Customer Service Support For Your Online Business

Businesses have undergone an incredible amount of change over the past few months, but it looks like things are finally returning to normal. Yet for many, ‘normal’ is not what it used to be … 

Although shops may now be opening, a recent report by a global commerce services company PFS, suggests that 77% of people will continue to purchase online post-lockdown, which indicates a potentially irreversible change in consumer purchasing behaviour! Not only that, but the range of products that customers are buying online has increased, especially with regards to pet food and footwear. However, as with most things in life, there are drawbacks.  

For example, this report also showed that 50% of shoppers were disappointed with their online shopping experiences, and this is particularly high for online grocery stores, as over a third of customers struggled to get a delivery slot. This is where good customer service ties in with a strong e-commerce platform and ticketing desk, to make the winning combination! 

More than ever people are looking for immediate, informative customer support. With all of the changes, restrictions and limitations around them, the ability to be able to order what they want online when they want it, is a way of freedom for many people right now. But when this is complicated by out of stock items, website malfunctions and slow customer query response times, it only adds to your customer’s frustration, making them more than likely to go to a competitor. 

If this lockdown has shown us anything, it’s that people are more than willing and ready to buy online – but the customer service and e-commerce support simply isn’t there. 

So, what can you do about this? You could hire more staff – but then you have to consider sick pay, holiday cover, training costs etc. You could do it yourself – but do you really want to be spending all of your free time responding to emails when you could be building your business? Why not have someone else to do that for you; someone who specialises in delivering excellent customer service? 

We would suggest hiring a VA! The team at Purple Haze are trained on a variety of software and platforms. Even if your software is new to us, the training is completed in-house, and we don’t charge! You won’t have to worry about sick pay or holiday cover, and you will have a dedicated VA who you can reach out to at any time. So, it seems the real question is, what are you waiting for? 

Like to know more? Then do give us a call on 01638 741079. Or drop us an email.

Mental Health and the effect on Business Owners

Mental health is a topic that, in recent years, has become increasingly recognised as a significant health issue. However, what is not spoken about as often, is the impact that it has on entrepreneurs and business owners. 

Running a business in itself is a mountainous task, but when added pressures such as COVID-19, financial insecurity and staffing arise, business owners succumb to much more stress than usual, which can lead to severe mental health illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and panic disorders.  

There are a number of ways in which your mental health can suffer from being an entrepreneur – especially if you’re in charge of a start-up business.  

Everyone loves the idea of being an entrepreneur; the freedom to create your own routine, the passion to do what you want to do, the chance to make your dreams come true. But, as with everything else in life, there are drawbacks. The workload, for one, is immense! Often there are lengthy, tedious, dreary tasks that only result in a lack of sleep and a meagre work-life balance.  

There is, of course, the option of taking on employees. But to have to do the recruitment process yourself can be a pain (and recruitment consultants may just be too expensive!) And if you do find that perfect employee, are you sure that you’re going to have enough work to keep them busy throughout the day, or will you end up paying them a full wage for only half a day’s work? And what about holiday cover, and sick pay, or what if you just cannot financially afford to take on someone else; yet you can’t mentally afford to keep going on the way you are. 

This then brings us around to finances… Yes, savings and startups aren’t words that marry well! Whether you’ve funded the business yourself, borrowed through loans or received grants, how the numbers add up is one of the key concerns for any business. The worries, stresses and strains of finance are not to be taken lightly, and, more often than not, are the main cause of failure. 

And when only 80% of startups actually make it to their second year, it really does look like the odds are stacked against you. But that doesn’t mean it has to be true … 

At Purple Haze we’re not going to pretend that we have all the solutions to make your business successful, because we don’t. What we can promise, is that we are here to support you – in any way, shape or form. You will have a dedicated VA, who will be fully trained on all your systems and software; someone who knows your business inside out and are on hand to support you and customers whenever needed. You’ll never have to worry about sick pay, or holiday cover or even doing a rota – we’ll have that all in hand. You’ll only ever have to pay for the work completed and not a penny more! 

So, if you’re a business owner who dreams of a good night’s sleep rather than spending a night at a desk filled with paperwork; or if you want time to spend with friends and family without being interrupted by a phone call every 5 minutes; or the ability to run the business you’ve always dreamed of without being set back by tonnes of admin work that you’d really like to pass on to an assistant … If that’s you, then we’re the people to help make your dream come true.  

What does a virtual assistant actually do?

When people ask us what a Purple Haze Virtual Assistant actually does, we have a standard response:

‘What would you like us to do?’

And the answer to that question is likely to depend on the nature of your business.

A startup business…

Say – just as an example – that you’re a sole trader. It’s quite likely you’ve built up your business from scratch. In which case. you’re doing everything: answering the phone, checking email, answering correspondence, managing the bookkeeping and accounts!

All of these things take time. Time you really need to spend doing the things that earn money for the business.

And all of which a Virtual Assistant could do for you.

A growing business

If you’ve moved beyond the startup phase, you may be thinking about taking on staff. But that’s a very large step. One way to make it smaller might be to take on a Virtual Assistant.

Why?

Because they can help you with one of the trickiest parts of the process: explaining to someone else, for the very first time, how to do what you do almost without thinking.

A lot of business owners hit huge problems simply because they take their processes for granted. So, imagine how useful it would be to talk to an experienced Virtual Assistant about precisely what tasks need to be done, and precisely how you are doing them.

Our team members do this kind of thing all the time. And they will certainly have very valuable suggestions, based on their wide experience, that could directly benefit your business and help future members of your team work smarter, not harder!

A mature business

In a business that’s already grown and developed, a Virtual Assistant can do a great deal to keep the wheels turning. Particularly at busy times – or when, for example, key staff members are away from work.

At Purple Haze we also offer specialist help for e-commerce businesses. Our team will deal with all the issues around fulfilment and customer relations, leaving you and your team free to do what you do best – growing the business!

Like to know more? We’re always happy to discuss your specific needs – so why not call us on 01638 741079? Or drop us an email?

It’s flu season – so how about some emergency cover?

What’s your definition of a business emergency? (Excluding, for the moment, a meteorite strike or a plague of frogs.)

How about a flu epidemic among your staff?

We’ve all met that brave soul who arrives at work with a soaring temperature, a file-scattering sneeze, and a graveyard cough. And can only be persuaded to go home when they’ve infected half the office.

Wonderful, heroic people. But you really wish they’d stay home in bed where they belong. Because – inevitably – it won’t be long before others start to succumb.

And suddenly you’re very short-handed.

Solution? Possibly a strict rule that any staff with an infectious disease should stay at home. But that won’t help if the damage is already done. And next time you’ll still be one staff member down.

Nor will that be the only occasion when you’re looking round for people to help out. There’s summer holiday season. Christmas and Easter. Half-term. All times when even your most loyal and enthusiastic staff may, understandably, want to be somewhere else.

So how can you protect yourself? And, of course, your business?

When ’emergency’ virtual assistance can save the day

Suppose you had people ready, willing and able to step into the breach? Just a phone call away?

Better yet, people you pay for only as and when you need them? And only for as long as you need them?

You’ve just described Virtual Assistance.

Think of it as your emergency business backup. You back up your data (don’t you…?) Because that way even if the office disappears into a black hole you’ll still have all your data a mouse-click away. So why not back up your staff, too?

A good virtual assistance service does so much more than ‘answer the phone’ and look after your emails. They’ll get to know your business. Learn how you work. What software you use. And what your processes are. They can even help you streamline those processes, so it’s easier for their team to step into the breach.

And that’s exactly the service we provide at Purple Haze.

So if you’d like emergency backup for your team, why not give us a call on 01638 741079? We’ll be delighted to discuss your specific needs – and work out, with you, how and where we can help.

 

Time to take a proper holiday?

Remember what a holiday used to be like?

For some that might mean going back rather a long way, to carefree childhood days. When things like money and work were things that grown-ups talked about – while you got on with something more interesting.

But if you’re running your own business, that really isn’t an option…

So – how could you recapture those carefree days? How could you be sure of having a proper holiday? With time for your partner? For your family? And for the things you’d really like to do – if only you had the time?

And how can you avoid the feeling that you’re linked, by invisible chains, to your smartphone? At all times?

Well, believe it or not, it’s possible. Because that’s exactly what we can offer you right here at Purple Haze.

In fact, we can do better than that – given half a chance, of course…

Say goodbye to the ‘working holiday’

For starters, you need to add one item to your list of holiday preparations – and that’s a chat with us. We’ll need that to be sure we can deliver the quality service your business needs while you’re away.

And you needn’t worry about ‘losing control’, because our job is to give you back your time – without losing touch with the things that matter.

So we’ll answer all those calls that used to come in when you were in the swimming pool. We’ll check all those emails waterfalling into your inbox – and pick out the ones that need an urgent response. And we’ll give you the information you need at a time that suits you. Especially if you’re taking that holiday in a different time zone.

Which means you can decide when and where you catch up with the day. Ideally over the drink of your choice, in a quiet and relaxing environment.

Need to make a call? Then we’ll make sure you can reach your contact at a sensible time (for you) so you don’t miss a minute of quality time.

And it doesn’t stop there…

Travel arrangements are part of our service. Need transport to the airport – or from the airport to your hotel? We can arrange it. Want a hire car? We can arrange that too. And – if you want – we can even book your flights and your hotel.

So if you’re already thinking about a holiday, why not give us a call on 01638 741079? Right now…!

Ten years of premium service

Think back ten years. Can you remember some of the things we take for granted now that simply weren’t around?

There are quite a few – and some may surprise you.

The iPad, for instance. That didn’t arrive until 2010. Snapchat, Pinterest, Spotify and WhatsApp were still in development. Online payment systems like Stripe and Square had yet to appear. Slack – that invaluable online collaboration tool – hadn’t even started its first life as a multiplayer game. And GPS on phones? Still a dream.

So here at Purple Haze our tenth birthday is really something to celebrate. Because in those ten years we’ve anticipated and worked with a whole series of developments. Developments that have totally transformed what a virtual assistant can do – and what our work involves.

Back in 2009 most people’s idea of a virtual assistant was someone who answered the telephone, managed admin work, and – perhaps – dealt with issues such as credit control and bookkeeping. That’s still true today, but in a very different world. Because now a tech-savvy VA can become a key collaborator in your business. Someone who can help you manage workflow, client relationships, marketing campaigns, e-commerce fulfilment, and even team communication and organisation. The office no longer has to be the centre of your business universe. You can take it with you – on your smartphone or your tablet – wherever you happen to be.

And so can your team.

True, it’s a challenge to stay on top of all that ever-changing technology. But – if we’re honest – it can also be a lot of fun to explore new ways of helping people achieve better results with less work. (And, of course,  now 4G is so widely available it’s a lot easier to get hold of Uber when a client needs a lift, or to book Airbnb if they need accommodation in a hurry. And none of those were around ten years ago, either…)

So we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our first ten years. And we’re thoroughly looking forward to what the next ten will bring – especially if they include a call from you on 01638 741079.

Go on – we’d love to hear from you.

 

Getting to know Rachael Tate

Welcome to Rachael Tate – the latest addition to the Purple Haze team. We thought it would be nice to spend some time getting to know her, so you’ll be on familiar territory when you speak to her.

So, Rachael – tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, not long after my birth the hospital was demolished. Read into that what you will! I moved to Grantham when I was 2…where I did my growing up. I moved to Bolton when I was 21 with a company I worked for at the time. Then moved to Nottingham, where I worked for Experian as a Senior Client Services Officer… which was auditing data from all the companies that shared data for credit reports. It was around this time I thought ‘what am I doing in life?’ and decided to take myself to University.

What experience have you had in the commercial world?

I started work at E.ON, known then as Powergen, to pay my way through university. I enjoyed E.ON so much that I ended up staying there for 10 years! Once I finished university I went full time and quickly progressed to a Supervisor, then Team Manager in customer service before moving to Residential Marketing to work as a Segment Manager then a Retention Manager. I’ve also volunteered for the last 2 years as a Victim Support Worker.

What are your hobbies and passions – what do you like to do outside of work?

I like to stay fit and go to gym classes, my favourite is Pilates. I like to do a few charity fun runs a year, race for life/ sports relief. I’m also doing the sports relief Swimathon this year. I have a keen interest in people, my degree is in Psychology. I’m also studying counselling at the moment.

What strengths do you bring to the Purple Haze team?

I bring a unique balance of commercial awareness and customer focus. I have worked closely with proposition teams in the past, developing products that customers want, not what we think they want, utilising available information and customer research! I have instigated and lead targeted marketing campaigns and been heavily involved with improving the customer experience whilst making things more efficient and cost-effective to the business. I am used to working in a heavily regulated industry, addressing issues head on to limit impacts onto customers and the business.

What will your role be at Purple Haze?

I have been brought in as the Business Development Manager, with the objective of growing Purple Haze. For me, we need to make sure that our current customers are happy. Retention is the best acquisition tool. Word of mouth is the best kind of marketing you can get!

How will you define success when you look back a year from now?

Not only will we have new clients, but our current clients will be so happy with our services they will want us to do more for them.

We all wish you the very best Rachael and look forward to hearing about how Purple Haze clients have benefitted from your skills and experience.

Helping you hit your targets…

As a recruiter, you will know that consultation is the key to successful recruitment. Developing solid and lasting relationships with both candidate and client alike is vital to commercial and reputable achievement within the industry. However, as a recruiter, you will also know that the primary source of most of these relationships comes from general enquiry and advertisement response, usually meaning a great deal of administrative work.

Have you ever felt bogged down with the thought of entering 100 new CVs onto your database?

Have you ever felt pressured by the backlog of applications in your email and wondered how you are going to process them before the week is out?

Purple Haze is here to help you. We know how important it is to hit daily, weekly, monthly targets and that resourcing as well as consulting on all of your roles is extremely time-consuming.

That is where we come in.

With our years of administrative experience as well as up-to-minute awareness of technological advancement, Purple Haze can help ease the daily clerical work and let you do what you do best – recruit.

From small, specialist companies to global organisations, Purple Haze are able to adapt to every need and requirement of your firm. Whether it be simple proofreading of incoming CVs, formatting documents to fit your companies specification, processing and linking candidates to live vacancies or just basic data entry, we are able to decrease the time you spend on secretarial work and increase your daily workflow.

If you keen to hear about Purple Haze’s services and how we can help your recruitment company today, call us for a free consultation on 01638 741079 or email us on admin@purplehazeuk.com.