Great Products Have Customers Who Inspire

Seven years ago, when we decided to release a ticket system built for internal use as a product, we thought we were being too ambitious. We launched it as Helpdesk Pilot, ran a small Adwords campaign and sold 11 licenses in the first month. We were surprised that our product that was competing in the market with 200+ other popular scripts, with about one tenth of the featureset had immediate takers.

Every customer is unique and we cherish each and every one of them. Right from the very first sale, we’ve been blessed with customers who have made quite a mark in our journey. I thought it would be of immense help to share with you how customers have inspired, helped and educated us and other world class brands. Here we go:

Customers Go Out of Their Way to Help

Our first customer was a German. Seeing how simple and intuitive Helpdesk Pilot was, he contacted us for a version of the app localized in German. That way, he could ask his colleagues to start using the app as well.

He offered to do the translation for us. He was about to undergo a surgery in the next few days and said he would do the translation all by himself during the downtime. After a couple of weeks of rest post surgery, the customer not only translated Helpdesk Pilot app in German, but also translated the entire product manual too. And he did all that expecting nothing in return – no discounts or kickbacks.

This incident reinforced my belief in the “pay it forward” concept. Ever since, I’ve been constantly inspired by customers to work hard making things better. My belief and understanding is that, if you have a great product you would see this happen time and again. Be nice and solve a problem and you have got yourselves an army of well wishers.

Customers Bring You Business

For any business, word of mouth is the best endorsement that comes virtually free of cost. It’s cheap, but is immensely priceless. In the era of social networking, the effect of word of mouth recommendations from customers is more amplified than ever. The number of customers we have got for HappyFox from word of mouth recommendations far exceeds any other source of lead generation.

Customers Bring You Knowledge

Keeping customers happy hasn’t just worked for us. There are umpteen examples of customers helping business identify and solve issues with their products. One legendary example that’s on top of my mind is that of General Motors. To cut a long story short, the President of the Pontiac Division got a letter from a customer complaining that everytime he purchased Vanilla ice cream his car would’nt start.

Whenever he returned to the car with any flavor other than Vanilla, the car would start instantly without any trouble. Not setting aside the complaint as being far fetched, an experienced engineer was sent to examine the car. For days, the customer drove the engineer back and forth to the ice cream parlor and the engineer was bewildered to see it happen over and over again. How could a car be allergic to ice cream?

After careful analysis, the engineer found that being the most popular flavor, Vanilla was in a separate case at the front of the store for quick pickup. And the car couldn’t start because of vapor lock. The extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine to cool down sufficiently to start. The issue was fixed in the later models and this incident remains a case study in many business schools.

The takeaway is that, customers aren’t prejudiced. They are open to cheer you, help you and even enlighten you at times. Customers always want to help you help them. Customers are willing to be loyal to a brand that’s worth being loyal to. When they can feel the goodness and the passion that keeps the brand going, they are ready to go that extra mile for you expecting nothing in return. Now, go knock their socks off with some excellent support!

Shalin Jain

Founder & CEO HappyFox. My forte is in customer service, support management and running a SaaS company. Connect with me on Google+, LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.