Running an online business is a great lifestyle. It allows you a freedom of lifestyle that enables you to use your time in anyway that you see fit. Personally I like to travel and it enables me to travel as much as my wife will allow 🙂
Time and again I see people running online businesses who put customer support at the bottom of their todo list. This means that it’s always secondary and never most important. After all, you’ve already sold the product so now it’s about moving on to sell the next product right?
In fact I personally believe that this could not be more wrong. Everybody who has purchased something from you has put their trust in you and your ability to help them achieve their goal.
By not focusing on your customer support you are instantly destroying the trust that you have spent so much time winning. But, by spending a little bit of time helping your customers to achieve their goals they will in return support you and purchase your future products.
An example comes to mind for me recently. I’ve been looking to integrate SMS into our company. We run a service that relies on getting information to our members as quickly as possible and SMS is the obvious option to offer.
We use InfusionSoft for our CRM system, and having spent a long-time looking at all the options that worked easily with InfusionSoft I opted for one that looked to be the best. They also offered a $1 seven day trial and then it was $49 per month plus the SMS charges (which were 7 cents). Bearing in mind I would be sending around 4500 SMS per month, this is a fairly substantial monthly fee!
Having signed-up I went into the members area to see how to set things up and immediately it looked like I couldn’t get it to work how I wanted to. So I looked for the contact support area only to discover…
…there was no contact support in the members area!
So I ended up going back to the website and entering through their contact us form.
Two days later I was still awaiting a reply and on the third day I sent another email and left a message on their phone number.
Another two days later and I was still awaiting a reply so I sent an email saying I was going to cancel if nobody was going to respond.
I then got a phone call from someone who told me a work around so it could work with how we wanted. During the conversation he sounded as if the last thing he wanted to do was be on the phone to me and my second question, regarding something available in the members area I wasn’t expecting but was very excited to have found he couldn’t answer but gave me a direct email to contact the developer on.
Since I’d signed up and tried everything out, I thought that I could at least give it another go. I emailed the developer with my questions and when I got back to the office, logged into the members area to do the work around.
Everything was looking good until I went to send the SMS using the work-around and a message popped up saying that in order to use this feature I needed to buy access to it for another $199!
Let’s look at my journey with this company so far…
- I spent a lot of time researching the various companies offering this service
- I chose this company and signed up for a seven day trial and monthly membership and SMS costs that was going to be around $400 a month in total
- I couldn’t get anything to work and they had no support contact in their members area
- I had to chase them to get support on a product that was going to be costing me around $400 per month
- Having been show a work-around they asked me for another $199
By this point all my trust in this company had gone. To be honest I was annoyed I’d even spent $1 and there’s no way I was going to give them another $199. I mean, what if I couldn’t get in touch when their was a problem with the service. That would jeopardise the service I was providing to my members!
Five days later I’m still waiting for a reply from the developer and it’s been three days since I asked them to cancel my membership and there’s been no reply.
There CEO has asked to connect with me on LinkedIn!
I’m sure that the technical service they provide is probably very good but they’ve just lost a long-term customer who would have been spending nearly $5000 per year, and more as our business grows. They also provided another facility which is $799 that I wanted and they’ve now lost that sale as well.
And I’m sure I would have purchased future products from them to.
They’ve lost that because…
They don’t have customer support as a priority!
You only need to lose ten customers a year like that and you’ve lost over $60,000 in revenue.
Gaining enough trust from somebody so that they purchase is a hard won job, but losing it can be done very easily. You MUST want to help your customers achieve their goals and provide a strong level of support during business hours.
Do this and you’ll turn your customers into raving fans.
JonNovember 26, 2013
Good post Michael and we personally take great pride in replying to every email and member contact at System Lays. Often we get questions which are unrelated to our products but we still do our best to help as its what we believe in.
Out of interest, did you get your customer support system sorted out and can you recommend a supplier to compliment our personal efforts? We too also use Infusionsoft
Michael WildingNovember 26, 2013
Thanks Jon. I use Zendesk for our customer support. I’ve found it to be the best support desk. I don’t have it integrated with InfusionSoft although I know there is a third-party integration available.