Both the plague and blessing of the modern entrepreneur is Email. Email allows us to communicate quickly and affordably with a person anywhere in the world.
We need to effectively manage our Inbox for our own sanity and to present a professional image to our clients.
For those of you who have been around business for many years, you will remember gathering in conference rooms to stuff envelops in a time prior to email when the only way to communicate was snail mail. For starters, we should all be glad those days are behind us. Naturally, there is a place still for something thoughtful sent via snail mail, but these days the majority of our communications will be automated.
When you start your business, you can use any email system you wish: AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. A couple of years back, I transitioned my primary email from Yahoo to Gmail and I have no regrets about that decision.
One of the features I love best about Gmail is their Canned Response feature. This feature has allowed me to communicate with twice as many clients on a daily basis by reducing the amount of time I spend crafting emails.
Canned Responses allow you to create responses to a variety of client scenarios you encounter on a daily basis so that you can respond quicker and more consistently with clients. This enhances your professional presence and establishes trust with your clients.
Let's say that clients contact you often with questions about your basic services. Using Canned Responses, you can, in less than 10 seconds send a responsive and rich response. That means that in less than 1 minute you can respond to 6 requests.
You can set up your Canned Responses to be simply text that you send exactly the same each time. Or, you can design them to include options that you can customize for cases where you need to insert client specific data or to address the clients specific options. Then, it takes maybe 30 seconds, rather than 10 seconds to send the response, but that will probably represent a huge time savings over what you did prior to Canned Responses.
Common situations where canned responses are a great fit include: - Appointment Confirmations - Service Inquiries - Thank You Notes Following Consultations - Payment Acknowledgements or Reminders - New Client Requests
I have identified each step of my new client set up process that involves email. For each email step, I have created a Canned Response. Therefore, each step of my client interaction is essentially supported by automation: - Acknowledge & Schedule Consultation Requests - Confirm Appointment, Service & Send Payment Invoice - Payment Reminder or Acknowledgement - Appointment Reminder & Materials - Thank You Note & Appointment Deliverables
You might want to step through your client interactions and determine how Canned Responses can allow you to be more effective with your time and more consistent with your interactions.
This way, you have more time to focus on what is most important: being of loving service!
Canned Responses are not fully automated. They do require you to interact with the Email, but they streamline the process. The name you give the Canned Response becomes the Email Subject line so there is a specific way you need to send them, but it is easy to learn.
If I can support your understanding and use of Canned Responses, please do let me know.