It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the easiest ways to increase your revenue is to STOP replying to your emails.
So in today’s podcast episode, I reveal tips on how you can cut out emails, while still maintaining high customer satisfaction.
Take a listen when you get a chance and share your questions or experiences in the comment section below!
What's Covered in This Episode:
Tips on outsourcing
Links From This Episode:
This podcast is also available in video form. Click ‘Play’ below to start watching. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for weekly updates and insights!
What's up everybody? Anton Kraly here from ecommercelifestyle.com, and welcome back to the podcast. In today's episode, we're going to be talking about why as a e-commerce store owner, you need to stop responding to your emails right now, as soon as possible, if you want to grow and if you want to actually run a highly profitable semi-automated store. Now, for anybody that's new here, maybe a first-time listener just know that this show, eCommerce Lifestyle comes out twice a week, every Monday and Thursday morning. And the goal of this show is to help e-commerce store owners to increase their revenue, automate their operations, and become the authority in their niche. And this episode, today's topic really will help with all three of those things. So the reason I thought about this today and wanted to share it is because I was thinking back to my start in e-commerce.
For those of you that don't know, I built my first ever online store back in 2007. And the book that really got me to go all-in on this was The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. So awesome book, highly recommend it. It introduced me to different ways to build online stores. Also introduced me to Google AdWords, so thank you to Tim Ferris. But then it also introduced me to lifestyle design. And before I read this, I really thought my life from 21 to 50 years old was going to be working 60, 70, 80 hours a week, building up different offline businesses, flipping them, building more and more, and then eventually being able to retire young and travel.
But then I read this book and it was talking about how the author, Tim Ferris got to live this amazing lifestyle, travel around the world and work four hours a week if he wanted to. So what I was doing back then is basically setting up my businesses so I could do the same. Which by the way, I still do, but I do it with a slight twist. Because back then I was building these businesses that were literally generating multiple millions of dollars in sales every year. But I was doing it without any support system. I was doing it without any team, but I was still living that four-hour workweek.
Even back then, I was living in New York when I was first getting started. And I was like, well, I'm bored with the winters so let me move somewhere where it can be a little bit warmer year-round. Ended up moving down to North Carolina, basically playing golf every day. I was on the course first thing in the morning, just playing 18 holes, sometimes more myself. And I still had my stores running. I still had orders coming in. And then after my round of golf, maybe I would go have lunch with friends. Then maybe I would go out on the lake, hang out for a bit and then at night I would check on my ads and what would I do? I'd respond to customer emails. I would call people back. And that's how I was managing these multimillion-dollar businesses.
Now what happened over time is I realized, you know what? I'm great at marketing, I'm great at sales, but customer service is nowhere near where it should be if I want these businesses to be around in five years, in 10 years, in 20 years. So I made a conscious decision back then that my role in the company is no longer to answer emails. I'm not going to be responding to customer inquiries. I'm not going to be answering live chats. I'm not going to be picking up the phone. I'm not going to be calling customers back because my lifestyle really didn't allow for it and I could see that my business was suffering because of how I was answering emails. If somebody contacts you at 9:00 AM and they want to know if a item is in stock, if somebody contacts you at 10:00 AM and wants to know where their order is, and you respond after a day out on the golf course at 6:00 PM, you're losing business and it's hurting you.
And not only that, let's say you're like, well, Anton, you know, I'm committed to the business, I put in 10 hours a day. First of all, I would say you should re-categorize your priorities because you don't have to, to grow. I've proven that over a decade plus. But you don't need to be the one that's in that inbox all day. So what I want you to do, if you're currently responding to customers or potential customers yourself is please hurry up and offload that task. Find somebody that can respond to emails for you. Find somebody that could pick up your phone, find somebody that can respond to live chats and social comments, and make it as real-time as possible. Because again, not only will this really help your brand to last over time by giving people positive experiences, it's also going to increase your conversion rates and your sales almost instantaneously.
So if you're listening to this right now and you already have a team then outsourcing or offloading those tasks really shouldn't be that hard. But if you're doing everything yourself and you're living that four-hour work week lifestyle, which again, I love it, still do it to this day, you need to follow these steps. Okay? Here's how I recommend finding that person that's going to be the one that takes over emails, that outperforms you. The one that responds to emails, live chats, phone calls, and makes more sales. So first thing I recommend is definitely hiring from abroad when you're first getting started. And honestly, we have some people now with our companies that have been with us for almost a decade. So this doesn't need to be something like you hire somebody for a little bit, and then when you're ready, you open some office in the States or wherever you're from and bring in this whole local team. In fact, I've done that and I don't recommend doing that.
So as far as the best countries to hire from specifically for customer support and sales, we've always found it to be the Philippines. Love the Philippines, amazing people there, they speak English extremely well, and they do excellent work. Again, some people from the Philippines have been with our company for almost a decade. So I highly recommend looking there for talent. Now, as far as what platforms to hire on or where to find them, I've always been a big fan of upwork.com. So you can definitely check that out. But also the website onlinejobs.ph is a job board for the Philippines. There is a fee that you have to pay to use that site, but we found some amazing people there. So either upwork.com or onlinejobs.ph.com, I'd recommend checking both.
But what I learned the hard way and what you really need to know going into this, is that your first hire, especially if you go in blind to this and just post the job application, what you're going to see is dozens if not hundreds of applications start pouring in. And don't just be like, wow, look at all these people, this person says they can do the work for $3 an hour. This is my person I'm going to hire them. And then I can just play golf every day and not even spend those 30 minutes in the evening working on the business. That's not how hiring should work. Even if you're hiring from another part of the world, even if you're getting these better rates, you need to treat the application process and the hiring process the same way that you would treat it if you were hiring somebody to sit next to you and shadow you all day, or if you were hiring somebody to be the COO or CTO of your business, treat it like a real application, don't rush through it.
And I definitely understand that the hiring process, it's a totally different skillset than the skillset that goes in to just running your store. So I'll give you some quick tips here, but I'll also say if you're not a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, my coaching program, be sure to go to dropshipwebinar.com after you listened to this podcast. I'll link it in the description, and go through my free training there, get enrolled in my program because in module seven of the training program, I go through exactly how we hire and you can just follow it step-by-step. It's extremely simple. But some quick tips are when you're hiring, make sure you're hiring a native English speaker and somebody that you can get on calls with, get on Skype, literally have conversations with them and just look for any red flags. You also want to do tests as far as written communication goes. So send them some different emails that have come in from customers and see their response back and look for grammatical errors. Look for any just obvious things that might make the customer think is this website legit? Is it not?
And I'll tell you, there are plenty of people, again in the Philippines specifically, that have better grammar than me and that probably speak better than me too. But the only way you're going to know for sure is by actually taking them through sample work, by having real conversations with them, and by seeing what their written work looks like. Now, another thing that I'll give you that's super important, that's really helped us, is specifically if you're hiring for customer service and sales via email and phone, don't just hire somebody that has either never done it before, or that doesn't have any real type of history. And this is the same thing, again, if you were hiring somebody to sit next to you and shadow you in your office or your home office or Starbucks or wherever you work from, what you want to do is look for somebody that has a pretty built out job history. And what we like to see are people that have been with different companies for extended amount of times.
So if you see somebody that did customer service for two months, even if it was with one of your competitors and you're like, wow, they probably have all this information. There's probably a reason they only did it for two months, right? So you want those people with the longer job history because that will tell you that obviously, if they stuck around that long, that they must know what they're doing. So look for that.
Something else that we look for, it's not the biggest thing, but we do try to find people that have been with companies that we know have pretty much established vetting processes. So bigger brand names, some authority websites. Not specifically to e-commerce, but just in general, different well-known brands. Because if these employees have been hired by them, they most likely have been through a bigger vetting process. And because we don't have the resources and we don't do this huge vetting, we like to see that, okay, they've been with this one big reputable company for X amount of years already. They must have been vetted by them. They must've obviously performed because they were there so well. And then you have the conversation with them of why maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. So definitely you want to make sure you're doing that.
Now, the next tip I'll give you is when you're hiring somebody to be answering your emails and the phone and live chat and social comments even, what you want to do is always start with a contract and not just hire them and say, okay, you got the job, you're here. What we do is 90-day trial periods, and side note, this is for employees that are contract-based overseas and for US employees as well. But we do 90-day contracts with very clear goals that we're looking to see achieved and we do weekly check-ins where we go over the goals. And we've had times where we've been three weeks into a 90-day period and we've had to tell the person, listen, this isn't going to work.
SSo you don't have to wait 90 days. We've cut it much shorter than that. And we've also had times where three weeks in, we're like, okay, this person's going to be around for a lot longer than 90 days. But go into it, set the expectation with the hire that it is a 90-day contract and that it's basically this probation or just period where you're just monitoring their work and making sure that everything is working out as it should. And what does it mean working out as it should? It means that those KPIs, that those goals, that whatever you discussed before hiring them, is getting accomplished and accomplished sufficiently.
One more final tip I'll give you before we wrap this episode up is when you're going to bring this person on, make sure that they have some kind of document or guide so they know what they're actually doing. So if somebody calls in and asks X question, what's the response to that? If somebody emails in and wants to know the status of their order, how does this person check that and get them their best answer? So actually have them prepared so they're not just either blindly trying to answer hoping it's right or contacting you every five minutes to try to get the answers for the questions. So, that's what's really helped us guys. Again, you should not be answering your emails. You need to stop this immediately.
What you can do and should do is have a system set up so when the person or people that take this over really just don't know the answer they can ping you in Slack. You can get a notification on your phone that pulls up that specific email. You can go into it, you can give them the answer, that way they can handle it moving forward, and you can stay on the golf course or do whatever it is you want to do. And I'm saying this just so everyone's aware, staying on the golf course, almost as a joke. What you really should do with your newfound time, especially in the beginning as you're growing and scaling, is put your time and your efforts into supplier relationships, securing new suppliers, into getting better at Google Ads, into getting better at Facebook Ads, into optimizing your website to convert. That's where you should spend your time in the beginning if you really want to grow a seven-figure business.
So as always guys, I hope you found this episode helpful. If you did be sure to go to dropshipwebinar.com, where you can get a free training on how we build highly profitable semi-automated stores. I also give you a special discount link there to enroll in Drop Ship Lifestyle. And if you're already a member, I would really appreciate it if you can go over to Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or wherever you listen to this thing and leave a review. It really helps us get the word out.
And finally, if you're already running a business, you're doing it successfully and you want to know how to get to the next level, be sure to go to ecommercelifestyle.com, click on courses, and you can see some of our growth courses there for established stores. Again, that's ecommercelifestyle.com/courses. I will link that in the podcast description as well. So hope you guys found this useful. Again, stop answering your emails, do this as soon as possible, it's going to make your business do better. It's going to result in more sales, more conversion, and more time for you to grow the business, and focus on your strengths. So thank you everybody. I appreciate you. And I will talk to you in the next podcast. See you.