Dealing With Customers

I receive many emails from customers. I’m happy that more than 90% of these emails are about feature requests and not bugs. A small part of the emails is “how to” questions and an even smaller part is about reporting bugs. Since the last year’s October launch only 3 customers contacted me with bugs. 2 of them had ran into the emoji issue and one of them contacted me just last week with an issue about having an incorrect size of the Add Bookmark window in Opera. Fortunately it was an easy fix and I was I able to fix it by the next day. The truth is Opera was not among the browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge, Mac Safari) I tested — shame on me. Anyway it’s worth to check the browser statistics and the trends on this page. It can give you a good hint when you plan the testing of your app in the different browsers.

The “always and ASAP” rule

My number one rule is to always give a response to the customer as soon as possible. “Always” means that even if I don’t have the answer or the solution to their question or problem right away, I inform them in an email about when I will be able to get back to them with the answer. “ASAP” means within 24 hours. If you can provide the solution or the answer for the customer only in a week, that’s not a problem. But it’s important to inform them about it within a 24 hour time frame. Regarding the priorities it’s obvious that the “how to” and “bug” emails get priority over the “feature request” emails.

The value you give to your Customers

You can give value to your customers not just with your product or service but with your customer support, too. Whenever a user contacts you it’s a good opportunity to show them how professional your customer support is. It sounds weird but you are lucky if a customer contacts you with a bug or a question. On the one hand you can fix a bug that you didn’t find during the testing, on the other hand you can show how professionally and quickly you can react and fix the bug or answer their question. Users choose a product not just considering the features and the quality of the products but the customer support is also very important for them. I often hear customers leaving a product due to the poor customer support.

Special requests

Sometimes I get special requests from customers. For example last week a user asked me if could make CSV reports about his bookmarks, tags, tabs and categories, because he wanted to make some kind of statistics on his bookmarks. I was surprised how enthusiastic he was so I was happy to help him. I quickly wrote 2 SQL queries, ran the queries and sent him the output. He was very grateful and promised me that he would update me with his statistics.

Other times it happened, that users wanted to purchase the annual Ninja subscription after the trial expired, but they couldn’t make the payment due to temporary problems with their bank accounts or credit cards. After they contacted me I offered them to extend the trial with 1 or 2 weeks. And 1 or 2 weeks later they purchased the annual subscription. It’s that easy to make customers happy and satisfied.

The hard core Ninja Users

There are quite a few very enthusiastic customers who are big Ninja fans. They are the hard core Ninja users. They keep sending me emails about their ideas, new feature requests and experiences. I love these guys! It’s like we would be a team that discusses the future developments of Ninja. We are in touch roughly on a weekly basis, so we communicate pretty frequently with each other. The input, the information I get from them is invaluable. Also if I have an idea or a new feature in my mind they are the ones I can ask about it.

Customer support matters a lot

If you put the effort in providing a good customer support, users will appreciate it. They will appreciate it very much. You will make your customers happy and they will tell other potential customers their good stories. But if they have bad experiences then it’s more likely that they will tell their friends about them.

10 comments

  1. Great post! As you said one cannot always solve the problem immediately, but usually the end user does not expect that either (unless we are talking of a critical bug that prevents them from using the software), what they expect though is to know that at least someone is working in the problem, and that at some point a solution will be provided.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I worked in the corp world, sorting out problems that customers had with your service was called “service recovery”, and it was a given that if you did that really well most of the time customers would end up more enthusiastic and more loyal than if they’d never had a problem in the first place.

    Communicating well and quickly is certainly a big part of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a very good point and totally agree! If customers turn to you with issues or questions you can even make benefit of it by doing a good customer support. It’s not enough if you have a good product the support behind the product is as important as the product itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great points in this post! Even complaints are an opportunity to show your awesome customer service skills. Getting back to a customer immediately even to tell them that you need to check your schedule or you don’t know the answer to their question yet shows respect and that you value them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I certainly agree with you on this. I worked once in a customer service company as a Quality Analyst so I analyzed several data points on how our customers view our company. One thing that stood out in my 4-year research is that they want to the company to take ownership. By taking ownership, that means we respond to their inquiries or emails even if we don’t know the answer. This should be followed by delivering on what we promised. I used this in crafting action plans which increased our net promoter score from 25% to 40% in just the first year.

    Fast forward to the present, I use that insight in my marketing strategies. I mix it with what I am learning from my online marketing class to attract more loyal customers. I hope I can practice it soon in my planned startup.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always try to at least answer “I saw your email / message, let me see in deep an will send you a detailed response” And of course add It to my pipeline in order to prioritize. Like system, If you try to resolve every request immediately your productivity goes down. Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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