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Customer Service @ startups

October 5, 2011

Before starting this venture I always thought and had the opinion that I as a customer has a right of getting absolutely awesome service and any issues that I faced I always expected them to be resolved in my favor. I took the adage “customer is king” to heart and expected the same kind of a royal service from all organizations no matter the size that I interacted with. Again having lived in France for an year I truly appreciated the kind of customer service one gets here in US of A.

So what changed over the past 4 months? Having been on the other side of the table do I still hold this adage? As a CEO of the company do I still provide exceptional customer service? Were there any instances where I felt that my customers were being unreasonable? Have I at any point felt that “customer is not the king”

Before I start answering all these questions I just want to make one point clear – whenever DesiSauda is interacting with its customers I always make it a point to the team to put themselves in the customers shoes and treat them the same way they want themselves to be treated. This is the single most important guiding principle that DesiSauda adheres to when delivering customer service. Now jumping back the list of questions

Yes I still hold the adage “customer is king” to heart. For example I received a rather very nasty email from a customer asking us to stop spamming emails and calling us as “dumb”. Now that particular person is a customer and no matter what he/she says one has to take it in the stride – I am not condoning that person’s behavior and use of unparliamentary language. When I started framing an email back to the person I was very cordial and explained to him about our email policies, how we respect his privacy and how he can unsubscribe. At the time I was framing this email my partner asked me why am I being so nice to such a person and I simply said that this person has written such an email just because he was frustrated or just that he was having a bad hair day. I immediately get back an email from the same person apologizing for his rudeness and thanked me for giving him directions as to how he can unsubscribe – he being a customer is king and I expect the same kind of a service no matter how I behave (obviously there are certain limitations in which a business operates)

As a CEO do I expect DesiSauda to provide exceptional customer service all the time? Not exactly – we always do a cost benefit analysis and try to accommodate most of the customer requests. What I personally believe is that the key ingredient in providing exceptional customer service is taking that additional effort in following through and better communication – this is related to my earlier post about HRB5M syndrome. Going back to the earlier point there were instances where we declined customer requests as being unreasonable even though we know that it would piss them. But again from a cost perspective it would not be economical for DesiSauda to satisfy those requests – note that a company cannot do this CBA on a short term basis and has to look into the value that the customer can bring to the organization over his/her life cycle.

There were many instances where I felt that my customers were not being responsible and hence not kings at all. For example for an event we sold tickets at discounted price and a customer walks to our counter when the event was halfway through and demanded a refund which we obviously rejected. In these cases obviously customer is not the king and there has to be some education on the customer’s front as well.

I am hoping that as DesiSauda grows we continue to provide great customer service and we will be known as one of the companies that has created a name for satisfied customers.

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