Whether you’re launching a new product or service, or simply trying to grow your current brand, you might get a lot of questions about your business from new and existing customers who are curious about what you offer. This is totally normal. But what happens when your customers start asking a lot of questions? What happens if you’re spending too much time dealing with customer service requests and it’s taking away your valuable time?
Customers that ask a lot of questions can be tricky to handle depending on why they’re asking so many questions.
Question-happy customers can mean that there are plenty of people who are interested in what you have to offer and want to know more. But sometimes when customers ask questions it’s because you’re not providing the information they need in a clear way. It could mean that you have some significant information gaps in your marketing strategy.
For many business owners, the go-to solution is to jam-pack their website with as much information as possible, but the problem with this is that information overload can clutter the look and feel of your site and overwhelm customers who may not actually need all that information.
The other option is just to ask customers to contact you when they have questions – which they will inevitably do anyways – but if their questions are embarrassing (or at least embarrassing to them), they may be hesitant to talk to someone for fear of looking stupid.
So what’s the best way to handle an overload of customer questions?
You might want to try autoresponders.
What Are Autoresponders?
Autoresponders are automated emails that get delivered when someone contacts a certain email or subscribes to an email list. They’re also known as drip emails or drip campaigns, and they’re growing in popularity every year.
Most businesses use autoresponders as campaigns, whether it’s to introduce new subscribers to their company or to promote certain content, products, or services. They’re mostly used to give basic information and point people to take a certain action. But you can also use autoresponders to answer FAQs and cut down your customer service time.
There are a few ways to do it…
The welcome email is a common autoresponder, but it can be a frequently overlooked place to answer customer questions. Sure, a customer might want to know more about the origins of your company, but they also probably want to know about your prices, your shipping fees (if you’re an e-commerce store), or specific product questions. After all, that’s why they’re sending you an email or subscribing to you in the first place – they want information.
One way to keep customer questions to a minimum is to use your welcome email to answer as many as possible. You could include a list of FAQs (or a link to your FAQs page) in your autoresponder welcome email and point people to it.
They key here is to make sure your FAQs are up to snuff. 99Designs is a great example of a company with a robust FAQ page that answers customer questions. They break down their inquiries into multiple sections and put in as much relevant information as possible, with a search bar at the top to speed up the process.
Specific FAQs Autoresponder
Of course, you don’t have to include all of your FAQs in your welcome email. You could also create a specific autoresponder that answers the top 5-10 FAQs your customers may have right off the bat. Autoresponders like this work well in a series, especially if people are signing up to an email list.
With this option you can keep customers engaged, while giving them more personalized information that answers their questions over several emails. Sure, they might still have a pressing concern they’ll need to contact you about, but at least you’ll know that their email is probably about doing business and less about answering some minor question about your operations.
Another options is to create a specific, single autoresponder email that provides FAQ answers when someone fills out a question form or clicks the “Contact Us” button on your site. This could potentially save you a significant amount of time with your customer service follow-up.
But how do you go about setting up these types of autoresponders?
How to Set Up Autoresponders
Autoresponders are fairly easy to setup, especially if you’re already using an email marketing system. There are a few great tools available to help manage your autoresponders for you, so you don’t have to spend countless hours putting them together.
Choose Your Tool
If you don’t already have an email marketing service of choice, try using one of the following:
MailChimp. If you’re new to autoresponders and don’t want to pay a ton of money, MailChimp is a great option for beginners. Their “forever free” plan allows you to create an email list, as long as it’s fewer than 500 users.
Drip. Drip is a lightweight email service that provides easy and cost effective ways to create email courses and other automated emails through a variety of tools and resources. They also offer guidance and analytics to help monitor your campaigns.
Constant Contact. If you want your autoresponders to have a visual flare, Constant Contact is a great choice. They have ready-made templates that are customizable, which saves plenty of time. They’re primarily geared toward marketers with lists in the hundreds and thousands, which is great if you have a large email list.
InfusionSoft. If you’re a big business (we’re talking six figures or more) and you really want to take autoresponders seriously, you might want to consider InfusionSoft. You can build a list for 50,000+ subscribers, segregate your lists based on customer type, and also send physical postcards.
GetResponse. If you’re a small business and you don’t really want to build email campaigns other than having a few FAQ autoresponders, GetResponse is the perfect choice. They’re geared toward a few thousand subscribers or less, but they have a strong reputation and offer a variety of features.
Choose a Catchy Subject Line
The best autoresponders have two things in common: a great catchy subject line and an offering of something valuable (or something that arouses curiosity). If you’re using your autoresponder to answer FAQs, you’re already offering something of value, so the only thing to worry about is creating a catchy subject line.
It helps to make your title (and content in general) personal. Don’t think of your customer as a number, but rather as a real life human with real life problems. Quell their concerns as if you were talking to a friend. Basically, ditch the corporate lingo, and try not to sound like a spammer.
Develop Your Copy
As mentioned before, your autoresponder copy will more than likely be your FAQs, but it’s important that your FAQs actually answer questions, otherwise you’re just sending an unnecessary automated email to your customers.
If you’re already being inundated with frequent customer questions, chances are you already know which concerns are the most pressing for customers. Start with those questions and move on from there.
Also, make sure you update your autoresponders when you update your FAQs, or when aspects about your company, products, or services change. Also, if you find that customers are asking new questions, be sure to include them in your emails.
Autoresponders are a great marketing tool for sharing and educating your customers, but you can also use them to strategically answer customer questions and cut down on customer service time.
By pre-empting customer questions, you’ll not only minimize your effort, but you’ll maximize your relationship with your customers, because they’ll know you’re ready and willing to help them out from the first time they open your email.
So, if you’re spending too much time answering customer questions, try automating the process using marketing tools and creating FAQ emails that save you a little sweat.