When you’re running an early stage startup, sometimes creating an excellent customer service experience is the furthest thing from your mind. You’re probably spending all of your time building your product, courting customers and figuring out the bare bones of a marketing strategy. Maybe you’ve grown to 10 employees and actually rented out an office space.
Surely it’s too soon to start building an excellent customer service strategy. This is a common mistake that can lead to the failure of a business.
Let’s walk through a few of the reasons you should invest in excellent customer service early in the life of your startup:
1. You’ve got bigger fish to fry
Odds are, the current system you have for fielding customer support requests is just doing it yourself. You’re probably responding to emails or talking on the phone to customers from your personal accounts. When your company was just you, that was OK. Nowadays, you need to spend your time doing other things. You can’t be split between a thousand duties.
Delegate customer support to a specific team member or bring someone on whose sole purpose is to field customer support requests. When you choose this person, make sure they’re suited to the job. One small change like this can free you up to tackle other issues while your customers receive the excellent customer service they crave.
2. Make up for what you lack
There are some problems with your product or service. No big deal. The beauty of startups is that they iterate early and often. One of the best ways to address shortcomings in your product or service is to make sure that there is someone on your support team that your customers can talk to.
When a customer encounters a problem with your product or service, they are not irretrievably lost to your company. A friendly customer service agent who has concrete advice and a kind personality can go a long way to preventing churn.
3. Promote customer loyalty
Modern customers demand real-time, personalized customer support. In our global, digitally-connected world, consumers expect to be able to interact with companies whenever they want. You know what’s a great way to promote brand loyalty? Giving people what they want.
Establishing a call center demonstrates care and respect for your customers. It shows that you not only welcome their questions and concerns, you are also more than happy to help.
Additionally, creating an excellent customer service experience can influence customers to spread the word about your company. “Not only is X a great product; they also gave me individualized attention when I reached out.” There is not much that can beat positive word of mouth advertising.
4. Advice from customers
Founding a startup is extremely difficult. Not only are you building out a product or service, you’re also all of a sudden managing business needs like finding a place to work that isn’t your parents’ basement.
You probably spend a lot of time putting out fires and refining your product. Once everything is stable, you may be unsure of how to proceed.
Your customers, particularly the early adopters, are your best resource for improving your business. If you provide them with a support channel, customers will tell you what they want. This could be anything from bugs that need to be worked out in your product to ideas for what direction you should be headed in. Listen to them. They can be your greatest source of learning.
5. You will need it later
You founded this startup because you expect it to succeed. That means you should be looking ahead to the future. Excellent customer service is absolutely essential to larger, more established, businesses. It’s indispensable.
The sooner you get started developing and implementing a customer support strategy, the better. Create a strong customer service foundation now so you have one less thing to worry about as you scale.
Running a startup is hard. Don’t make it harder by forgetting to establish customer support.