Act 1. Scene 1
I had a problem with my Final draft software. I was in the process of completing a movie script on which I had a 24 hour deadline and then the script suddenly refused to open. I tried all the tricks I knew including shutting my system and counting 1-10 backwards…nothing worked. My act of frustration was to go on Twitter and lament. I mentioned that Final draft had done me in. Within minutes, a member of the final draft team had contacted me and initiated a process to help me recover my lost document. I didn’t even need to mention their handle.
Act 1 Scene 2
I needed to organize a party in my office. Someone suggested that I could order food from a restaurant that serves Indian cuisine. I was a little worried as to whether they catered to vegetarian diet. I was happy to find they had a Twitter handle. So I followed them and then tweeted at them to ask for help with their menu. They responded two weeks later.
Research has shown that the number one reason why customers walk away from a brand is bad customer service. This can be either that a customer care representative was discourteous or the service was slow and ineffective. When a customer experiences bad customer care, they will talk about it to their friends and to anyone else who pays attention.
When you run a startup that is online based, the fastest way to the valley between is to have a poor or inadequate customer service.
Act 2 Scene 1
I was searching for a hotel/catering service for an event and I saw a website with live chat options. I decided to try it out. I discovered that there was no one manning the live chat. I checked back thrice within two hours…it remained unmanned.
Act 2 Scene 2
One day I was 10 minutes early for an appointment. I arrived before the receptionist. When she eventually arrived, I noticed she wasn’t too glad that I had dared to arrive early for my appointment. She did not even acknowledge my presence as she shook her head slowly from side to side. Finally, she turned to acknowledge my presence. I had a few choice words for her and to my advantage her supervisor was there to listen in. She earned a query.
Do not make promises you can’t keep. Back in the Jurassic years of Nigerian banking, people needed to pick tallies and stand in line for hours to make deposits or withdrawals. The new generation banks came up with 3 minute banking. To support their claim, they removed chairs from the banking halls. That was a case of putting their money where their mouth is.
Whatever options you have for customers to reach you ensure that you have the manpower to sustain it. It might appear the in thing to have a Twitter or Facebook page for your business, but if you do not have the manpower to respond to enquiries and complaints within 5 minutes during business hours then it may be a good idea to take them down.
Remember, you have 10 seconds to make a first impression. Customers are constantly searching for brands that will listen to them and put their interests first. They want the care of a small company integrated into the service range of a big corporation. That is the edge startups have over larger firms. You can be a caring person to your customers why throw away that edge in order to feel large?
You do not keep paying handsomely to train uncivilized staff. Sacking could be a fantastic idea. Also, pay attention to your recruitment process. You may want to consider running your customer service yourself at the beginning. Depending on the service you render you can indicate when customer service will be available. For instance, if you will only be available 9am-12noon why not state that clearly? And when you are available be there.
If growth is a tree, then great customer service is the tap root. A good product is important but in the land of good products, excellent customer service wins…always.
A good host always stands at the door to welcome his guests. What are you doing to show you are a good host? Each time your phone line rings you have a chance to create an impression. Every update on your social media page adds to the bigger picture.
Do you now understand why a host does not start eating until all the guests are served?
Additional content from Tomisin Ajiboye @tomisinajiboye