If you are just starting out in business, you are happy with every email that comes in. Hurray, a potential customer, or perhaps a new business relationship! But the busier you become and the better your business starts to run, the more time it usually takes to process email. Of course it is nice to receive a nice e-mail from an important business relation, for example, but the majority of your e-mails will eventually consist of 'musts'. Mails that simply need to be handled. It takes time. And that's a shame.
For many entrepreneurs, therefore, a lot of time (and therefore money!) Could be saved in the field of e-mail handling. In some cases it is just that one hour a day that you often lack, but there are also excesses: entrepreneurs who literally work all day from their inboxes and never reach the magical '0 new e-mails'. Do you recognize yourself anywhere on this spectrum? Then it is useful email automation and inbox management by a virtual assistant to consider.
The word automation says it all: (partially) automating your e-mail activities. But how? A standard reply to incoming mails is not too neat, is it?
There are several tools for smart email automation on the market. MailChimp is one of the most popular. With such a tool you can set all kinds of rules that ensure that certain e-mails - which of course you have to write and record once - are sent at exactly the right time to exactly the right addresses. Think of follow-up emails in response to quotes you have sent. Instead of having to keep track of who has and who has not responded to your quotes, you can have that work done by such a tool. This measures whether a quotation has been followed up and automatically sends a follow-up email after a waiting period you set.
What else can you do with such a tool? A lot, for example:
- Welcome emails to new customers;
- Valuation emails to customers who have been (remained) customers for x period;
- Newsletters to specific target groups;
- Follow-up emails to customers who have or have not responded to previous emails, such as a call-to-action in a newsletter;
- Emails to customers who still have products in their shopping cart, but have not completed the order.
There are still countless examples to think of. You probably don't even send all these types of emails yourself - but then email automation is also a great time to tackle your email marketing.
E-mail automation can mean a lot for you, but does not yet offer a real solution for manual customization. Answering customers' questions. Confirm appointments and put them in your agenda. Handling complaints or warranty claims. All chores that have to be done on a daily basis, but for which you really have not become an entrepreneur. There is another handy tool for that.
You can easily have this type of incoming mail traffic handled by a Virtual Assistant, or VA. This is a personal assistant with whom you collaborate remotely (and therefore virtually). He or she does not sit at your office, but handles all that daily hassle for you from another location. Of course exactly in accordance with your wishes and regulations.
SAs are offered by various parties. Shift Office Support is a well-known party in the Netherlands. Right away Virtual Assistant from Shift Office Support you make agreements about which emails will be handled by the SA, which ready-made answers and reactions should be used for this, but also important: which emails really should be handled by you and what should be done in case of doubt .
Of course there is the issue of privacy and security. Because you do not like to hand over your passwords and you may also use your business email in private. That is why it is important to find a party that handles your privacy in a responsible manner and uses the most modern means to exchange passwords, without the other person actually seeing your passwords.
Both e-mail automation and hiring a VA can immediately have a huge impact in time in your company. Time that you were previously busy typing the same texts over and over, you can now invest in actually doing business and improving your company. This makes them both smart investments that ultimately pay for themselves more than once.