3 Tips for Excellent Customer Service at Your Startup

May 8, 2011

12:00 pm

Customer service can make or break your startup. As the first point of contact for the majority of FeeFighters users, I’ve learned how important it is to be a genuinely useful resource for potential customers, as well as how to interpret misunderstandings of our product. Here are some quick tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Be Real– People pick up the phone to call a person. Be the person who will listen to their problems/issues, respond with empathy, and make sure the problems have been cleared up. When people seem genuinely confused or upset, ask open ended questions to help you understand the situation. “I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. How can I help the situation?” goes surprisingly far in establishing trust.
  2. Offer Value– One of the most important things you can do is be useful and offer resources to your users. I’ve found that taking down emails and sending follow up emails with links to relevant blog articles has helped build a relationship between myself and users. Think of it this way, why should the person trust what you’re saying? You should be able to back up your words and provide as much value as you can.
  3. User Questions are Product Feedback– I make sure to report the most common questions users have to our product development team. Once I hear a question more than a few times, there is clearly a disconnect between what the product intends to do and what it’s actually doing. Since the people with whom I speak are real users with real problems, customer service calls can be thought of as cheap usability tests.

Above all, treat users the way you’d want to be treated. This advice may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how very few companies actually take it to heart.

Image courtesy of ImpactFactory.com.

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Stella Fayman is a member of the founding team at FeeFighters, the comparison shopping website for credit card processors. She specializes in marketing and social media, and providing customer service to business owners. Stella is passionate about all things entrepreneurship and startup life. Follow her at @startupstella.

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