Let’s face it, being a founder of your startup is not an easy job. Every entrepreneur who is passionately building her or his own company needs to wear multiple hats almost every day. Be it product management, hiring people, accounting & finance, general operations, answering customer queries, marketing, raising funds, etc. And it is quite easy to lose your mind and focus when you are burdened with multiple tasks. There is no easy way out at the beginning.
But as we grow and progress in our entrepreneurial journey, we learn how to multi-task with greater efficiency and have few more hands to delegate tasks so that we can focus on our core tasks as a founder. It doesn’t mean that you give away the control of these tasks, but most of the hard-lifting is done by others and the results are filtered so that you can make that final decision. For example, you hire an HR firm or a consultant to help you source candidates and do the first level of screening and is then passed on to you to do the final checks and ultimately take the decision of hiring or not hiring. Frankly, I am a big fan of task delegation, as not only it gives you more time for yourself to focus on other tasks, but also establishes transparency, accountability and professional growth for your team. It is definitely the way forward when you grow.
However, IMHO, no matter how far you are in your entrepreneurial journey or whichever stage of growth your startup is, there is one part of the job that I highly recommend should always be one of the prime focuses of every single founder, Customer Support!
It goes without saying that your customers are your best source of feedback that will help you grow. And it is not just about listening to feedbacks but it brings a great amount of delight to the customer when they realize that the founders themselves are listening to them and working on solving their problems. It shows that you are serious about providing them with the best possible experience and improve the service. I am not saying this without any proof, I am saying this with my own experience. Over the last years, I have been working closely with our customer support team to listen to our customer feedbacks and assure our customers that their queries and feedbacks are being heard seriously and acted upon.
The benefits of managing the customer support efforts yourselves have way more benefits than just serving them.
- Wow-Factor for your customers: You will be surprised how effective it is when you, as a founder, directly respond to your customers. Especially, when a customer is reaching out to you when they had a bad experience.
- A motivation for your employees: Your employees see you taking charge and leading things from the front. They don’t see you as their higher management but their own peers and the bonding that it creates within the team is phenomenal.
- Shows your dedication & commitment to building a successful business: Not just your colleagues, or your customers, but your investors would also be highly appreciative of you and it reinforces their trust in your ability to take charge of things and making sure that it is done properly and effectively.
- Keeps you grounded and focused: With so many things going on, it is easy to get distracted and lose your focus towards building a great product and an awesome community. And we often tend to look at things the way we want to see it, but if you listen to your customers and their challenges regularly, you will have a much better chance to change things before it is too late.
- Gaining new customers: Trust me, word travels faster than you can imagine. And if a customer has spoken directly to the CEO or the Founder, he or she is much more likely to recommend your service to their friends and families.
There are plenty of other examples and first-hand experiences that will prove the importance and the need of interacting with your customers and listening to their feedback. And yes, I also understand that customer support is a very demanding job, and it can take up a lot of your time throughout the day, but if not daily or for everyone, it will be quite beneficial to set aside an hour daily to focus on customer service. It will take you much further than you would expect.
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