Maintaining Stellar Customer Service

In the last 30 days I lead a big change in how we send emails at work. We ditched our old email delivery service for MailChimp. One small part of the decision was that MailChimp offered a better price. That was important– but the selling point for me was stellar customer service.

There have been a couple of times recently when they lived up to that expectation. Last week I was trying to do something and couldn’t figure out how to make it work. So I dialed up their live chat and explained what I needed. The person told me that their system couldn’t do what I needed it to do, but it should. So, while I waited, they created a solution for me. Yeah, that’s unheard of!

So I wasn’t surprised to see that MailChimp had earned a 5-star rating for customer service from their customers. My question for them was, “How do you keep it up?” Check out the comment that Ben, one of the head chimps had to say:

I can tell you that my co-founder, Dan Kurzius, is in charge of customer service here, and he does not handle customer service the traditional way.

His philosophy is, “Don’t just answer. Explain.”

Explain what’s happening, so the customer learns something. People like to learn, so you just made them happy. The bonus, when you explain, is they won’t do it again.

So everything we do is based on “explaining things.”

All departments are focused on the customer experience. Here are some of the strategical things we’re doing in each department.

– Build the product so it “explains” while you use it. That’s ongoing and never ending. Help text, hints, intuitive interfaces, usability tests with customers. We’re hooked on clicktale, crazy egg, google analytics, yslow.

– Only hire people who are smart and who like to explain. No call center drones.

– This, IMHO, is the biggest one. Do our best to only attract customers who like learning, who have a good sense of humor, and who like to tinker. We call them “power users.” Scare away customers who need too much hand-holding (either because they’re too new to email marketing, or they think they know everything, but ironically, demand account executives to help them with everything). Big giant monkeys on our home page, and saying stuff like “reports that’ll make you poop your pants” tends to do the trick. :-) If you attract the wrong people with the wrong expectations, they will never, ever be satisfied.

Weekly webinars that go over all the basics. Right now, Dan does them. Soon, every member of the customer service team will do them. Terror and stage fright keeps things fun.

MailChimp Academy:
– Videos teach people how MailChimp works so they can learn on their own time. They’re on, but also peppered throughout the product.

There are a million other things the customer service team is experimenting with, but that’s sort of a high level view of our strategy.

The question is… how does this philosophy work in the world you work in?





2 responses to “Maintaining Stellar Customer Service”

  1. Dewaine Avatar

    Adam, That’s the approach I took when conducting IT help desk at my last job. I’d walk to a user’s desk (I was able to), let them watch me fix their problem, and explain how and why it occurred. The user’s loved it except the one’s who claimed that they didn’t care how or why it broke, just that it was fixed.

  2. Derek Avatar

    MailChimp is the best. We switched over to it at the beginning of the year for our middle school parents e-mail. My last campaign showed that people opened it up in Florida, Maryland, Ohio and Germany. Must have been people on vacation. The analytics are wonderful!

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