CASE STUDY: “Serving or Getting Served? Customer Service”


(This is a business case study. It will be used to guide discussions during the session: “Serving or Getting Served? Customer Service” with co-host Steven from Grooby at the Paysite Meetup.)

Steven gets a lot of email each day. That’s what you would expect for the CEO of a popular internet company. If you were to look into his inbox you’d see emails that most CEO’s don’t receive. Among reports from senior staff and ongoing negotiations with partners there are direct communications from customers complaining about his product.

At Steven’s company he’s not the only one that gets the complaints. Everybody hears from customers directly and responds to them: Marketing Director, Director of Website Management, Product Manager…everybody except dedicated customer support agents. There aren’t any. Everyone does customer support including the CEO.

Why? Steven’s trying to build great products. The only people who can tell him whether is products are great or garbage are the customers. The product is successful if customers like it…not, if they don’t.

In his inbox he hears customers telling him the design is wrong, the implementation is bad (broken links, biller mistake), the site is loading slowly in some area…and he can fix it. Steven believes that if he and his team were not doing customer support they wouldn’t see these issues quickly – maybe they wouldn’t see them at all. If he sees them he can fix them. And he can build great products with the feedback he gets.

Still there are some issues. He sees clear pros and cons of doing in-house customer support

Being able to service the customer better.
Being able to make specific offers to keep a customer happy.
Identifying issues with your product through customer feedback.
The customer feels valued talking to a name – someone from the actual company.

Resource heavy for staff and costs.
Language issues.
Difficulties of measuring success rates.

For companies that are outsourcing customer support, Steven sees a simple step to start gathering product info. Each user who cancels gets an email from the CEO asking them why they canceled. He gets great feedback from ex-member replies.

Questions for discussion
1. How do you measure the effectiveness of your customer service?
2. If you’re outsourcing are you paying per query or per message?
3. What technology are you using?

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