Great Customer Support, Beating Slumps, and Staying Focused - This Week's Friday Favourites

Posted by Amy Wallace Amy Wallace on .

There are many great articles online but it’s easy to miss them in the daily flurry of digital information. Even with RSS readers and read-later services, it’s easy to overlook some great blog posts throughout the week.

So we’ve rounded up some of our favourite blog posts that we read this week. If we’ve missed your favourite post, blog or author, or you simply have a suggestion for us, please let us know in the comments below! We love to discover new and wonderful writers!

1) Customer Support Resources

Good customer service is key to a good business, whether its a startup or a much larger company. Having great customer service, though, is what can set your startup apart from others and help you grow a loyal and happy user base.

Helpscout is a great tool to help you stay on top of your support inbox, all part of giving the best customer support. Their blog always has useful and powerful tips for working in support and their latest post is no exception.

Why show them to newsletter subscribers only? Sure, we do have a small army of 35,000+ people, but one golden rule of content is if 10,000 people love it, 100,000 people will love it. Once the traction is there, it’s just about scaling up to a new audience. Your job simply becomes getting the content in front of them, and open resources make this much easier.

All of this means that all of Helpscout's really great resources are now available without even subscribing to their email list, though with such amazing content, it's not a massive leap to want to subscribe in the first place. 

So take a look at the rest of the post to get links to amazing resources like The Art of Customer Loyalty, 10 Ways to Convert More Customers (w/ Psychology), and A Brief Guide to a Better Email.

2) The Curse of a Slump

Have you ever been working and suddenly just starting feeling 'bleh'? This might be a 'slump', which Andrea Ayres describes on the Ooomf blog as being:

[...] a decidedly pervasive and all-consuming lack of motivation and joy which lasts for an indefinite period of time. It’s just a low-level dullness that colors the world a kind of grey.

At some point or another, each of us will cross paths with a slump. It’s important to have a set of tools you can rely on to help pull yourself up and out of it.

Once you're in that slump, it's very difficult to get out of it. Regaining the motivation or clarity needed to get back on the horse and start being creative and productive again seems either impossible or like a monumental task.

In this blog post, Ayres explores why you might start feeling 'slumpy' and what you can do to get yourself back from 'bleh' to brilliant so that you're prepared if and when it happens again. 

Head over to the Ooomf blog to find out what tactics you can use to help yourself out of such a slump. It's by no means easy to do, but having some ideas of how you can start is better than nothing!

3) Fix Problems Before They Arise

Cory Ondrejka is the director of mobile engineering at Facebook and he's shared some great advice about how solving difficult problems early on in a company's history can make all the difference in the world. 

Everything changes very quickly at a startup but before the product is released, whatever it may be, there's an element of stability: the focus is on getting the first version stable and launched.

Once you've launched though, everything changes Ondrejka writes:

But once people are using the product, a company immediately hits growth phase. The clarity of “ship version 1” splinters into the competing demands of new features, quality improvements, additional product lines, new markets, and company expansion — all focused on the need to grow revenue and users.

Suddenly, attention is focused on keeping ahead of the competition. Crucial steps like laying the foundation for great management or shaping a sustainable culture get shifted to the back burner, creating management debt just as real and damaging as the technical debt startups strive to avoid.

Ondrejka continues by exploring the different elements of a company that need to be explored and solidified before growth takes over and implementing strategies becomes more difficult. He starts with the concept of building a good management structure: 

Being a good manager means making honest and fast decisions about what strengths and weaknesses an organization has. No single structure or style is best. If it were, every large, successful company would be organized in the same way. Nor will every employee or founder equally support the style the CEO chooses. So make hard choices early, when the team is small, the focus is on shipping, and people know and trust each other.

He then goes on to discuss the importance of creating the right culture for a company and how vital it is to succeeding when expanding. Neither creating a culture or a good management structure is easy but it is vital to the future success of a growing company. Read the rest of Ondrejka's post to see what advice he has about dealing with just these problems. 

4) Staying Focused

Becoming really good at your chosen career or skill doesn't happen over night. It takes years of hard work and hours spent focusing on the work itself and the goal for which you're aiming. 

James Clear has written a great blog post about why experts succeed and how developing a passion for boredom can help you be more successful. 

Most of the time people talk about getting motivated and “amped up” to work on their goals. Whether it’s business or sports or art, you will commonly hear people say things like, “it all comes down to having enough passion.”

As a result, I think many people get depressed when they lose focus or motivation because they think that successful people have some unstoppable passion and willpower that they seem to be missing. But that’s exactly the opposite of what this coach was saying.

Instead, he was saying that really successful people feel the same boredom and the same lack of motivation that everyone else feels. They don’t have some magic pill that makes them feel ready and inspired every day. But the difference is that the people who stick with their goals don’t let their emotions determine their actions. Top performers still find a way to show up, to work through the boredom, and to embrace the daily practice that is required to achieve their goals.

Read on to find out how emphasising the process can help you achieve your goals. 

5) Learning through life

Learning new skills or reading to explore new subjects is a great way to increase creativity and challenge your own understanding. On, Aaron Skonnard has written an article entitled 'How Making Employees Lifelong Learners Can Help Your Company Succeed'.

He writes that: 

As the CEO of Pluralsight, a company focused on producing online-training courses for developers and IT admins, I don't just leave the learning to our customers. We strive to be a company of learners. I am a big believer that fostering ongoing learning in the workplace not only results in a pleasant and energizing work environment but a successful one with top-performing employees who aren’t afraid to question the status quo and work together to seek the truth during difficult situations.

Skonnard goes on to list six things that companies can do to help their employees feel free and suported to learn as much as they want, so head over to the post here to be inspired to find new ways to learn and encourage others to do the same. 

Let us know what you thought of these posts or if you have any suggestions for next week's post in the comments below or say hi by Tweeting us or sending us an email