The Tools We Sometimes Fail To Use

tools

Let’s take a quick look at a few tools that often get overlooked. Sometimes there is a genuine need to expand your toolkit. To bring on new products and services to solve problems that need fixing in your business. Other times we need to accept that we may already have the tools we need. We sometimes need to be reminded they are there. Let’s take a look.

Have Phone. Will Call.

For many of us, our desk phones go unused. We port the business lines over to our smartphones, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But how are we using our phones? We use them for emails, text messages, Google searches, navigation, social media, and cameras.

But are we using the phone as a phone to the best of our ability? When do you return calls? The same day? Are your service, construction, and retail customers hearing back from you promptly? Do interested parties responding to your swimming pool ads get a friendly call? Does every incoming lead get a call back within a few minutes, a few hours or even the same day? Are you calling your customers that are missing in action? You know the ones that have been in like clockwork for years and then suddenly the crickets are chirping?

With so many ways to communicate with customers, the phone can get overlooked. But it remains an essential piece of the puzzle and a useful tool. If you are marketing for pools or running hot tub ads there will always be a need for efficient follow-up. 

In a world full of email, various messenger platforms, and texting, it is tempting to use other preferred methods over picking up the phone and saying, “Hello.” But the thing is, communication is crucial, and the way your people reach out needs to reciprocate. If someone calls in, then you need to call back. If someone responds to an ad or an online form with a phone number, then you need to call back. Yes, even if they provide you an email address. By all means, send the email as well, but call first. Then the email can be a notice that you tried to call, or it can be a recap on what you discussed when you called.

Can I get A Reply All

Since communication is critical, let’s look at how we reply to emails. Most people have figured this out, but there are still enough who fail in this area that it warrants mentioning here. In a team environment, it helps to use Reply All when responding to emails. When an email is addressed to multiple people (of which you are one), and you have something that you feel is important that needs to be sent back as a Reply – share it with the class. Your two cents may prove beneficial, giving others more to consider about what is being discussed and possibly moving them to contribute to the email thread.

Confirming receipt of an email with Reply All adds value when everyone addressed knows that all parties are informed. Sometimes your Reply All will be what prompts someone else to read the email for the first time. As simple as a tool as the Reply All is – it provides for a degree of accountability and helps with communication far more than you may realize.

Killing It With Calendars

So, what’s your number? How many calendars do you manage, and how many do others share with you? How many are you actively using? Gone are the days of the simple kitchen calendar where someone tracks the entire households’ activities in a one-inch square. Gone are the days of the Dayminder handling the schedule at the office. 

Today most of us use either the Google Calendar or Apple Calendar. We share our calendars with co-workers, and our significant others and our children’s schedules and sports get added in for good measure. But how are we using our calendars as a tool? Beyond your recurring appointments, alarms, and reminders, and even goals that you set up, Google Calendar has other features to make you more productive.

Not a Google Calendar fan? Check out how the Apple Calendar compares and if you still lean towards the Apple Calendar, make sure to check out these helpful iPhone calendar tips. No matter which camp you are part of, both Google Calendar and Apple Calendar have additional features well-worth implementing at work and home.

Crazy-Useful CRM

This ultimate tool has a bit more to it than the others mentioned. Customer Relationship Management or CRMs have become widely embraced of late. Yet they remain underutilized even by the people that make use of them every day.

With CRM, you can easily send branded automated emails and email blasts. With CRM, it is possible to view each area of your sales pipeline from a high bird’s-eye view. You can do a deep dive into the data and generate reports with relevant data that empowers your people to take informed actions. For more on what a CRM should be doing for you, check out our blog on the subject – What is a CRM System?

Now there are a few reasons why we fail to use CRMs as we should, but most of those will need to be addressed in another blog post. For now, let’s focus on the issue of bad data. When we fail to update the system and document customer and lead interactions, it limits how effective the CRM can be. The same can be said for when we add contacts to the system without first searching to make sure the entry does not already exist. Duplicate records quickly discourage salespeople from being diligent in keeping good records and should be prevented and avoided.

Simply Use Your Tools

Improving how you make use of your phone and email Reply All feature will undoubtedly help with communication in your business. For that matter, upgrading your calendar skills is bound to bring some increased productivity to both your home and your work life. Mastering how to use your company’s CRM will make a big difference in the effectiveness of a tremendously versatile tool.

WHAT WILL YOU DO? As always, it’s up to you to implement any changes in your behavior. Fortunately, these recommendations are simple and (providing you already have a CRM to use) FREE.

Why not try using your calendar to remind you to take on all four areas? Maybe consider using the Google goals feature to set a 15-minute customer phone follow-up or data cleanup goal at the end of your day? Start small or try it all. But please consider this:

DO SOMETHING MORE with whatever tools you have available to you, which you find yourself underutilizing. We call that a WIN.  

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