Customer Service?

I was reading a couple of tweets the other day on my Linked In feed and one that caught my eye was, “With a great product, you don’t need great service.”

My jaw dropped in horror. Below please find the comments. I have removed the identities of commenters, since I pulled a copy and paste without permission.

You don’t need great service if you have a great product via Twitter
1 day ago
  • But a great product with great service assures loyal customers 1 day ago
  • Sounds like AT&T + Apple. 1 day ago
  • My take is that, from startup budget perspective, great product is relatively easier goal than great service. To that end, adding product features that reduce needs for service and support is top priority IMO. 23 hours ago
  • 1% of your customer base can take 200% of your profits away through tech support costs if they just don’t understand what to do and they keep your tech reps on the phone too long or by repeated calls. Ease to use interfaces and simplified documentation help reduce that amount. And most importantly, Quality is best known by its abesence, so don’t under-resource Quality Assurance because it is actually part of the product and not just a cost center.

I can’t believe that this is even debatable at this juncture. I have worked with at least two firms that had great service and a great product. Sales and customer retention hummed. After acquisitions occurred, Account Management and related services took a back seat to other initiatives dictated by the acquiring companies. Guess what, word got around that service was suffering, competitors grabbed clients at the end of their contracts and also made it difficult in the pre sales and sales process as well.

Having exemplary service is a given. Zappos is always held up as the gold standard in the area. They definitely don’t compete on price, they are able to charge more due in large fact to their service and return policy.

Netflix is a firm that I would like to add to the gold standard category. My wife and I decided to subscribe over the Holidays, based on both the convenience as well as the low price. I figured that there would be little service at the $9.00 per month price point.

Yesterday, I received the Netflix mailer shown above. There was only the torn front flap, not the rest of the envelope (or the Social Network DVD!)

A simple email was sent to NF to which they replied to the effect of “So Sorry, sometimes things get lost in the mail.” A replacement DVD is in the mail.

No blame game, no penalties- just service and another happy customer spreading the good vibes.

I am not saying that the customer is always right, but don’t be short sighted about service, as a competitor can spring up and capture your customer base. In this case Amazon Prime…

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