There is no shortage of articles about the importance of customer
service. Last week, Guy
Kawasaki published an interview with Bill Price, titled "Why The
Best Service is No Service. Bill Price's premise is that products should work
so well and be so easy to use; clients never have to contact customer service.
I agree completely. Our clients should not have to contact us to understand
how the product works. It should be self-evident from the get go. Documentation
should be readily available to help the client along.
The only problem with this philosophy is that nothing is ever perfect.
Products sometimes have flaws. Clients sometimes use the product in a way that
was unforeseen by its creator. Even though AceProject is an Internet-based
company, our clients still like to talk to us, and get a feel of who we are in
the offline world.
Hence our customer service rules at AceProject:
- Humans speak to humans
No one should have to find their way through a automated system, or talk
to a machine. When people call us, they want to speak to us, not our phone
system. We make a point of answering our phones and returning our calls as
soon as possible.
- Customer service should be
At Websystems, customer service is always free. We think our customers
should not have to pay to have their questions answered. Actually,
technical support at Websystems is also always free. We prefer to invest
in making AceProject work flawlessly and making it a success, than taking
money from our clients when it fails. No matter how many versions behind a
client is, when they call us, they still get free support.
- A bug by any other name is
still a bug
No system is perfect. When AceProject does something it's not supposed to,
it doesn't matter who the client is, their bug gets fixed. And it's free.
AceProject has no "undocumented features" or "unexpected
issues." When AceProject is not working correctly, it's a bug,
- Happy people work better
Over the years, we've noticed that when we're happy, we work more,
we're more effective and we have a more positive impact on the business.
So we take notice when someone is not happy. If it has to do with their
job at Websystems, we take steps to fix that.
- Great products are so much
easier to maintain
It pays more to invest in making AceProject great than to add people to
answer the phones. We spend a lot of time and effort in the testing stages
of development, to make sure that AceProject is ready for release. Without
this testing phase, all our users would be our guinea pigs. We think they
deserve more than that.
… and a classic:
Under-promise, over-deliver. Always. It makes clients happy, our team proud
of their accomplishment, and an all-around better experience for everyone.