Have you ever been in a conversation where you had no idea what was being talked about?
Or maybe you were confident of remembering every detail from a business meeting and decided against jotting down notes- only to forget everything in the next hour?
Honestly speaking, we’ve all been there and done that. That’s why internal notes exist.
Internal notes are used by businesses of all sizes to simplify their business operations and improve collaboration. It is a great way to communicate with your team during a live conversation you are having with a customer.
Also, internal notes for meetings help you remember meeting discussions, goals and plans and also pass them on to other team members.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about internal notes including best practices and the best tools.
Types of internal notes
Broadly speaking, there are two types of internal notes you may have dealt with while handling business operations. They are
- Internal notes for customer service: These notes are conversations you have with your team members within a conversation with your customer. These notes cannot be seen by the customer and typically includes information about the customer issue or instructions aimed towards a specific department.
- Internal notes for meetings: These notes are quick references to important things discussed in a business meeting. It may include deadlines, targets, ideas, goals, and more. Unlike meeting minutes, they do not follow a formal pattern and may contain shorthand sentences.
Benefits of internal notes
Note-taking is a common practice among businesses and individuals for various reasons. Not only do they make processes easier and better, but they also help in documenting them.
Here are a few benefits of internal notes for customer service and meetings.
1. Improves team collaboration
Internal notes improve team and cross-team collaboration by making it easier to follow and recollect conversations.
As an example, you may have decided on a certain process to address a certain problem. However, your team might have derived a different conclusion from the meeting. So, although you think your team and you are on the same page, you are definitely not.
Or, a customer may have raised an issue aimed at a different department. Yet, when you transition the issue to that department, they find it difficult to follow what’s happening and what the issue is all about. By the time they get the knack of it, your customer has lost their temper and you have lost your reputation.
What happens next?
Workflow disruptions, frustrations, effort loss and time wastage.
Internal notes allow you to align with your team and clear any confusion, before walking away. This improves team alignment and boosts productivity. Furthermore, customer service notes help build context quickly and save time (and your reputation) by facilitating easier collaboration.
2. Prevents bottlenecks
Corporate meetings consume 35 percent of the average manager's work hours. Higher-level managers spend around half of their time in meetings. Statistics like this highlight the need of making your company's meetings as fruitful as possible.
However, bottlenecks like interruptions due to connectivity issues or client calls can make the meetings less productive. These interruptions can also reduce attendees’ focus, destroying the entire purpose of why your team got together.
Keeping a track of what’s being discussed by jotting down shorthand notes helps you resume after an unprecedented interruption. It instantly engages your team members and prevents the need to start with the cliche question, “so where were we?”
Also, customer service is not an easy profession. Often support agents are unsure how to reply to a chat and they may choose to ignore it entirely. Good notes assist support agents in understanding how to approach a discussion, keeping them from accumulating at the bottom of the line and causing bottlenecks.
3. Simplifies documenting
Documenting meetings, processes, and hand-offs is a crucial part of any business operation. Although some employees may have a photographic memory and will remember even the most minute detail from a meeting, others may not.
Written records are a wonderful way for employees to refer to decisions taken at a certain time during a meeting. They also serve to establish accountability and might be useful for subsequent reference in a project.
While some people have a photographic memory, others may forget the choices made at a team meeting. Keeping written notes allows team members to go back to decisions taken at a certain time. Meeting notes also serve to maintain accountability and might be useful for subsequent reference in a project.
Keeping notes in a designated place as a primary source of information is one approach to guarantee that everyone on the team can refer to them afterward. Assembling all meeting notes and plans in one location might offer vital context to conversations in the event that someone is ever absent and wants to follow up on the progress of the project.
Moreover, the management can use customer service internal notes for yearly performance evaluations to identify areas where employees excelled and areas where they could improve. They also serve as proof that staff personnel followed protocol while dealing with visitor problems.
Best practices for internal note-taking
Here are a few best practices for taking internal notes.
1. Note-taking for customer service
- Mention only what’s important in the form of a short summary. You don’t want your team members or those from different departments to skim through a large paragraph to find what’s actually being talked about.
- You may have to deal with the same set of issues for different customers. In such cases, you can simply create and link the step-by-step guide to deal with that issue to save time and effort.
- Ensure that your notes mention task requests clearly.
- Set out the approach you plan to take to deal with an issue to maintain consistency.
2. Note-taking for meetings
- Use shorthand to take notes quickly. Although it might take some learning and time to get used to, the end result will definitely be worth it.
- Use documenting software to highlight important discussions in a meeting.
- Ditch your laptop for note-taking and use pen and paper instead. Although it sounds old school, using pen and paper reduces your chances of typing verbatim notes.
Best note-taking tools
OneNote is a handy note taking app for you, especially if you are already a part of the Microsoft ecosystem. With OneNote, you have a giant notepad at your disposal that you can write in, add photographs to, and split different sections and pages. This terrific tool even enables you to include other files, like documents and spreadsheets, within the note itself.
Notion is another amazing project management and note-taking application for teams. It is used for a variety of purposes, including notes, tasks, and team-wide wikis.
You may keep notes and documents in List view in Notion, which allows you to rapidly examine the most significant characteristics of a note and its contents. You can even assign tasks to team members right from the notes. This is a leading note-taking app that has lately gained popularity.
While Scribe isn't exactly a note-taking tool, it's a great way to supplement and strengthen any documentation.
Scribe turns any workflow into a step-by-step guide — so you can outline any process in seconds. Add each guide to your notes to train customers and your team. As an example, It can easily follow along a process being explained in a zoom meeting and turn clicks and keystrokes into written steps. It is an excellent tool to train team members and answer customer questions.
Here's a Scribe in action.
And with Scribe Pages, you can combine Scribes with notes, videos images and more. Here's a Page that helps users get started with Zendesk
Wrapping up on internal notes
Internal notes are a life savior, especially if you work in a multi-department workplace. After all, it offers so many benefits such as:
- Better team collaboration
- Bottleneck elimination
- Better process documentation
- Enhanced workflow consistency
- Better team learning
A process documentation tool like Scribe can help you give work instructions to your team members within an internal note. It not only simplifies collaboration but also ensures business data security and enhanced work productivity.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up with Scribe and start documenting your processes and handoffs in just a few minutes!