Tom Watson, the founder of IBM, is quoted as saying, “If you don’t genuinely like your customers, chances are they won’t buy.”
In any technology business, particularly businesses servicing non-technical customers, it is tempting to assume “user error” anytime a customer calls your support line. Most Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses would fall into this category of thinking. If your service team begins each day assuming the customer is generally wrong, naive, or just too lazy to read the manual, then they will treat your customers as the enemy. This is not acceptable.
Great businesses treat every customer as a friend or colleague. Great businesses view a customer with a problem as an opportunity–an opportunity to learn how to make the product or service better. It is an opportunity to up-sell additional services. It is an opportunity to build a raving fan.
A raving fan is much more than a customer. Let me explain with an example. Imagine you are out for dinner. The server comes to your table and asks, “How was your meal?” If you simply reply, “Fine,” then you are not a raving fan. But if instead you say “Great” and then, as you are pulling into your driveway later that night, you bump into your neighbor and shout out to him, “John, I just ate at a great restaurant,” then you are a raving fan.
To promote true customer partnerships I recommend beginning every customer support call with the assumption that your product or service could be better and that the customer knows what they are talking about, because if your product was perfect the customer would not need to call. If, in every interaction, you treat your customer as an intelligent thoughtful person, as a friend, and always assume a customer problem is an opportunity to improve your product and processes–you will build raving fans. Raving fans will promote your business.
Make a customer a friend and a raving fan today. Grow your business.