With hundreds of tech startups focusing most of their time developing and promoting products, searching and vying for capital, and struggling to stay afloat, offering outstanding customer service is one of the easiest things to overlook. This would be a fatal mistake – and Paul Graham, venture capitalist and Y Combinator co-founder, would be one to agree.
In his article “Do Things That Don’t Scale,” Graham explains that keeping existing happy is as important as acquiring new ones. Customers are your best source of feedback, which is valuable to your overall product design and development. Also, if tech startups make an effort to really reach out and make customers feel that their best interests are being looked out for, they are more likely to inspire the kind of loyalty that would win the company success in the long run.
Customer Service Taking the Backseat
Graham mentioned some reasons why tech startup entrepreneurs tend to put less priority to customer service. For one, a lot of tech startup founders are trained to be engineers, who are not especially adept in the customer service department.
Also, founders do not see how paying attention to individual customers can possibly scale. Another reason, Graham points out, would be because these tech startups founders may not have had any firsthand experience on how it is like to get special attention as a customer.
But what startup companies may not realize is that it is them, the startup Davids in a world of Goliath corporations, who can afford to go the extra mile to build more intimate relationships with their customers. They have nothing to lose; having a great product is important but being attentive to your users sets you apart from several other alternatives.
Be the Ideal ‘Date’ to Your Customer
Having someone pay for your product should not be the end of your relationship with your customer. Customer service refers to the aspect of providing continuous support post-sale. Communicating with your users can be an important learning experience for both the startup company and the customer.
Y Combinator partner David Hale defines the relationship as something similar to dating someone new. He stresses the importance of making a good first impression with new customers, to keep them interested enough to go to “the next level” with you.
Hale also encouraged tech startups to think “out of the box.” For instance, when sending that first email or publishing that first ad, truly make a lasting impact.
Personalized Customer Experience
Pixlee co-founder Kyle Wong, in his article published on Forbes, has a few recommendations on how tech startups can start reaping the benefits of good customer service:
- Share your vision. You will notice how tech startups that are transparent about their vision and openly invite users to share the same vision win more devoted users.
- Be ready to offer solutions. On top of being attentive and open to feedback, be ready to solve your customer’s problems. This type of mindset is a lot more likely to result in larger opportunities.
- Learn from data. Document feedback and encourage internal discussions that touch on relevant issues.
Keeping your entire team aware about what customers want and need renders your tech startup company better equipped to address customer needs in the coming future. At the same time, it gives you a clearer picture about the direction that your product and your startup company should be going. Remember that the rise of this era of startups came about with the promise of products that can transform how people do things and how they live their lives. Focusing on these people – the users – would only seem natural.