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From napkin plan to mega-zillion product. About technology, usability, entrepreneurship and start-ups.

Posted by edoron | December - 28 - 2010 | 4 Comments

I’m going to start a series of posts for entrepreneurs about running their business. Here we go…

Using this tip and a few others we achieved a 20% (!!!) conversion rate (registered to paying users) on this song licensing service.

Start-ups sometimes tend to be caught up with building up buzz, getting traction and with churning out features that they forget one of the most important facts of life:

The user is the center of your start-up, it’s all about the user and it will always be about the user. Pleasing the user has many facets; one of them is to provide more than adequate customer support. I’m going to risk and state the obvious, but you’d be amazed how many companies do not follow these simple rules:

1. You should answer to user e-mails and you should do it within 24 hours. I can’t emphasize this enough, this is the basis for everything else.

2. If you do not have an adequate answer, reply nonetheless and tell the user when his problem will be addressed/fixed/answered.

3. If you can budget a support team that’s great, if not, do it yourself. Yes, you, the CEO/CTO/Founder… reply to users personally.

4. Explain things to users, be transparent. Do not assume users are stupid.

5. Never blame the user. 99% of the time it’s your fault.

6. Take the opportunity to request feedback from the user. It would help you later.

7. If your user base is too big to handle, setup mass customer support means, like a forum, or user automated feedback tools. Monitor the forum and reply to posts. Assign moderators and advanced users to help you out with answering the newbie questions.

8. Provide one on one customer support to paying customers regardless of your user base size. If you don’t, they’ll soon not be paying customers.

9. If you are hiring a support team make sure they are properly trained, have good English and are courteous. Monitor their responses and make sure they do not do more damage than good. I’ve seen this happen many times.

10. Last but not least: Be personal. Users respond better to a flawed human that talks at eye level, than a heartless customer service machine.

The better you’ll do these things, the more users will think positively towards your company which in turn will translate into better business results.

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Dilbert.com

4 Responses so far.

  1. nir says:

    I totally agree.
    I would say point no. 6 is maybe neglected: Use the opportunity that user created with you contact to get more feedbacks on your product or even cross sale.
    Users are more willing to react and communicate in this situation.
    Another advantage for a good service is to use the list of users who contacted you (and are pleased) for future purposes such as survey, pilots, feedbacks on new features etc.

  2. edoron says:

    Point 6 deserves its own separate blog post. :)

  3. Johnny says:

    The customer is always right! I agree with all your points Doron.

  4. Edith says:

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