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How To Handle Customer Service When It's Just You

When you’re a solopreneur, you wear all the hats in your business. While exciting, it can get overwhelming when you're also handling all customer service inquiries and issues by yourself. When customers only have you to speak to directly, it’s important to create systems and boundaries so you don’t burn out. Use these tips to manage stellar customer service as a one-person operation.

Set Expectations Upfront

Be clear from the beginning on how customers can expect to interact with you. Share your availability and policies on your website and in your proposal or sales process.

For example: note when you’re able to take calls or emails, your average response time, and your process for resolving questions. Setting expectations helps customers understand your approach from the start.

Be selective about how customers can contact you, limiting it to email, scheduled calls and maybe online chat support for quick questions. Turn off notifications outside your published availability. Avoid providing your personal number unless truly needed. Setting communication boundaries helps prevent burnout from constant interruptions.

Helpful Customer Service Tips

1. Use an Online Calendar

Share access to your calendar so customers can self-schedule calls or meetings when you’re available. This saves you from constant back-and-forth emails negotiating times. Calendly and ScheduleOnce are popular scheduling tools. Just be sure to block off time daily to complete your own work. You can also share your schedule on an automated email signature.

2. Create FAQs

The most common customer questions and issues will be repeated. Compile these into a thorough FAQ document or knowledge base articles on your website. Then you can share the link to the relevant article in your responses for quicker resolution rather than re-explaining everything. Offer multiple access points - FAQ page, help desk portal, etc.

3. Stay Organized

Use a CRM system to keep customer data, conversations and notes all in one place for easy reference. Keep your inbox zeroed out and use task management tools to stay on top of follow-ups. Being organized helps prevent dropping the ball on outstanding customer requests.

Use Tools Strategically

Look into free tools like chatbots or help desk software to handle common inquiries 24/7. For example, chatbots can answer order status questions. Help desk tools allow customers to submit tickets for non-urgent issues. This reduces your hands-on time for repetitive requests. Invest in premium tools as revenue allows.

4. Automate What You Can or Outsource if Needed

Look for ways to provide self-service options to customers that don’t require your active involvement. This could include online knowledge bases, video tutorials or webinars, automated checklists or calculators, and clear product specifications or service packages.

If customer requests are consuming too much of your time, consider hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer to handle live chat, emails or appointment scheduling. You can pass on simple questions while still being available for bigger issues and to build relationships.

5. Learn From Issues

When complaints or problems do arise, view them as opportunities to improve for the future. Analyze what went wrong and where the process broke down. Were expectations unclear? Is more training needed? Document lessons learned. Show customers you’re committed to correcting issues.

6. Ask for Feedback and Show Your Appreciation

Actively surveying customers provides insight into their needs you may not hear otherwise. Simple polls or questionnaires after a call, project completion or delivery helps gauge satisfaction. Make it easy for customers to share feedback directly to you.

Thank customers for their business and for offering feedback or reviews. Send onboarding and milestone gifts like welcome packages, branded merchandise or gift cards. Celebrate loyalty milestones too. Show you’re grateful for their support of your business.

Owning the customer experience as a solopreneur can be challenging, but very rewarding when done right. Use systems and automation to optimize efficiency without losing your personal touch. With good communication, organization and willingness to improve, you can really wow customers while staying sane.

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