As a team of busy Virtual Assistants, we’ve witnessed first-hand the struggle of mass incoming communication flows, with busy business owners becoming overwhelmed and unable to keep up with enquiries.
But the truth is, unanswered enquiries and slow response times result in a lack of faith in the business and potential customers reluctant to buy. As overwhelming as it might seem, you need to take control.
Whether you manage these communications yourself or choose to outsource, it’s time to get on top of the emails, texts, chats and DMs flooding your inboxes.
With that said, here are some examples of effective communication management strategies you should be using.
Delete promotional messages.
As a business owner, you might find yourself being inundated with unwanted cold outreach emails. Unless these have been sent via a platform such as MailChimp or Mailerlite and there is an option to unsubscribe, your only option to deal with this type of unwanted email is to keep deleting them. Alternatively, you could contact the sender and request that they stop, but either way, delete them and don’t let them clog up your inbox!
Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters.
Psst! We see you… religiously deleting all those unwanted spam emails each day (that you probably never even subscribed to, right?). This has probably become such an autonomous habit that you’re barely aware of how much time it is actually. But instead of taking the time to delete these unwanted emails every day, start unsubscribing to each one of them and you’ll soon find that your inbox becomes less and less cluttered.
Use labels to organise your emails.
Labels can be a great way to organise your inbox into sections. For example, you could assign labels to each of your team members, or to group together emails that are relevant to a specific task or project.
Make use of email folders.
Email folders can be used in a similar way to labels. They can be a fantastic tool for organising your inbox and managing your communication flows, but not everyone makes use of them or even knows about them.
Use automatic email responses.
This can be a particularly useful tool if you have several different email addresses within your business that are used for different things. You can set up various automatic email responses so that when someone emails a specific email address at your firm, they receive an email containing helpful information that informs them about your processes and when they can expect a response, for example.
Adopt a good flagging system.
Make use of the flagging tool.
Flag emails that haven’t been responded to, and unflag them once they have been dealt with. There are various ways you can make use of this email management tool – it’s there for a reason – just use it in such a way that works for you and your business.
Make your response time clear (the sooner the better).
As a business it’s a great idea to make your response time clear wherever possible, so that prospective customers and people contacting you know when to expect a reply. This can avoid them contacting you again to chase up their enquiry, which can be particularly helpful during busy periods. Display your response times wherever you think is most appropriate for your business – on your website, in your email signature, on your social channels, and wherever your contact details are displayed.
Establish a set time each day to read and reply to emails.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of email management or find that you can easily go down an email rabbit hole once you start, then set yourself times of the day where you check and respond to emails. For example, check your emails at 10:00 am and 02:00 pm each working day, or whatever works best for your business.
Make use of mobile email apps for on-the-go email management.
If your job or business involves you being out of the office throughout the day, set up a mobile email app to help you keep tabs on priority emails as soon as they come in, and manage emails on the go.
Make the most of your email signature.
Make the most of your email signature by setting up your sign-off and name. Quit typing your email sign-off for every single email. Set up your email signature so that your sign-off is included in it… those precious seconds quickly add up!
Create and share email templates with your team.
Creating email templates for your most commonly asked queries can be a huge time saver, and also particularly helpful if you have a team or a Virtual Assistant helping you with your email management. Invest some time in writing up some email template for you and your team to use, and save time in the long run! Templates can help to give quick and easy responses to commonly-asked queries.