries and also helps you ensure that you maintain a good post-sale relationship with the customer.

Monday.com has a lot of automation abilities and allows seamless integration with a lot of application necessary to make your customer service process as easy as possible.

Pricing:

Monday.com has a Basic plan that goes for $8 per user/ month

A standard plan for $10 per user/ month

A pro plan for $16 per user/ month.

And an enterprise custom plan.

6. Olark

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Olark

If your business model requires real-time live chat with customers, Olark is a great option. Olark handles the same urgency that would require over-the-phone support, but at a much lower cost.

If you’re a tech company or your business involves customers taking multiple steps before a service is rendered, a live chat option would be most ideal.

Pricing:

Olark has a unique pricing model that allows you select features you need and ones you don’t. This is great for small business that does not need certain tools. Olark pricing starts from $19/ month per agent.

7. HelpDocs

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HelpDocs

At the beginning of this article, we talked about a knowledge-based community where customers find answers to problems on their own. Over the last few years, there’s been a steady increase and focus on self-service options.

Knowledge-based self-service options are cost-effective and are preferred by many users. This also means way less ticket for your customer support team.

HelpDocs is a major contender in knowledge-based customer service software. They have an advanced feature set, a seamless easy-to-use interface that makes it easy to set up and a simple pricing model.

Pricing:

HelpDocs pricing starts from $49 per month.

8. Freshdesk

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12 Best Customer Service Software and Steps to Choose 60

Freshdesk has two customer support offerings. A knowledge-based help desk solution and a customer support channel that spans across all platforms.

Freshdesk offers flexible pricing plans for both their services, although the help desk solution comes at a much cheaper rate than the omnichannel support.

Freshdesk also has features like AI automated responders, field service management tools, etc, these additional services come as add ons. This means you get to choose the features you want making their pricing model extremely flexible. 

Freshworks academy also offers in-house training services. This way, you’ll be able to train any member of your team to use their system in very little time.

NB: AI functions only come with the full package omnichannel support.

Pricing: The helpdesk service starts from $0 per month for the most basic plan.

The omnichannel plan starts from $79 per month per agent and is billed annually.

9. Helpshift

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Helpshift

Helpshift offers in-app customer support that a user can access without leaving the app. Most in-app support usually comes in form of a chat application. Helpshift is a major contender when it comes to in-app customer service support, especially for mobile devices.

Helpshift has a flexible pricing system where you only pay for the features you need. They also have really good customer support that guides you through set-up and general usage. If you’re looking for in-app customer support, Helpshift is a great option.

Pricing:

Helpshift does not have any public pricing. To get their pricing information, you would have to contact their team.

10. Sparkcentral

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Sparkcentral

New social media platforms pop up almost every day and to provide optimal customer support, your brand must have a presence in most if not all of them. Navigating through the enquiries coming from different social media channels can be a difficult task.

This is where Sparkcentral comes in. They offer a solution that brings the conversation from all social media channels. Doesn’t matter if your customer seeks support from WhatsApp, WeChat, Twitter and a host of other social media channels, Sparkcentral brings all the conversations.

Pricing:

Like Helpshift, Sparkcentral doesn’t offer any public pricing. You would have to contact their team to get their pricing information.

11. Aircall

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Aircall

Aircall offers customer service for over-the-phone support. While phone support is usually associated with bigger organizations, it can also be a vital part of small organizations, especially for small organizations that offer expensive products and complex solutions.

Research has shown that customers prefer to solve complex problems over the phone with a real person than chatting on social media or emailing.

Aircall offers series of plans suited for teams of various sizes. All their plans come with essential like queueing calls, setting business hours and Interactive voice support (IVR).

Pricing:

Aircall’s pricing starts from $30 per agent/month.

12. Groove

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Groove

Groove is a great customer service tool for small businesses and startups. If your business is gradually outgrowing email for customer support and you’re starting to get inquiries from multiple channels, Groove is a great choice to make that transition smoother.

Groove has great collaboration tools that help customer service reps add notes to discussions, assign different tasks to team members and mention them to bring them up to speed on ongoing enquiries.

This customer service tool also has a customizable knowledge base feature for customers to get self-help on their problems and enquiries. It also has automation features, tagging, custom folders, canned replies, etc, to make responding and resolving enquiries easier and faster.

How to Decide the Best Customer Service Tool for Your Business

Certain features are non-negotiable when deciding the best customer service tool for your business. This isn’t exactly set in stone as businesses have different needs, hence require different features altogether.

We’ve put together a list of options to consider when choosing the best customer service tool for your business.

  • The number of agents. How many customer service representatives are in your company? If you have just three customer reps, you’ll need different features from a company with over 50 customer service agents. For large organizations, features like collaboration, role-based ticketing, AI automation may be non-negotiable. But for a small customer service team, these features can be done without.
  • How do your customers communicate with you? How do your customers reach out to you for information and inquiries? Are you 100% okay with that medium or you’re looking to change this as your company expands?

    These are questions you need to ask yourself before choosing a customer service software. There is customer service software for literally all modes of communication. If you accept inquiries from just emails, chatbots, live chat, or social media, there’s a customer service software that’s fit for you.
  • What features are a must-have for you? This goes hand in hand with the kind of service you want to render. Are you building a help desk? An in-app chat system? You need to completely understand the kind of customer service solution you offer before choosing a software.

After deciding the features you want, create a checklist with all your must-have features and pick the best customer service tool that completely checks the list.

After creating this list, do extensive research, read up on reviews on the selected software before making your decision.

This would also be a great time to try out their free trails if they offer. This way you get firsthand knowledge on how the tool works and make sure it checks the features advertised before committing to making it your customer service tool.

  • Price. The price of customer service tools vary on a wide range of factors, most depending on the number of customer agents on your team.

The features available per package also have a lot to do with the pricing of the plans.

To grow your business and provide quick and efficient customer support, you need to invest in a customer service tool that checks all the needs of your company. That said, you do not need to go overboard to get the right customer service software for your business.

If you’re a start-up or a small business, you do not need to start with the premium tools, a lot of the free customer service plans can do a world of good for your business without compromising the quality of service you render.

Conclusion

Deciding the best customer service software that best serves your team and your customers is no easy task. You need to find the right tool that checks all your immediate boxes, is flexible enough that it can handle your business when you expand, and also importantly, meets your budget.

While choosing the right tool is a hard task, it’s better to do your due diligence and take your time. This is because the wrong tool can lead to dissatisfied customers and disgruntled team members.

Regardless of the software you choose, your top priority should be providing adequate service to your customers. This should be at the top of your mind when choosing the right customer service software. Delivering the best customer service experience to your customers to retain them and make them loyal customers is the most important aspect of customer service.

How to Become a Pro in Managing Your Inbox

It is a fact that managing your inbox can be a bit overwhelming, time-consuming, and tedious.

According to Statista, 306.4 billion emails are sent and received daily and more than 149,513 emails are sent each minute.

Therefore the average person receives about 121 emails daily for an office worker.
Now imagine if you have multiple accounts, let's say like three, this means you get about 300 to 350 emails per day.

After a week, it becomes like 1500 emails in your mailboxes. If this is left unchecked or unmanaged it begins to pile up and create a huge mess in your mailbox.

Some emails are life-changing, your inbox might hold a letter from a friend you lost touch with, a networking opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss, the job offer of your dreams, or an admission letter from the school of your dreams.

Now if you don't manage your inbox properly, you might miss some of these opportunities.

That’s enough reason why managing your inbox is extremely important.

So in this blog post, I will share some ideas you can use in managing your mailbox

How to Become a Pro in Managing Your Inbox

1. Delete Unnecessary Emails First

The first step to managing your inbox is by deleting unnecessary emails.

There is a simple and fast way to get rid of unwanted emails from your mailbox by scanning your inbox to see what you can delete.

To do this, look at the subject line and the sender. Is it junk? Is it a promotional email that you're never going to read? If so, throw it out.

If the message is unimportant, simply delete it. You can also take this opportunity to block the sender
Bulk deleting by the sender can decrease your backlog dramatically.

When you delete irrelevant messages, Managing your inbox becomes easy as the clutter is cleared. When you can see the remaining messages, you can filter the important ones quicker.

2. Unsubscribe from Newsletters You Never Read

How to become a Pro in managing your Inbox
How to Become a Pro in Managing Your Inbox 63

Unsubscribing from newsletters is a way to manage your inbox and prevent further unwanted mails.

Not all newsletters can resonate or align with your interest. Meaning that there are newsletters that you would subscribe to and eventually you won't read.

Sometimes you may be tempted to create labels and filters that can process them out of the way for you, but if they are not adding value to you there is no need of keeping them

Therefore if you haven’t read the past two editions of a particular newsletter, chances are you’re not getting any value so consider unsubscribing.

3. Create Labels for Similar Types of Emails

Although it is advisable to delete most of your mails when managing your inbox, you might still want to keep some that relate to key aspects of your business.

Most email programs like Gmail, Yahoo etc let users mark messages with specific labels or categories which makes it easy to prioritize,  group, sort and file messages to keep your inbox organized.

Folders or labels can help you organize your emails and create a relevant naming system to mark your priorities.

The better your filing system, the easier it will be to locate specific emails when you need them.

For example, if you are working for a company that has several departments, you can create folders based on departments and with subfolders for sensitive documents work.

To create folders in Gmail, start by opening your inbox and looking at the left sidebar menu in full. Under “categories,” you should see the commands “manage labels” and “create a new label.”

The label is just another name for a folder used by Google so to create a folder. To create the new folder just hit the “create folder button.”

Under the “create folder icon” you would also notice the option to create new subfolders.

For example, if you’re working on your school project, you can create a folder for” school project” and then create a subfolder for chapters one, two, three, four and five.

Another way to create labels is by going through Settings:

  1. Click the Settings icon.
  2. Go to the Labels tab.
  3. At the bottom, click Create New Label.
  4. Name the label.
  5. Click Save.

4. Set Aside Time to Read and Respond to Emails.

One way to organize your inbox is to set aside time and respond to your email. Some people advise that it is best to respond to emails early in the morning, some believe it is best to respond in the evening.

In fact, some will tell you not to respond at all. But the reality is you should choose the best time that works for you.

Don’t leave your email program open all day long because alerts and notifications from incoming messages can interrupt your workflow and leave you unfocused.

Checking your email regularly during the day is also a great way to manage your inbox as you can delete unwanted messages as they come and prevent further cluttering.

However, the constant interruption and distraction that comes from checking your emails and doing other important things can dramatically lower your productivity, and disrupt your ability to enter a state of flow when working on high-value projects.

One of the major strategies you can use is to schedule a specific block of time throughout the day for checking your email.

For instance, you can decide that you'll only check your email first thing in the morning, before lunch(mid-day}, and at the end of the day(evening).

If you set your time to receive and respond to emails at some point in the day, make sure that you turn off audible and visual alerts or turn off your mobile phone so you would not be disturbed or distracted from your work.

Another thing you can do is to read your email after a long period of focused work or at a time when you are more relaxed, or less busy.  At a time of day when your energy and creativity are at their lowest(when you have no important project at the moment).

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5. Automate Your Email Experience

Email Inbox automation refers to the process of setting up workflows that complete repetitive email tasks automatically, so you don't have to type and respond all over again.

Some of the emails we receive in our inboxes are redundant. We answer some question related to our business over and over again, responses about our product and services, responses about scheduling a meeting, etc. Responding to this question might be time consuming, repetitive and mindless.

This is where email automation comes in to save you the energy and time of doing some repetitive task all over again.

However, you have to determine what type of inbox management tasks to automate by scanning through like two to three month's worth of emails in your archive to look for examples of repetitive tasks you completed recently.

You can also track the type of tasks you complete in your inbox for a month taking note of things you do regularly.

Here is an example of task you can automate

  • Frequently answered questions: Questions that you answer over and over again.
  • Availability requests: People looking for openings in your schedule to set a meeting.
  • Newsletters and marketing emails: Things you want to read or review later.
  • Unsolicited requests: Strangers who want you to do something for them.
  • Tasks: To-dos that belong in your task management system. 

There are email productivity tools that  learn your email habits through AI technology and manual training to only show you the email that’s important to you.

They completely overhaul your inbox and rapidly organize your inbox to make sure you never have an overflowing inbox ever again.

Using automated replies is an effective way to manage an inbox overload which in most cases requires a simple set-up that can significantly cut down on the amount of time spent responding to emails.

Check out important tools to help you become more efficient at managing your inbox.  

6. Try the Two-Minute Rule

Two-Minute Rule states that “if the next action you need to make on something will take you fewer than two minutes, do it right now”.

Applying the “Two minutes” rule will not only help you manage your inbox, it'll also improve your decision making skills and help you get things done more quickly.

Here is how to use the two minute rule to organize your inbox

  • Sort your inbox by subject.
  • Read the subject lines of each email.
  • Estimate if the action you need to make will take two minutes or fewer.

If the task will take less than two minute to of your time, deal with it right away and get it over with..

If it won’t, you can archive the mail to deal with it later

Depending on the content of your email, you can repeat this process until you have cleared up all the two minute item in your inbox

7. Try Email Archiving

Emails are important records of business decisions, deals and other sensitive materials  which you might need later in the future.

For example if your company were to become involved in legal proceedings you may be required to present all related email conversations dating back to as far as six years.

Although people often recommend that you clear of your inbox as much as possible using the “keep and delete” technique, while this might be a great idea for your personal inbox it is risky for that of your business.

You don't want to delete important sensitive document that might come back to haunt you in the future.

Email archiving is different from just backing up or keeping emails in the inbox. It involves storing your emails, either in the cloud or on-premise, in a secure environment, which can be easily searched and audited.

It means your email can’t be tampered with or deleted, but they can be searched and viewed.

With a cloud-based email archiving solution like ArcTitan, Proofpoint etc you have long-term, ultra-secure and forensically compliant storage for your emails without clogging up your inbox.

Emails are automatically archived and remain so even if deleted from your inbox. Every email will have a digital fingerprint and time stamp to ensure authenticity. You can even restore emails direct to your inbox if required.

Email is a necessary part of a business, but it doesn’t have to be a necessary evil. With a few simple tricks, you can prevent email from draining all your time and focus on your business instead.

8 Ways to Achieve Inbox Zero

According to Mann, inbox zero is not a reference to the number of messages in your inbox, rather it’s a mindset on how you approach your email in terms of time management.

For Mann, managing your inbox to zero begins with embracing the following four ideas:

  • Email is nothing more than a medium

Mann encouraged people to view email as a tool for getting  information from one place to another and nothing else.  “There is no need for you to live in email, that’s not where the action is.”

  • One place for anything

Find a place for your email as they arrive. Mann believes that “once you know where stuff goes, it gets a lot easier to know where to put it.”

  • The process to zero

Mann believes that people are good at checking email but not very good at doing anything about it, Don’t allow your email to stack up in place and do something with it.

  • Convert to actions

Take actions on your email immediately you receive them so that they don't pile up and become a burden.

Managing Your Inbox Zero

Learning how to do new things takes time and inbox zero is no different. Follow this idea derived from Mann's original work  in developing your own strategy to achieve inbox zero in a way that works for you.

Email is nothing than a medium

As a business owner or individual, once you’ve gotten what you need out of an email, delete it or archieve it for future reference.

One place for anything

You don't have to wait till your inbox becomes jampacked before you start to use filters and labels to sort them out. Make sure your email is sent to the right folder and if the mail is meant to be forwarded to another person do so immediately.

The process to zero

Like man said people are good at checking emails but they usually don't do anything about it. Respond to emails immediately if you can and mark the ones that you can't and go back to it at a later date . Why delay doing something that will take less than two minutes?

Convert to actions

This means you should take immediate action as your email comes in. If the email can take you less than two minute to complete then you should do it immediately and move on. Mark the ones you cant respond to and go back to them when you are less busy.J

How to achieve Inbox Zero for Gmail Users

If Gmail is your email, follow these tips to achieve inbox zero if you are using Gmail service choice;

Prioritize Your Emails

Arrange your inbox with category tabs so Gmail knows where to send your email in the future. Gmail categories include Primary, Social, Promotions, etc. This can be accessed by clicking the menubar

Filter Your Emails

The Gmail platform allows you to filter your emails message  according to sender, subject, size and various other criteria. This feature can be used to automatically archive emails you’ve deemed as not important, but worth hanging on to.

Use the Gmail Star System

The function of the gmail star is to rank the importance of your email messages which in turn helps you remember to look at them later.

Although starring them don't make them go away, you can archive them as well for future reference

Unsubscribe

Gmail has a built-in unsubscribe feature that makes it very easy to unsubscribe from unwanted and annoying email letters, ads that you wont read or click.

Upgrade your Gmail regularly

Like any other app or software, Gmail is always updating and coming up with better features than the last one. It is important that you upgrade your Gmail app regularly so you can access all the best and latest features from Gmail.

Tools for Email Management

Email management software tools are designated apps or programs that allow you to manage email better.

Therefore, if you’re still struggling with maintaining your inbox workload,  the following extensions or apps can be added to your desktop or smartphone to manage your emails more efficiently.

1. Sanebox

SaneBox is an AI-based service that helps optimize your email process. It works through customization and identification of preferences, by scanning the headers of your inbox messages.

The SaneBox software is able to tell important emails from the less important ones before presenting them to you.  The app is also capable of:

  • Hiding messages from unwelcome senders,
  • Tracking auto-replies,
  • Going into the Do-Not-Disturb mode,
  • Sending follow-up reminders and more.

2. Boomerang

Boomerang is an email management software tool that helps keep track of the emails they’ve sent (but have yet to get a response) and send emails at just the right time.

The app lets you remove emails from your inbox that don’t need immediate attention or that you’re waiting to follow up on.

It then brings them back whenever you choose. It can also send emails automatically at a preferred time.

For example, you can schedule automatic reminders to hit your inbox if and when your recipients don’t respond to your messages, or schedule your own emails to go out at a specific time.

Boomerang also has some extras that makes emailing and managing your inbox easier and more effective, like automatic suggestions on how to improve your writing.

3. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing

Dynamics 365 Marketing is an email management software that allows sustaining personalized communication with your customers.

It helps optimize the email design process by using customizable email templates, reusable content blocks and an advanced digital content designer. With this tool, you can carry out customer segmentation and conduct AI-driven analysis of customer preferences and their past interactions with your company in order to share only relevant information with them.

4. Mailbird

Mailbird is a great email management software  designed for handling all your work communication in one place:

It is known for productivity features that save time (such as snooze, schedule email, or speed reader), email status tracking, and a user-friendly interface.

You can integrate Mailbird manage with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google Chat, Skype, and other messengers.

You don’t need to switch between all of them to communicate with your clients and partners, you may open all of them in Mailbird.

5.Mailstrom

Mailstrom is an email management software that helps you manage and clean up your inbox. It has an extension with Google, Outlook and Yahoo.

It also works with some other email providers. The bulk action helps you delete and unsubscribe to thousands of emails with a few clicks.

It can also guess which emails are important t by bundling up related emails so you can take bulk actions on the group.

When you use Mailstrom, you’ll have full control over several different filters, which allow you to sort your inbox messages by factors like time sent, attachment size, sender, recipient, and more.

After batching these inbox messages, you can quickly delete the ones that aren’t relevant, and sort the relevant ones into proper folders.

6 Email Analytics

Email Analytics is an email management tool that helps you visualize email activity in various charts, tables and graphs. If you're a customer service agent, email analytics makes managing your inbox easier.

It helps users understand and identify top performers, rebalance workloads to improve productivity, and track and improve essential KPIs like average email response time, emails sent and emails received.

The app helps to categorize emails and even breaks them down by word count.

Conclusion

Managing your inbox can do a world of good for you. Important emails could be missed in all the clutter. This is why it's important to make sure your inbox is free from clutter and is managed like a professional.