Running a successful WordPress business can be difficult and there are so many challenges you have to face. Whether you are a plugin or a theme developer or you are managing a bunch of e-commerce sites, you know the drill. You have to deliver the results to your clients, you have to always stay focused on marketing and enhancements of your business, and you also have to provide support to your existing clients.
Customer Service often gets the connotation of a necessary evil of every online business but it is actually its backbone!
Not only does it keep your existing customers but it also brings new ones with each interaction with the clients. No matter how much money you spend on advertising, it’s not worth it unless you’ve got an excellent Customer Service team to back it up.
Word of mouth (today also known as the word of mouse) gets easily overlooked by the company’s CEO but it’s actually the most important part of every business these days and as I mentioned in my last post, your Customer Service team is the first line of defense and their actions provide a positive or negative influence to your business, more than any marketing campaign you wish to finance.
You can’t make everybody happy!
Of course, as much as you invest your time and money in your support department, there will always be clients who are not satisfied with the service you provided – UI is not appealing enough to them, your product doesn’t have everything they wanted or you just cannot work together due to current circumstances. I mean, if everybody finds your personality awesome, something is definitely wrong there and you are pretending to be something you are not since it is impossible to have everybody like you 🙂 The same goes with business, you just cannot work with everybody.
What can you do?
Now, let’s take a look at ManageWP – we have around 70.000 clients who manage over 250.000 WordPress websites via our service. Something has to go wrong, that is inevitable 🙂 There are too many variables that can influence the outcome of our backup or clone tools for example, and even though these tools work perfectly for over 95% of our clients, for somebody they just won’t work as intended. And they won’t be happy. Some of them will even get incredibly frustrated with our service and put a blame on us for every single problem their website has, even if it doesn’t have any relations with ManageWP. And that is completely alright!
If you try putting yourself in their shoes, you will get an idea how they feel and why their actions are completely justified. And now, the big question comes – what can you do about it? 🙂 Here are some important lessons I’ve learned so far by working for almost 2 years at ManageWP:
- First of all, show everybody that there is a real person behind the computer and that they are not exchanging emails and ticket replies with a machine, nobody wants that. Don’t begin the communication with “your ticket/call is very important to us” because if you need to mention that, it means you are faking it. Some things are just plain seen, let the person on the other side be the judge of whether you find his/her request important or not.
- Of course you find your clients important! And each and every request you receive from them is important! And that is why you are going to go the extra mile each time in order to fix the problem and remove the frustration your service caused.
Note – going the extra mile for each client means you will exit your comfort zone in order to provide the best possible service. Here at ManageWP, apart from providing support for our software, we always go the extra mile and provide support for our client’s WordPress website itself, meaning that even though the problem is not caused by us, we will delve into it and try to find the solution.
- Change the meaning of going the extra mile every day! For example, if our clients have a hard time contacting their hosting provider and finding a solution to their particular problem, we happily jump in and chat with their hosting’s support team. The first time we took this step, it was when we exited our comfort zone, today it’s a standard support procedure. We want our clients to experience the best possible service ManageWP can provide, that is our goal!
- Always practice empathy and re-read your ticket replies in order to check which of your answers provoked even more frustration and which ones actually removed it. This way, you will learn to adjust your replies to a particular situation and you will recognize the tone in which the email was written.
- Don’t get frustrated! Your job is to remove the frustration, not amplify it. If a client tells you “Your service sucks!”, thank him for his honest feedback and try to find out what caused his opinion to get shaped like that. You can then take the necessary actions to remove the cause of his frustration and potentially many other clients who haven’t complained about it yet. And maybe, you will also gain one client for life!
- Keep your promises and never lie! If you have a choice between telling the truth and lying, always have your conscious clear. Don’t tell you can do something you cannot do and don’t promise anything that comes up to your mind in order to keep a client. You will lose him anyway if you go down that road.
- Accept the fact that you cannot keep every client, no matter what you do. However, never give up and always try to prove this fact false!
These are the lessons we learned and implemented into the core of our Customer Happiness team and we live and breathe by them. Thoughts? 🙂