When I was a teenager, good customer service was never much of a selling point. There were a few reasons behind this philosophy.
1. I was a teen, and therefore accepted the fact that most places were going to treat me like a criminal.
2. I wasn't usually buying anything so valuable that it required special attention or support.
3. If I was at a bank; I didn't pay fees, and never had enough money to worry about.
Basically, my needs were small, as were my expectations.
Now that I'm older, I'm far more careful with every dollar I spend. Spending my paycheque on some new shoes or a car stereo made perfect sense at 16. Thinking about that now makes me want to go back in time and slap myself.
There's also far more companies fighting for my attention. While there were only a handful of stores trying to sell me shoes at 16, there are hundreds who want me to test out their accounting software, Wordpress plugin, or social media app.
Some of these companies think that a loud voice and a blowout sale is all they need to get my money. Thankfully, there are a select few who actually do it the right way.
Simply Accounting: I needed to use this for some client work recently. I've used it in the past, but Quickbooks has been my default for many years. So, I downloaded a trial copy so I could get a sense for what version would be the best choice.
A few days after starting my trial, I received an email and phone call from Mavys at Simply Accounting. Instead of the usual cookie-cutter welcome email, it was very friendly, and pointed me to information very specific to bookkeepers using their products.
Based solely on the quality of the email, I replied back and asked a question. This question was one that I had sent to Intuit and had been disappointed with their response.
I am working with clients in both Canada and the US now. I haven't had a need for a US version of Quickbooks or Simply yet, but it might come up in the future. My Quickbooks Pro Advisor membership gives me copies of the Canadian version, but not the US. I wanted to know if I had access to a US version of the software.
Intuit: No would have been a bad enough response. What I got was quite a bit more disappointing. First off, no, I don't have access to a US version of the software. Furthermore, I would have to contact someone at Intuit in the US and purchase it separately. I couldn't even get the product from my contact in Canada. Finally, I was told that installing both versions on the same computer causes problems, so they recommended I have 2 computers setup, so that I could run each version on its own computer. Seriously? Who would buy a 2nd computer just to run another accounting app?
Simply Accounting: Mavys, who is officially my favourite person at Simply Accounting had a much better response. When I'm ready to buy my copy, all I need to do is ask, and she will make sure I have both the US and Canadian versions included...at no extra cost. Plus, there are no issues running both apps on the same system.
I don't want to give you the wrong impression. One question answered well doesn't mean I'm suddenly dropping Quickbooks. I've been using it for years, and I know all of the keyboard shortcuts.
On the other hand, Simply is now on my radar again. I'm going to buy a slightly more expensive version than I had originally intended, in order to sign up for their equivalent of Intuit's Pro Advisor program. Like anything new, I resist it because of the unfamiliarity. However, there's no guarantee that, once I've become accustomed to it, I won't end up liking it more.
The simple fact is that a phone call and email that took less than 5 minutes has resulted in $400 worth of sales and a blog post.
Now it's your turn
Instead of a stock auto-responder (or nothing at all), why not spend the time to personalize your interactions with your new customers? Take 5 minutes to learn something about them. You can do this by crafting a better contact form (something I need to do), or checking out their website. Then, take that information, and spend another 5 minutes writing a more tailored email, welcoming them to your product/service.
It doesn't seem like much, but with so many people fighting for your customer base, every little gesture helps.
Do you have any good tips? Have you figured out a way to gain customers by adding a personal touch to your interactions? Please share your advice in the comments.