Laura Lee Interns at AccuConference: Week 2

 

 

Week two of our blog post series.  This one is written, produced, and directed by our very own Laura Lee. 

Things at Accuconference are good these summer days. I’ve been moving up in the world of telecommunication, having been recently upgraded from the conference room table that I shared with fellow intern Kaitlyn to my own desk, complete with lamp, monitor, and a great third floor view of the parking lot baking in this 100+ degree weather. Things are great. I am learning my way around the building, with the bank being on the main floor and the the deli housed up on the sixth floor. I am pretty much set, and if they would allow me to I would set up camp right under my desk. That would save me the gas money! Rumor has it that the building management here gives out free hot dogs around the fourth of July, and to a cheap college student who’s survived finals week on Ramen and yogurt, this is heaven. I’m learning a lot about what I would like to do for my own career by being in a professional environment day in and day out this summer. I’m realizing that the environment here at Accuconference is dissimilar than anything else I’ve experienced. (You might have guessed that after you read about the free hot dogs). The culture here is different. Of course, the setting is professional, but the atmosphere is implausibly laid back. Whether its people playing practical jokes or ordering lunch together, this place is thriving with goodwill.

I swear to you: I have not made coffee once. (Okay, I made it one time, but it was for Kaitlyn and she’ll be getting the bill later). Instead of grinding beans in the office break room, I’ve been writing up news articles, like the one I wrote about a Fortune 500 company’s recent moves to becoming one of the first that relies solely on alternative, renewable energy. I have even tried my hand at writing a press release. (Epic, epic fail. Hey, practice makes perfect right?) I’ve also contributed to blog postings on the company’s website. Take that, world. It’s good to actually feel of value to people.

This company gets creative with their marketing strategy. Every business should, but when you deal in a market that sells conference call software, it’s either sink or swim when it comes to creativity. Therefore the people here strive to be up to date on the newest marketing ideas, especially on the internet, which has become the platform for everything. Ever counted how many times you hear the phrase “just Google it” in one day? I hear it about 20 times a day. And no, it’s not because I hang out with a bunch of unintelligent people. It’s amazing how quickly the internet changes- just last week the VP of Marketing at Accuconference let break with the news that we needed to change our tactics, because the way we were currently marketing was already outdated. As a Marketing major, I am seeing that in my own career I will be forced to be flexible and be ready to change my tactics at a moment’s notice if I choose to follow a path delving into search engine optimization. To be honest, that thought is a little unsettling. But it’s cool to see this kind of stuff come to life, off the boring print from my school text books.

Was Marketing the right major for me? Am I the type of person who can succeed at this? I have a hunch that I will get a pretty good idea this summer interning. As long as I don’t fry in the heat! And with the right amount of luck, I just might become the next marketing queen of the world. (That would take a lot of luck!)

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Four Inexpensive Tools for Customer Service

If you're considering reevaluating your customer service strategy your main focus is figuring out where you can improve. A business' customer service strategy is not just about what information you're giving customers.

If you want to change your customer service philosophy, here are four inexpensive tools you can implement right away to make a change. I can give the seal of approval on all of these because we use them right here at AccuConference.

Knowledge

One of the most important parts of customer service is that your employees are familiar with your product and your company. When a customer calls in with a question or a concern, your goal is to make sure this is the only call that has to be made. Getting it right the first time makes a big impact on your customers and step one is educating your employees.

Trust

One of the best things you can do is trust your employees and this starts at the very beginning of a hiring process. We have a very specific hiring process that helps us to determine candidates that have the same philosophies and feelings about customer service that we have as a company, and because of this my managers trust me to handle some things on my own and to take a concern to a higher level when I need to.

Voice

This is AccuConference and we are not the droids you’re looking for. (Hah!) We don't use scripting. Sure, we have standard responses to things, but they aren't the product of a script, they are the product of our experience. This is a big difference. Not being on a script gives us the chance to develop a rapport with customers and let them get to know us.

No Bait, Just Fish

An advertisement, whether it is a commercial, a print ad, or even a tweet sets a tone and an expectation with your customers. If you can't deliver on a promise made in an advertisement, then you're suddenly in a position where your first interaction with a potential customer may be viewed as a deception. This isn't a good way to start a relationship and can take a lot of extra work to repair. This is why when someone sets up an account with us they find a low rate, all of our features, and our undivided attention.

How do you approach customer service?

Conference Call Checklist

So you want to have a conference call?  You can always start a conference call in minutes, however we suggest a bit more preparation for a conference between you and your co-workers. When inviting clients or customers to your conferences, there are a few extra things you will want to do. 

First: Decide What Your Call is About

Write out what the meeting is going to be about and create an agenda, making sure to estimate how long each point will take.  It's always good to give yourself 5-10 minutes of margin.  Don't forget to budget time for questions.

Second: Decide Who

Once you've worked out when you want to have the call, decide who is going to be there.  This is a good time to ask yourself if you'll be having a guest speaker or if you need an operator assistance.   

Third: Send Your Invitations

Now that you have all of the above worked out, it's time to send out your invitations.  Your email invitations should include:

  • What the meeting is about
  • Their call-in number and participant code
  • When the meeting is and for how long
  • An abbreviated version of the agenda

Your participants are taken care of, so where will you be?  The beauty of audio conferencing is that you can host a conference call from pretty much anywhere.  So your only guidelines should be to conduct your conference call from a quiet place where you won't be interrupted.  And—for absolute best quality—use a landline.  One final suggestion: use a headset.  It's much more comfortable than cradling the phone in your neck.

Use this helpful conference call checklist before you plan your next meeting:

PREPARE YOUR CONFERENCE

__Choose the date and time.
__Determine if you need operator assistance.
__Will there be a guest speaker?
__Do you need a registration page?
__Do you want the conference call recorded?
__Will there be a visual element requiring web conferencing?

CREATE AN AGENDA

You need to write an agenda to send to speaker and participants so the know what to expect. 

__Does it have a realistic timeline?
__Is there a need to have breaks?
__Will there be Q&A? How long will your Q&A session be?
__Do you need a different version for participants?

TECHNICAL CHECKLIST

__Do you know how to mute your telephone?
__Is the sound quality on your conference good?
__Did you do a practice run to make sure that you know how to join the conference and the webinar?
__Do you have a backup method of connecting in case there is a problem with your connection?
 


Looking for ways to improve your speaking abilities? Here are four more resources: