Thursday, November 20, 2014

About that Customer Service...

Yesterday I wrote a review on Amazon about some screen protectors I had bought and was very dissatisfied with. About two hours later I received an email from the vendor telling me that they were sorry to hear about my bad experience and as such were willing to send me another pack of screen protectors to try again or issue me a no-questions-asked a full refund.

A couple months ago I ordered a fried beef pie from a bakery around the block from where I work. Upon reaching back to the office I realized that they erroneously gave me the wrong type of pie, so I returned to the bakery and asked for an exchange. The cashier, with whom I had interacted with almost every day for the past 18 months proceeded to tell me that even though it was the wrong product I've received, they don't do exchanges on purchased items.

What's the difference between these two businesses? The bakery will NEVER receive another cent from me, while the screen protector vendor will actually receive high commendations and wide recommendations from me (provided the replacement batch is good).

That, my fellow business folk, is the difference in customer reaction when your customer service is top notch.

It's about going to great lengths, and sometimes beyond the call, to show your customers how much you care and how much you value their business. Falling short in this area can actually cost you more money not only in the long run, but in the immediate term. Remember, you're not just disrespecting one customer with your bad service, you're disrespecting all 50 of the people that that one customer would have recommended your business to. The inverse remains true.

So remember, no matter what line of business you get in to - fast food, retail, online services, etc. - the customer is king (or queen). Give them your utmost respect and make them feel like their money was well invested and not simply spent.

I got the exchange on my pie though. I wasn't about to allow my $5 to go down the drain.

Update: I got the new batch of screen protectors, and they were awesome! Here's the product in question:

Friday, November 14, 2014

You Can't Run a Company When You're Dead

5lb ain't nothin' to mess with!
As the founder of the next billion dollar startup, it can get tempting at times to just hunker down, dig in and pull out all the stops for the sake of a 4 month coding stretch. As the founder of a new company, myself, the temptation to just let everything hang out and grow out while I go for that 1.0 release is strong and sometimes overpowering.

Unfortunately this kind of activity does more harm than good. That diet of potato sticks, juice, water and fried chicken isn't doing ANYBODY any favours. Sure your code is lean, optimized and DRY but the body being used to create such a beautiful code base is slowly, but surely withering away.

As the title says, you can't run your billion dollar company when you're dead. Try as much as possible to keep a reasonably healthy diet. Nobody is saying to break out the dehydrated meat loaf and the soy milk, but keep things civilized. Also, make some time for exercise. I do a 30 minute jog then about an hour of some gym work at most 3 times a week. 90 mins out of your day every other day or so can do wonders for your health.

As a programmer, I'm all to familiar with the importance of that mental momentum. However, I've found that that a brisk jog and some gym time allows me to take a step back and clear my head for a bit. I may even use this time to think about the solution to a nagging bug that's been tormenting me all day. I've found that this works out better for me as opposed to sitting there and staring at code and hitting F5.

So take a break for the sake of your health. Lift your head up and see the beautiful sunshine, hear the birds and get that blood pumping. Your mind and body will thank you for it in the end, and the journey to 1.0 will be so much sweeter.