How do you offer great customer service and save yourself time?

Get your customers to service themselves.

Really? Yes, really.

Customers are fine with self-serve options like FAQs, online forums and video explainers. In fact they’re more than fine. They can quickly and easily find answers to their questions without waiting in a phone queue or losing the will with a chatbot.

For small businesses, self-service frees up time. No more fielding the same old queries. Owners can get on with more productive, value-driven activities knowing their customers are still being serviced.

It’s a win-win.

Obviously, self-service can’t cover all bases in the customer buying journey. But it can certainly take up some of the repetitive workload.

So what can you do to self-service your customers right now?

You can use Loom to make a step-by-step video guide. Or upload a how-to tutorial on YouTube. Or add a FAQs section on your website.

You could also use knowledge base software to help you create, organise and manage your self-service content.

Just remember to review all your content once or twice a year so that it’s up to date.

  • Need help getting set up with self-service? Drop me a line at


Got an angry customer? Throw on your superhero cape and – kapow! – you’ve become The Pacifier, ready to smooth things over…

Right from the start you want the customer to feel you’re on their side. Personalise the conversation by introducing yourself and ask for their name (though don’t overuse it as that can sound fake). Using a personal touch helps to engage the customer and reassure them you’re going to help.

Remember they’re mad at the situation not at you. Don’t get sucked into an argument –acknowledge their anger, show empathy then focus on sorting out the problem.

You know how sometimes you just need to have a rant? That’s often the same for customers. When someone obviously needs to get something off their chest, don’t interrupt them mid-flow. Listen to what they’re saying and let them get it all out first before you start asking questions.

Customers don’t want to hear things like ‘I can’t’… ‘I’m not able to’…’It’s not possible’… ‘I don’t know.’ Every time you use a negative phrase their frustration and anger is going to increase – and you’re going to lose a little bit more of their trust. Use can-do, positive language that gives them confidence you’re going to fix things.

Research from the University of Portsmouth found that you can ‘hear’ a smile. There’s more than one kind, too. When you’re on the phone try the Duchenne smile – a sincere smile that draws your lips back, raises your cheeks and crinkles up the eye area (eye cream optional!).

You don’t want to make a customer feel like they’re being unreasonable or making a fuss over nothing. Show empathy with phrases like ‘I understand…’, ‘I know…’ and ‘I appreciate…’

Well, maybe not a joke – but humour can play a part in customer service. Make customers laugh and you’ll diffuse a potentially tense situation and help them feel less stressed. It’ll also make their communication with you memorable for all the right reasons. Use humour sparingly, though, and keep it relevant to the conversation.

It’s a win-win situation when the customer is 100% satisfied at the end of the conversation. They get their issue solved and you get that warm fuzzy feeling knowing you’ve been able to help. Before you go check they’re happy with the outcome and ask if there’s anything else you can help with. You can now bask in the glory of a being a customer service superhero!

* Superhero cape at the dry cleaners? Let me take over as your super-powered pacifier. Drop me a line at

copy-writing: @helen gent copywriter (Trumpet media)
visuals: @céline naricadou (Agency VA)

Merging PDF files ~~~ Fusionner des fichiers PDF

PDF process

Merging PDF files

My printer scanner used to allow me to scan documents to an existing PDF document, thus effectively adding paging to the original document. Unfortunately my new printer scanner doesn’t provide me with this functionality that I had taken for granted.

Don’t fret, I can use online tools that allow me to merge PDF documents. This article on Codeur mag lists online tools at our disposal to merge PDF files: The article is in French but you should get the gist of what apps are available.

I can recommend SMALLPDF that allows you to merge 2 or more PDF files in 2 clicks. SMALLPDF also offers other tools that allow you to compress your PDF files or edit them (delete pages or rotate them for example).

I can also recommend SODAPDF that allows you to merge, compress, divide or edit PDF files. You also get the added bonus to be able to send the final document via email, what more could a girl need? 😉


Fusionner des fichiers PDF

Mon imprimante scanner me permettait dans le passé de scanner des documents et les rajouter à un PDF déjà existant. Malheureusement, depuis que j’ai changé d’imprimante, le logiciel fournit avec ne me permet pas cette fonctionnalité.

Qu’à cela ne tienne, je peux utiliser des outils en ligne pour faire cette manipulation. Cet article paru sur Codeur mag nous dresse une liste des applications à notre disposition :

Pour ma part je peux recommander SMALLPDF qui permet de fusionner deux ou plusieurs pdf documents en 2 clicks 3 mouvements. SMALLPDF propose aussi d’autres applis qui vous permettent entre autres de compresser vos fichiers PDF, de les éditer (supprimer des pages ou les changer d’orientation), etc.

Je peux aussi recommander SODAPDF qui permet également de fusionner des fichiers DPF , les compresser, les diviser, les éditer. Vous avez aussi l’option de pouvoir envoyer le fichier final par courriel. Que demande le peuple ? 😉

My name is Elisabeth Morice and I am a virtual assistant helping entrepreneurs, consultants or young startups.
I offer administrative, business and IT support, in multiple languages if required.
I bring solutions to allow small businesses to grow without requiring the need of full staff hire.

Contact me now for more information.

Eat a live frog in the morning!

Stop procrastinating

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Mark Twain

time management prioritise procrastination

The main reason why people struggle with their tasks list is because it is full of items that shouldn’t even have made it there in the first place. We spend too much time on tasks that do not matter as an avoidance tactic to not do the ones that matter.

Refer to your prioritisation matrix every morning and only write on your task list the items that are urgent and important. These are the “frogs” that you need to eat first.

Prioritisation is one of the most useful and productive time management skills.

So, from today onwards, stop procrastinating and eat that frog in the morning!

Arrêtez de procrastiner

« Manger une grenouille vivante est la première chose à faire le matin, rien de pire ne vous arrivera le reste de la journée ! »
Mark Twain

La raison principale pour laquelle on a du mal à venir à bout de nos listes de tâches à accomplir, c’est parce qu’elles sont remplies de tâches qui ne devraient pas y figurer. On passe trop de temps sur des tâches qui n’ont pas d’importance afin d’éviter d’effectuer celles qui le sont.

Chaque matin, référez-vous à votre matrice de priorité et ne marquez sur votre liste de tâches que les tâches urgentes et importantes. Ce sont les “grenouilles vivantes” que vous devez manger en priorité.

Cette technique de gestion du temps est une des plus utiles et productives.

Donc, dès aujourd’hui, arrêtez de procrastiner et mangez cette grenouille !

My name is Elisabeth Morice and I am a virtual assistant helping entrepreneurs, consultants or young startups.
I offer administrative, business and IT support, in multiple languages if required.
I bring solutions to allow small businesses to grow without requiring the need of full staff hire.

Contact me now for more information.

The newsletter: a powerful tool to create relationships with your audience

Newsletter LinkedIn

Building strong relationships with your community is key to your success. Social media, landing page, testimonials, lead magnet … the tools are endless! Let’s talk about the newsletter and how to get the best out of it.

Value-added content

The newsletter allows you to provide value-added content to your followers and subscribers. You need to engage your customers in order for them to even open your email, let alone read it. What do they like, what do they need? For example, if your product is gluten free flour, then include a recipe using gluten free flour or a video on how to bake a pie using gluten free flour.

Offer advice, your expertise and relevant information, do not not use your newsletter as a sales tool only. Make sure you always have your target audience in mind. If you are a physio or a Pilates teacher, provide some tips on managing back pain or a video with some easy exercises. It will go a long way in making your customers feel that you are giving, not just taking. It might feel counter intuitive but people like to get things for free, and you are more likely to get their interest and their custom that way.

Finally, be consistent by sending your newsletter on a regular basis as customers are creatures of habit and like predictability. Find a good balance between too often and too seldom, and above all avoid randomness. You need to ensure your content is of good quality, so publishing your newsletter every week is just putting pressure on you to produce pertinent content. Adversely, your audience will disengage and loose interest if you send your newsletter too irregularly.

Don’t forget your branding

Once you have decided on what your content will be, you have to spend time making sure your message comes across. Here are a few useful tips to bear in mind when publishing a successful and engaging newsletter:

– a catchy subject line and other important topics highlights at the top of your email

– a table of content with anchor links to the relevant articles

– call-to-action buttons after each article. Use the power of social network and allow your customers to share with their network, allowing them to spread information via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+

– because a high proportion of newsletters are read on a mobile these days make sure that the most important information is on the left hand column and keep your width close to 500 pixels.

– be consistent in your branding, in terms of colours and typography. Avoid fussy fonts, and use font size 22 for headers and 13 for the body of text.

Once again, consistency is key to a successful communication with your customers.

Case study

A couple of weeks ago, one of my customer asked me to work on her newsletter strategy. She was already active on social media but wanted to engage differently with her clients on a regular basis, sharing news about Pilates, about the Studio, about the retreats that she organises and giving information on affiliate products on sale. She wanted to have a list of followers that she could grow and also generate traffic to her website and social media accounts.

We agreed on using MailChimp software.  She got good feedback and It also fitted her tight budget and allowed her to have up to 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month for free.

We did the first one together to make sure she understood all the stages for newsletter creation and potential pitfalls. Due to anti-spam rules, I advised the need to get her clients to subscribe to her newsletter, thereby giving her consent to use their email address. We embedded a subscribe form on her website, encouraging her followers to subscribe to her newsletter.

My client could have done all the process by herself! She asked me to help her to save some time and be more efficient. As a busy mum, wife and Pilates Studio manager, she needed someone to understand her business and her requirements, and present a relevant solution that responded to those needs, within budget. By taking on a task that would have taken her numerous hours, I freed her to do what she does best. I also gave her the peace of mind that somebody was there to help, every step of the way.

The author

My name is Elisabeth Morice and I am a virtual assistant. As such I provide auto entrepreneurs and small businesses with business and administrative support and project collaboration. Contact me at for further info.

My tips:

Before you decide on a Marketing automation tool, shop around. There are plenty of free versions available that are very good for small budgets and are perfectly adequate to begin with. MailChimp was the software my client and I chose, but it could have been AWeber, ConvertKit or Constant Contact. There are lots of comparison sites such as this one to help you in your choice: