A lot of people think of customer service the wrong way…

They see it as a heavy expense, something they have to pay for that doesn’t yield any return-on-investment.

You’ve probably heard something like this before…

“Why not just outsource your customer service? Why bother hiring people who have a lot of experience in the product? It’s too expensive and it doesn’t make us any money! You’re going to spend money for no reason”

…yikes.

We’ve taught management at our companies a very different train of thought to follow.

It can be summarized in one question.

“How can I make our customer’s experience so good that they become an organic marketing machine for the company?”

For some reason, this surprises a lot of people in the consumer goods space. I have no idea why, but it does.

Maybe they think they are Comcast or United Airlines? (jokes jokes jokes, don’t sue, I have a doggo to feed)

If you aren’t delivering amazing customer experiences — or at the very least — good experiences, you’re going to have to spend a lot more money on marketing to sustain growth.

Let me demonstrate this with a real life example, except with randomized names so I don’t get a butt-hurt email in 12 hours.

I have a friend, let’s call him Tom…

He’s great at marketing, possibly one of the best marketers I know, and he’s a nice guy. He’s a humble guy that does very well.

Hell, he doesn’t run around posting pictures of himself with his car on the Instagram, even though it’s a gorgeous Lamborghini he just bought.

Tom made a product that’s pretty cool, genius even, and he managed to sell almost $1,000,000 worth of this product in his first month.

Eventually, he noticed his click-thru-rates were still just as good as they were at the start of his new company, but for some reason people weren’t buying his products, even after viewing his website extensively.

The worst part is that he couldn’t figure out why his conversion rate had plummeted…

He had to make up for the drop in conversion rates by increasing his ad spend significantly, which meant he was paying almost 4x what he had been at the start of his business to acquire new customers.

Suddenly his business wasn’t the cash cow it was just a few weeks earlier.

I told him he should do something simple and just ask existing customers if they almost didn’t purchase, and if so, for what reason.

It turns out that a lot of them had searched for his company on Google, and found negative reviews…

The worst part about this is that none of these were related to the product! They were related to something he could have easily fixed — his customer service!

If he had spent just a little bit more money delivering a positive customer experience, he wouldn’t have had to shut down and could have sold his company for at least a few million.

So, how can you do the opposite of Tom, and have your customers help you build your business?

More importantly, how can you do it without destroying your bank account?

Here’s how we do it…

Find out what is annoying your customers.

Go through your existing customer experience, and see if there’s anything that annoys you.

I mean the whole thing. Click on an ad, order a product, and wait for it to arrive.

Get your friends and relatives to do it too.

You’ll be surprised by what they find. For example, I had no idea some of the text used on our sites is difficult for older people to read.

Anyways, after that, email your customers and ask for feedback. Better yet, call them.

“You want me to phone my customers?! Won’t they get mad?”

No. Just tell them you own the company or give whoever is calling them a cool title and nobody will be mad.

In fact, they’ll feel appreciated when they find out that the owner of the company or someone with an important sounding title is calling them for their feedback.

Seriously, I think we’ve made something like 1500–2000 of those calls and precisely zero people have been upset about it. Just be honest with them.

You can use these calls to gather other important data too and learn more about who is buying your product and for what purpose.

Next…

Solve their problems permanently & automatically.

This is really simple, so let’s use point form goodness.

  1. Remember the problems you found out your customers are facing earlier?
  2. Look at them and figure out how many can be solved so the customer never faces them in the first place.
  3. Go out and create automated solutions for these problems!

Not only will these three steps make your customer’s experience better, but they will reduce the load on your CS team, which reduces CS costs.

For example, say your customers are having difficult figuring out how to use a certain product feature. Set up an automated email sequence that explains the feature in-depth or provide them with a way to opt-in for training with the product via email sequences or a video series!

Give people an amazing story to tell their friends.

This one is huge.

As you’ve likely noticed, people love posting about negative experiences they have had with companies on social media.

The good news is that they’ll also do the opposite and happily promote your company for free if you provide them with a cool story to tell people.

So, how can you give them a great story that they’ll be excited to tell family and friends about?

Go above and beyond in unexpected ways.

One big thing we did recently that was extremely effective was to upgrade the shipping of all customers that pre-ordered a guitar pedal from our company Horizon Devices for free to make up for a delay caused by a parts supplier.

We explained the situation to customers fully, and then told them about the free upgrade and they were all thrilled…about a delay!

Most companies do not even bother to proactively reach out to customers to inform them of a delay, let alone upgrade their shipping.

If you don’t believe me, go look at a few completed Kickstarter campaigns.

Be reachable.

I see a lot of companies, especially SaaS providers, do this.

They’ll purposely make it difficult to find their phone number. It’s very, very frustrating for customers and exceptionally stupid to do.

If someone calls customer service and they are impressed with a customer service representative’s knowledge, then chances are, they’ll stick with you. Or if they haven’t bought yet, it’s a great chance to show the customer exactly how your product will solve their problems.

As usual, no conclusion. Just share this if you found it helpful.

Written by Mehtab Bhogal, a co-founder of Momentum Ventures Vancouver. Learn more about us here: www.momentumventures.org