4 Startup Founders Share The Best Support Experiences They Ever Received
One great experience can turn a customer into an evangelist.
Do a quick search for “Zappos support stories” and you’ll find dozens of great stories the company going above and beyond for customers.
There was the bouquet of flowers sent to a customer whose mother was ill.
The time a support agent stayed on the phone with a chatty customer for 10 hours and 29 minutes.
The agent who helped a late-night caller find information on nearby pizza places.
It all comes back to Zappos core value No. 1: “Deliver WOW Through Service.”
Remarkable service experiences for your customers have compounding positive benefits for your business. Zappos was acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion.
We wanted to know more about what makes for a remarkable support experience. So we asked some founders in the startup community to share the best support experience they ever received.
Here’s what they had to say.
John O’Nolan, Founder of Ghost
I guess I have a bit of an unusual one. It stands out because it happened almost 10 years ago, in the Summer of 2007 when I was learning to code and bought a small spiral bound reference book (cheat-sheet, essentially) from Visibone.com - a god-awful website, but a nice product. The order confirmation email just blew me away and filled me with joy:
*Dear John O’Nolan,
I can’t describe what a thrill it is to get your business. My fondest wish is to make useful stuff — and for actual people to actually use it. You’re probably a complete stranger and somehow I’ve convinced you to give it a try. And you’re actually paying me?! Almost too much to take, but I’ll bear up. I’d love to know how it all turns out.
Below you’ll find all the details of your order, including a link where you can check status.
We ship most orders on the next business day after we receive your payment. Some orders we have to ship in multiple packages, so if you don’t get everything, the rest is almost certainly on its way. I insist you tell me if you don’t get everything in perfect condition.
I hope you find the stuff I’ve made an oasis of usefulness. But more, I hope you’ll imagine how it could be better. So, quite literally:
If this is not the most useful paper for web designers in the world, I want you to tell me what is. Or could be. — Bob Stein, www.visibone.com*
Massimo Chieruzzi, CEO and Co-Founder of AdEspresso
It probably happened just few days ago. We ordered from Custom Ink a new batch of 300 shirts. They were very good but they shrunk a bit after washing. Nothing serious, I just mentioned it in the post-purchase survey to let them know. After few minutes they wrote me back offering to check the shirts and replace all of them if the problem was confirmed. I told them it was not a big deal and there was no need to replace them and they sent me a $100 coupon for the next purchase. I was really impressed since I didn't ask them for any of this, I just wanted to provide them useful feedback
Vinay Patankar, CEO and Co-Founder of Process Street
There are a few products that I use from, all from early stage startups that have let me invite them as single channel guests into our own slack team. This is by and far the best experience for me, I don't have to join another slack team and I don't have to use some other medium to communicate (like email). Since I batch process email, slack is the only place that I am really responsive to, so being flexible and meeting me where I spend my time greatly increases the support experience for me.
Jonathan Kim, Co-Founder of Appcues
It's hard to remember the all-time best, but the best recent experience was with our cable provider, RCN (said no one ever, right?). They're actually very accessible. I can get on the phone with them almost instantly, they're small, so I almost always get the same person and he remembers who I am.
Anatomy of excellent Support
Let’s look closely at these four stories and see if they have anything in common.
1. Personal Touches
All these stories have some degree of personal touch to them. It’s clear that Vinay was really impressed by getting personal access to companies through slack. Even something as simple as your cable company remembering who you are goes a long way.
2. Product Experience Is Key
The companies behind these support stories obviously care deeply about how their product is experienced. Custom Ink didn’t want anything less than a stellar experience from their clients, and it shows. Or takes John’s interaction with Visibone, which went so far as to ask for recommendations on better products in the space.
3. Simple Gestures
A lot of companies make the mistake of assuming “above and beyond” means “over the top.” They shy away from remarkable support experiences because they assume they need to be costly, grand gestures. As we can see above, there’s nothing particularly extravagant about anything the companies did. In fact, they were all pretty simple gestures. Sending a thoughtful note, picking up the phone, inviting someone to Slack. It doesn’t have to be over the top.
I hope these anecdotes gave you some understanding of what great experiences look like. It really comes down to caring about your product and the customer. They don’t have to be some extreme or wild offering. Sometimes it’s the simple gestures that go the furthest.