Customer Care

There’s one thing worse than being fat, and that is to be a customer. Here's a short story to put things in perspective.

I recently graduated and the college had hired a freelance photographer to click the photographs of each student while accepting their respective degrees. We were told that we could collect our pictures from the guy from his shop anytime later.

Now, I go to the photographer and ask for the photographs. He asks me to locate my photo in the bunch of folders scattered on his desktop. I point my finger at it and ask for the soft copy, while handing him over my pen drive.

“No no no, we don’t provide soft copies. I can print them out for you if you want. Rs 150 per photo,” he said.

“What!?! Listen man, college has already paid you for your services and all I am asking for is a photograph. College has already told us to take them from you from your shop, which is what I am doing,” I argued.

After a little argument, he offered me to give me soft copy for Rs 100 each. I wanted the photo, hence I agreed. He copied the file in my pen drive, I handed him over the extortion amount and asked for the bill.

“No no. I will not give you the bill,” he said firmly.

“What!?! Are you a businessman or a blackmailer? I need to keep track in my accounts, I will require a bill of the amount I paid to you.”

“You asked for the photograph, I gave you. I asked for the money, you gave me. All done and dusted. I will not give you the bill.”

We argued some more. I looked around his shop and it was a 9 feet by 9 feet room with broken walls, scraped off paint and a really old computer lying in the corner. I assumed the reason for zero growth of business would be his attitude toward his customers and left off without the bill.

And I call this kind of customer service as: Customer Fishing.

Customer Fishing

This was just one instance of the customer care and I know you must have faced such things too. When you call your phone company, all they would do is blabber some crammed up shit and you’d be sitting on the other side feeling helpless.

I often wonder, why they call it customer care when they do not care for their customers at all (or do very less, to be more realistic).

When I wonder why some people/businesses follow such practices, I find these few similarities:

  1. They are small sized traditional business or freelancers.
  2. They remain small.
  3. They never grow.
  4. Sometimes, they grow in opposite direction.
  5. Another point telling them that they NEVER grow with these practices.

In short, they piss most of their customers to hamper their own growth!

When I think deeper about the problem, I find that these fishers, don’t care if they are catching a small fish or a big fish. They desperately want some fish AS SOON AS POSSIBLE THROUGH ANY WAY POSSIBLE.

No small fisher has grown into bigger fisher by catching small fishes. How to grow big? Care for the smaller fishes. You keep catching small fishes (quick money) and you will never reach to the big fish (customer satisfaction), which is the most essential element in any organization's growth.

How to grow?

There are two way to grow:

  1. Linearly
  2. Exponentially

While we all want to grow exponentially, we keep doing stuff that makes us grow linearly. Here’s a little graph that shows the two growth types.

growth-graph

Usually, the linear growth seems better in the beginning, but what growth-oriented businessman focus of short term goals?

And the time it takes to reach the point marked with the smile makes some companies and businesses to follow evil practices to make quick money but not in a sustainable way.

You may lose a few pounds by crash dieting but that isn’t a sustainable way to lose weight. Sustained results come from continued exercise a proper diet.

Whose customer I would be?

Whenever I am asked to choose between buying from a big shot and a startup, I mostly prefer the startup. Not because they will cost me less, but because they will listen to me when I would need to talk to someone. As a customer, I want to be heard. And if you are startup and not taking proper care for your customers, it’s high time to start doing it.

As a customer, I want to be heard.

You send emails to your users every now and then, why not send one now to ask them how’s their week is going? You may be a startup with a lot of traction, but being human doesn’t hurt anyone. Don’t make that face; give it a try and I promise you that this one email will atleast get you a couple of customers for life. For Life. FOR LIFE. FOR WHOLE FUCKING LIFE!

When you say Customer Care, mean those words. When you put your email address as support@example.com, mean the word “support” in it.

Don’t be a small fisher! Don't stay a small fisher.

My graduation photograph

Yes, here’s the photograph which inspired me to write down this blog post. Ain’t I looking like Harry Potter?

graduation-photograph

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