Dealing with customers

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A post written by Jozsef Torsan that I would like to share here.

I receive many emails from customers. I’m happy that more than 90% of these emails are about feature requests and not bugs. A small part of the emails is “how to” questions and an even smaller part is about reporting bugs. Since the last year’s October launch only 3 customers contacted me with bugs. 2 of them had ran into the emoji issue and one of them contacted me just last week with an issue about having an incorrect size of the Add Bookmark window in Opera. Fortunately it was an easy fix and I was I able to fix it by the next day. The truth is Opera was not among the browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge, Mac Safari) I tested — shame on me. Anyway it’s worth to check the browser statistics and the trends on this page. It can give you a good hint when you plan the testing of your app in the different browsers.

The “always and ASAP” rule

My number one rule is to always give a response to the customer as soon as possible. “Always” means that even if I don’t have the answer or the solution to their question or problem right away, I inform them in an email about when I will be able to get back to them with the answer. “ASAP” means within 24 hours. If you can provide the solution or the answer for the customer only in a week, that’s not a problem. But it’s important to inform them about it within a 24 hour time frame. Regarding the priorities it’s obvious that the “how to” and “bug” emails get priority over the “feature request” emails.

The value you give to your Customers

You can give value to your customers not just with your product or service but with your customer support, too. Whenever a user contacts you it’s a good opportunity to show them how professional your customer support is. It sounds weird but you are lucky if a customer contacts you with a bug or a question. On the one hand you can fix a bug that you didn’t find during the testing, on the other hand you can show how professionally and quickly you can react and fix the bug or answer their question. Users choose a product not just considering the features and the quality of the products but the customer support is also very important for them. I often hear customers leaving a product due to the poor customer support.

Special requests

Sometimes I get special requests from customers. For example last week a user asked me if could make CSV reports about his bookmarks, tags, tabs and categories, because he wanted to make some kind of statistics on his bookmarks. I was surprised how enthusiastic he was so I was happy to help him. I quickly wrote 2 SQL queries, ran the queries and sent him the output. He was very grateful and promised me that he would update me with his statistics.

Other times it happened, that users wanted to purchase the annual Ninja subscription after the trial expired, but they couldn’t make the payment due to temporary problems with their bank accounts or credit cards. After they contacted me I offered them to extend the trial with 1 or 2 weeks. And 1 or 2 weeks later they purchased the annual subscription. It’s that easy to make customers happy and satisfied.

The hard core Ninja Users

There are quite a few very enthusiastic customers who are big Ninja fans. They are the hard core Ninja users. They keep sending me emails about their ideas, new feature requests and experiences. I love these guys! It’s like we would be a team that discusses the future developments of Ninja. We are in touch roughly on a weekly basis, so we communicate pretty frequently with each other. The input, the information I get from them is invaluable. Also if I have an idea or a new feature in my mind they are the ones I can ask about it.

Customer support matters a lot

If you put the effort in providing a good customer support, users will appreciate it. They will appreciate it very much. You will make your customers happy and they will tell other potential customers their good stories. But if they have bad experiences then it’s more likely that they will tell their friends about them.

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About the author

Andrés Canavesi
Andrés Canavesi

Software Engineer with 15+ experience in software development, specialized in Salesforce, Java and Node.js.

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