I have found that one of a few big reasons that customers stick with us is our great customer service. I have discovered this through conversations and through surveying customers with Survey Monkey, that they really like and really want great customer service.
For our custom software business that means providing them with:
- Quick responses
- Solid technical work
- Honest feedback
Provide customers with quick responses so they know a human being is on the case. An autoreply from your case/ticket/bug management system is fine. But be sure to follow-up quickly by a human being. “Quickly” could be in a few minutes or at least in a couple hours. You don’t necessarily need to solve the problem that quickly. Just let them know a human is aware of the issue.
Then you should define the priority of the work, and thereby, the ETA for the modification or fix. (We work on custom software applications so we always thing in terms of new features, modifications, and bugs).
Having company rules or policies which your customers agree to can make this whole process a lot easier and clearer.
Solid Technical Work
Great customer service isn’t great without quality resolutions. If you responded to the customer quickly that you’re on the case, but then deliver a buggy fix that the customer immediately discovers, then their opinion of you just went down a notch.
When you work on the feature, modification, or bug to a close, make sure you’ve done it right. Don’t rush it. Rushing to a fix does no one any good because the quality ALWAYS seriously suffers. No shortcuts. No silver bullets. Take a bit of time to think about how to solve the problem the right way, the do it.
Honestly is indeed the best policy. If your customer requested something that you’re not sure about, ask questions to confirm. If they asked for some custom software modification that doesn’t make sense relative to other features they have in the application, mention it. If they didn’t request a small aspect of a feature that you think might be a good idea based on how they normally work, suggest it.
My customers have always appreciated this kind of feedback. We’ve been able to improve upon their requested features, and avoid potential problems.
So, if you’re running a custom software business, or any type of business that provides customer service, make great customer service one of the major pillars of your business, and you’ll do well for yourself.