As both consumers and business owners we have all had bad customer service experiences with other companies. Whether it is in line at a fast food place or when dealing with a software or hardware vender, we have all had our blood boil at one time or another.
Today more than ever, we all want to work with people who we trust, treat us with respect, and provide a high quality service or product.
With all your competitors fighting for your business, it is often the one that provides the best customer service that wins in the end.
Recently, for an article I was writing for another publication, I interviewed John Jackson, president of RSI, an Austin, Texas-based custom computer software firm that provides custom software to companies both large and small. I was writing about the emerging trend of Software as a Service (SaaS). I asked Jackson what the five most important considerations he would give my readers about selecting a SaaS vendor. Jackson, a CPA by education and experience, indicated that if a company is looking for SaaS vendors to work with nonfinancial data, customer service should be the number one concern. If a company does work with sensitive financial data, he rated physical and electronic security as number one, with customer service being a close second.
Jackson’s point was that you need to trust the company that is providing you a product or service. Especially in today’s climate, where every dollar counts, you want to know that your vendor isn’t going to let you down when you need them most.
The same day I interviewed Jackson, I worked on a project for a friend who is trying to quickly get an online e-commerce store open in the next few days. My friend has had traditional brick-and-mortar stores for 20 years, but he wasn’t sure how to manage the project of picking a Web-hosting platform, a shopping cart vendor, and a credit card processor. I offered to help. My friend already had a Web-hosting platform for his company Web site, and I was determined to help him find an good electronic shopping cart vendor as well as a payment processing gateway.
I did my research and found a number of choices for shopping cart vendors. I looked at as many reviews as I could before I picked up the phone to start calling vendors. The first call I made was to an electronic shopping cart vendor that impressed me with the features listed on their Web site.
After navigating the gauntlet of an automated phone system I was able to speak to an actual person in sales. I had a host of questions to ask them. The first person I spoke with could only answer about one forth of my questions. I asked if there was someone more knowledgeable I could speak with. She said she was not allowed to transfer my call. I asked her for her name to document my notes should I call back. She said, “In our industry, it is not normal for someone to give their name out.” Red flags started going up immediately for me. This wasn’t a collection agency call. I wanted to purchase their services. I immediately struck this company from my list even though I liked many of the software features.