What Your Startup can Gain by Delivering Great Customer Service

“Try making your customer service not merely good, but surprisingly good. Go out of your way to make people happy. They’ll be overwhelmed; you’ll see.” – Paul Graham

Customer Service is not a department at most startups, yet they are great at it. Great customer service adds a lot of value to the company.

Think about it. You’ve launched your product. Prospective customers are trying it and comparing you with your competitors. They think they need your product. They have questions and they get in touch with you. And how you handle it, matters. After all, you need them. Every possible customer.

Delivering great customer service isn’t rocket science. It’s all about taking care of the simple things, that we often take for granted. Here are a couple of them.

Win customers

To say the least, good customer service can win customers. There’s a good chance that one of your competitors is an 800-pound gorilla with tons of features and options. Not all customers need all the features.

Timely and meaningful responses are probably all you need to differentiate yourself and win customers.

Learn from customers

Most founders and early employees are highly enthusiastic about providing good customer service. This first hand experience helps in building a better product roadmap. Founders have a vision and they constantly want to match it up with customers’ expectations. They can learn what works and what doesn’t. Take quicker decisions on what is the next important feature to add.

“Small means the founder makes a far greater percentage of the customer interactions. Small means the founder is close to the decisions that matter and can make them, quickly.

Small is the new big because small gives you the flexibility to change the business model when your competition changes theirs.” – Seth Godin

At Tenmiles everyone participates in customer service – including developers. In our experience, direct interfacing with customers have helped developers always focus on a long-term solution and ensure similar issues don’t crop up.

“Almost every tech support problem has two solutions. The superficial and immediate solution is just to solve the customer’s problem. But when you think a little harder you can usually find a deeper solution: a way to prevent this particular problem from ever happening again.” – Joel Spolsky

Gain from existing customers

Of course, it’s not just your first interaction but the repeat experience that makes you a real winner. If you provide a range of services and need to constantly up-sell, you care about repeat business. If you provide a single product that customers pay a monthly subscription for, you care about retention. If you sell something for a one-time fee, you care a great deal for referrals.

“Don’t be an ass. This may sound obvious, but people like doing business with nice people. If you’re friendly and kind, it’s way more likely people will become repeat customers.” – Ryan Carson

A happy customer will always come back to you. They’ll bring their friends and stay loyal to your product.

Get better at marketing

Good relationships with customers can help you understand in-depth use-cases of your product. This can tell you how to pitch your product better to a similar audience. You can also learn where and what they look for while hunting for a product like yours.

Customers can provide you with testimonials or case-studies which are valuable assets for any marketing collateral.

You don’t really need expensive research or guess work. You just need to constantly talk to your customers.

It’s simple, really. Happy Customers, Happy You!

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.