On Service: The Need for Speed

April 3, 2007

Customer service…the hallmark of great service businesses. Great customer service builds brand and generates referrals, but it’s not easy to provide a great customer service experience day in and day out. In a new series of posts we’re calling “On Service”,  I’m going to share with you some lessons we’ve learned over the past 34 months serving our customers here at FreshBooks, and some lessons we’ve learned from other businesses.

Lesson #1: Customer service response times matter.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a new IKEA television stand for my home theatre system.  When I brought the television stand home and assembled it half way, I noticed that two pages were missing from the manual.  I called IKEA’s technical support line and after a few minutes of being placed on hold I spoke with a representative that let me know that they could either fax or email me the instructions without having me return to the store.  At first, I thought “wow”, emailing me the instructions sounds great as I won’t need to return to the store.

Then they let me know it would take one day for me to receive the email.  I thought that was kind of outrageous, since it would take less than 5 minutes to send me the attachment and email it to me.  I could understand if it would take a few business hours, but not up to one day.  I was not too happy as half my living room was taken up by wooden parts and the room would be un-usable for the rest of the night.  As a result, even though their support representative was able to resolve the problem, their slow response led to disappointment.

When we handle email and phone support at FreshBooks we try our best to get back to our clients as soon as possible. Getting back to someone fast, especially when they have a problem, is the best thing you can do to keep your clients happy. Even when you are not able to provide your clients with the answer they want to hear, they will appreciate the speed at which you got back to them. It builds goodwill and helps you overcome rough patches if you ever encounter them.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.