You’re sitting at your computer, working on your daily tasks when all of a sudden you get excited. A new customer just converted on your website. Not just any customer, I’m talking about a whale. Someone who will generate tons of revenue for your company, be it a one-time deal or on a recurring basis. You immediately stop what you are doing and turn to your co-worker: “Holy crap, did you see the customer that just converted? This could make us a lot of money.” You decide to give this customer 5-star service. They ask a question that could take 30 minutes of your time to answer? Who cares, we could get paid a ton it’s worth the time. You do whatever it takes to keep them happy and close the deal. You need this whale to give you cash, at any cost.
Does this sound familiar? What about your small customers that come in? Do you give the same urgency, care and attention to the small fish in the pond?
This is something I experienced at Digsy. As the director of customer success, it’s my job to make sure that we provide 5-star customer service to all of our customers, regardless how big or small they are. A while ago I wrote about how we failed and pivoted to a different business model. This newer model is both commission based and customer service heavy. Not surprisingly, when a customer with the potential for a large payday came in we would scramble to do everything we could to service them. Conversely, small customers who converted simply weren’t getting the same treatment. I found something inherently unpleasant about this arrangement and felt it promotes a bad culture for our startup.
Most of the smaller customers I have had the pleasure of working with have been extremely motivated in their search for office space. So motivated that they tend to call me before my scheduled follow up call to see how we are progressing with their search. It’s the small customer that will sign up for your product all by themselves, while a larger customer might need a demo or a more hands-on sales process.
Perhaps this isn’t surprising, but I’ve noticed that our smaller clientele is disproportionately more grateful for our services. They frequently tell me that they are so happy they found us. That we make their lives easier and they don’t know what they would’ve done without us (which makes me very happy). It’s rare to get such feedback from our larger customers, and it just feels good to help small businesses and entrepreneurs who already have their hands full. Valuing customers the same regardless of potential deal value is professional and shows good morals . It also shows how well you run your business.
That said, at Digsy we’ve made it our priority to provide a great level of customer service to all of the clients that come through our doors. Small or big, we strive to provide the same awesome experience. We think it’s the right thing to do, but there are also some business benefits to this approach. A smaller client has the potential to turn into a returning user and become a larger customer for you down the road. If you wow them with your customer service and provide a 5-star experience, they will be much more likely to return to us once they need to move again or find space to expand their business. Another benefit is that any user who receives great customer service and has a great experience is more likely to recommend your business to friends and colleagues. This kind of evangelism is free advertising that promotes trust in our service. Great customer service and a great experience can be the cheapest growth hack available.
As a startup, we are constantly testing and iterating based on results. Everything moves fast. Customer feedback is extremely important to us. With a smaller customer, the person interacting with the product also tends to be the decision maker. Small customers tend to have a shorter sales cycle, so they travel through our product pipeline faster than a large customer. Smaller customers allow us to quickly get feedback from them on every part of the process, helping us to quickly iterate and optimize the experience for our customers.
As a startup who will be fundraising soon, it’s more important than ever to show we have a great product. At Digsy, we strive to make sure the user experience is top-notch for everyone, but it’s the smaller customers (and their tighter feedback loops) who helped us improve our product the most. What small customers lack in deal size they more than make up in product validation .
I am in no way trying to state that small customers are better than large customers, or vice versa. I’m just trying to make it a point that you should treat your small customers as if they were VIPs. Strive to wow everyone, regardless if they are giving you $1.00 or $1,000. Big or small, every customer is important in helping you grow. Zappos and Amazon have been successful because their primary focus was customer service, and that should be your primary focus as well.
Agree or Disagree? Have any questions or comments for me or the Digsy team? Let us know in the comments section below