Great Customer Service Generates Referrals

June 8, 2006

One of the best ways to build your business is to deliver exceptional customer service. At FreshBooks we’ve known this for a long time. We have built our business on it.

Since May 2004 when our service went live we have maintained a two hour call return policy. 90% of the people who call us never expect a response. Period. They figure we are an internet website with no one behind it. When someone answers the phone, people frequently say, “I can’t believe you answered the phone. I never expected to get a real person!”

The reality is the only people who ever find out about our two hour call return policy are those who call us after business hours (we operate from 9:00am to 6:00pm EST, Monday to Friday). During business hours you get a live person when you call. In fact, in the last year we have only “missed” seven calls during business hours. We replied to those seven messages within two business hours.

As for email responses, it’s about the same. Sometimes there is a back log of emails from the night before, and responses to these can take 3-4 hours, but most of the time you will hear back from us in one business hour. Daniel deserves the credit for this.

Ben McConnel blogged about a 14 minute service response in a post titled “Customer Service Land-Speed Record”. That is everyday business at FreshBooks. We believe in fast responses and exceptional service. You deserve it, and let’s face it, it’s good for our business too. Just look at what this one response has done for Weatherbug. Ben referred them to his readers. Positive effects (like this post) ripple out from there.


Ben and Jackie wrote a must-read for anyone who plans to build business for the long run. It’s called Creating Customer Evangelists. It is full of best practices surrounding how to turn your customers into your most influential advocates, which in turn generates referrals

Building referrals is one of the things we will be discussing in our free tele-seminar with John Jantsch next Thursday. John is the author of The Referral Flood (I’ve read it; it’s good), and the man behind the Duct Tape Marketing brand. Tele-seminars are part of our initiative to give you free resources that will help build your business. Maybe we can get Ben or Jackie on the tele-seminar line someday soon.

about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.