Since we launched our lacrosse stringing service during a pandemic, our business has been growing slowly to say the least. But the few customers we have gotten so far have given us stellar feedback and I believe it is because we are adopting a few key principles to providing great customer service. Excellent customer service is prompt, transparent, and decisive.
This is a simple and obvious principle but a lot of businesses don’t do this well enough. Don’t leave your customers hanging.
At String Theory, I make it a goal to respond to customers within 15 minutes. This works fine when you’re a small business but I already know it will be impossible to maintain as our business scales. The solution to this is to create programmed responses where possible. One simple programmed response we can add to be better as we scale is if somebody hasn’t responded within a certain timeframe, an automatic message is sent to the customer indicating someone has been notified of their issue and will be getting back to them as quickly as possible.
Whether you have good or bad news for your customer, it is best to deliver it as quickly as possible. What if you don’t have any news for the customer? Tell them that as quickly as possible. Regardless of the response being what they want to hear, your customers will appreciate you at least quickly responding to them.
The shining example that comes to mind for this principle is Domino’s pizza. The pizza itself is barely edible except when you’re drunk and it’s two in the morning (sorry Domino’s 😅) but say what you will about their pizza, their service is excellent in this regard. When you place your order at Domino’s, you can track the entire process of when they received your order, started making your pizza, and finally sent it out for delivery.
We’ve adopted a similar approach to processing orders at String Theory. We keep our customers informed throughout processing their order so that they know when their stick was picked up, finished being strung, and finally delivered back to them—all while providing pictures where appropriate.
Don’t leave your customers in the dark. Be transparent.
This principle is best illustrated with a hypothetical scenario.
A customer’s lacrosse stick is done being strung and as the string theorist handling their order, you are messaging them to inform them that you can deliver it back to them tomorrow. Here are two potential messages you can send:
- “Hi, your lacrosse stick is ready! I am free any time tomorrow to deliver it back to you. Let me know what works best for you.”
- “Hi, your lacrosse stick is ready! I will deliver it back to you tomorrow between 12 and 2PM.”
This may seem counter-intuitive but the first response is the wrong way to do it and the second one is right. You’re the expert—be decisive in handling your customer’s order. Your customer shouldn’t have to be burdened with thinking about the details of how their order is processed unless it’s necessary. As long as you are following the previous principles of being prompt and transparent, your customer will have the opportunity to correct your assumptions.
In the hypothetical scenario outlined above, if a customer responds back and says they’d prefer a different time, you can of course accommodate their request. However in general, it is better to be decisive and let your customer correct you than to ask for direction from the customer.
Excellent customer service is prompt, transparent, and decisive. Only time will tell if these principles scale with us as our business grows but this is our customer service philosophy for now at String Theory and I believe they can make any business’s service great.