On Tuesday, I railed against ZenPayroll’s lack of thought in how they were using their mailing list. Specifically, I was upset that their product is not available to me, but instead of any indication when it would be available in my state – data that they fully know – I got a list of all the great features they are adding. Even just a “Coming to Nebraska in early 2014″ would have left me satisfied. Instead, I blogged about it.
During the writing of that post, I reached out to ZenPayroll in two ways. I replied to the email they sent (Reply-to was customer support) and asked when it would be available in my state, and also re-applied using the same email. What happened was delightful.
The first response I received was an automated email reply (from my signup) that stated when Zen Payroll would be available in my state. This was awesome. Approximately and hour later I received an email reply to my support email stating the same information, and then suggesting I check out the link in the email for all the exciting new features, etc.
I replied, thanking the support person for their response and the information, and added the link to my blog post regarding what I thought about their email. Within 30 minutes, their CEO, Josh Reeves had responded to my blog post, thanking me for the feedback and apologizing for what they had done. I also received a message from support apologizing for the inconvenience. I felt like I was heard, and that they are serious about doing things right. Time will tell if they do actually do better or not, but for now I am more than satisfied.
I don’t know ZenPayroll’s internal processes, but I expect that within a minute or two of reading my post, the support person had sent this directly to the CEO, who personally took a minute to publicly apologize. They have prioritized responding to (at least) negative public comments. Hopefully they do the same for private support comments as well.
Good Support is not enough
Having clear channels and procedures for handling customer needs is very effective for marketing a product, both in terms of public blog posts like mine and word-of-mouth in general. Especially in startups, it needs to be a focal point and addressed as high up in the organization as possible. My opinion is that CEO should stand for Customer Experience Officer, regardless of company size – but I’ll talk more about that in another post.
But what if I hadn’t sent support a link to my blog?
I don’t know what would have happened in this case. But, it highlights the need for listening on every possible channel. Thats not cheap: Radian6 and Social Radar are many thousands of dollars a month, and for startups it may not be affordable. But even having something as simple as Google Alerts can help to at least minimize the potential damage.