You have a pulse – it’s important it never stops.
Your business has a pulse – when it stops your customers assume your dead or dying.
This why the following elements are crucial for your business or startup:
- Advertising frequency
- Newsletter updates
- Web page changes
- Twitter feed on your homepage
- Regular blogging
- Returning phone calls & emails the same day
- Speedy invoicing (guilty)
- Product iterations and improvements
- PR & media exposure
- Team, fan, member, evangalist get togethers
- Conversing with your people on line
- Conversing with people off line
- Acknowledging (not hassling) everyone who enters your office, retail space or workshop.
Let your customers know you’re alive, and they’ll treat you like you are. Let them think your dead or dying and they’ll ensure you die for sure.
I have my personal mobile number published on the rentoid.com contact page. Crazy? Maybe. Yes I do get the occasional phone call from overseas at 3am – and I answer it bleary eyed, and turn on my laptop to help the rentoid member.
Here’s why I do it:
– I get instant feedback on what we need to do to improve rentoid
– I ask them how they found us
– I tell them things they not not know about rentoid to improve their experience
Importantly, I surprise them with some personal service, from an actual fully fledged web business, which is beyond expectations.
Sometime in business we need to be prepared to be ‘annoyed’ in order to ‘delight’
Startup blog says: Make yourself available.
Here’s a nice piece of personal input from a staff member at Southwest Airlines. Although they do have a reputation of doing things a little different, the thing that really matters is the fact that they let staff ‘add value’ and be real people.
I like it…. I’d be interested to know if you do, or if you’d find it annoying?
For startups, simple service innovations and staff input cost almost nothing. If you’re lucky, 25,000 people will see it on the internet!
These are starting to pop up in the better airports around the world. But every airport has the space for them in the international departure lounges. I’ve seen them in Singapore and now in Dubai International Airport as seen below:
They are just a cool idea which makes sense for ‘the people’. A classic ‘1 percenter’. When we are traveling for days at a time a little welcome relief on the ground or a stopover might just make us go through that airport on our next global trip, instead of that other one.
Here’s another simple innovation from an old industry, a parking lot, actually giving a hoot about their customers.
As you can see in the pic there is a little red or green light above every space indicating its availability. So the tiny car space mirage is now a thing of the past. The thing that actually excites me about this innovation is that it doesn’t benefit the car park owners. They’d be better off having cars drive around longer searching for a spaces and elongated traffic jams, which would result in greater revenue. But they chose this instead which is very cool.
What stuff is your business doing for them, and their benefit?
I recently ordered this most rad t-shirt on line from cafe press:
After a month it still hadn’t arrived. So slightly upset sent them through a note as below.
My order was meant to arrive between these times: Estimated Arrival: Monday 6/30/08 – Monday 7/7/08. But I am still yet to receive it and I am getting worried that It will never arrive. It is now 7/13/08 so it has been nearly a month! Can you please follow up for me. I am a first time cafe press customer and so far it hasn’t been a good experience.
1st cafe press response:
Thank you for contacting CafePress.com! This note is to inform you that we have received your inquiry and are assigning it to a representative. We respond to all email messages within 24 hours. If you do not receive an answer within 24 hours please call us toll-free at 1-877-809-1659 during our customer service hours Monday – Saturday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm EST.
To help track your inquiry we have generated the following reference number LTK419015882692X. Please use this number in any further communication.
2nd ‘real person’ cafe press response:
Dear Steve, I am sorry to hear you haven’t received your order. I checked and it is past the date it should have arrived. To make sure there are no further delays please confirm back with your correct shipping address. As soon as I get this information I will replace your order at no charge. I look forward to your reply.
If there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.
Best Regards, Crystal R.
A few things for startups to notice:
- Yes, it was an automated response, but a real living, breathing person got back to me within 24 hours. ‘We want to deal with real people.’ Only real people can respond to emotion.
They offered a toll free number for me to call on if a didn’t hear within 24 hours. All websites should have someone you can call.
They advised they would replace the order, no questions & immediatly. They accepted fault.
They included a link where I could rate there customer service even though, I was potentially an upset customer. No excuses, no hiding on their behalf.
In short, cafe press offered; guarantees, to fix the proble, they accepted fault, and started a feedback loop which has lead to great customer service, from a potentially negative situation. Now I’m blogging about a positive situation when it may well have been the opposite.
Webpreneurs – Be like cafe press.