Hardware guy Joel just told me, “You don’t have to sell software. Just support it, and it’ll sell itself.”
I can see taking a slightly more aggressive approach, but I definitely concur on the idea that support is essential.
Joel and I were talking about FileReplicationPro, a powerhouse of a data management solution. The makers of this stuff update it constantly, listening to what their customers want — and paying attention also to what their customers do with it, and coming up with their own ideas for improvements based on this information. They have an enormous knowledgebase section at their website, they keep in close touch with their customers, and they offer a generous free trial. It adds up to trailblazing customer service.
And, while I think that it still makes sense to get the word out about the product, I know that one of the reasons my work for FRP is successful is because of the quality of their support. Here’s why:
Few people talk about file synchronization software, actually. I can say this with confidence because I’ve tried to get a good conversation on the subject going more than once.
“One of my clients syncs files between a spaceport and rockets,” I say brightly, thinking that’s pretty exciting. People stare at me blankly, thinking that I was more fun when I was working on goat gamma globulin.
But people talk a lot about their good or bad experiences with a company. It doesn’t matter what the company does — these conversations are about the speaker’s feelings. People care deeply about their own feelings, and they’re pretty interested in other people’s feelings, too. At the very least, they think about how they’d feel in the same situation.
When a similar situation arises, they remember.
At this time of year, when many companies are completely focused on fulfillment (and survival), customer service has to be the primary focus.