Why Founders Should Regularly Make Time to Work Customer Support

May 30, 2008

I spent the day Wednesday doing telephone customer support and here is an email someone sent to support@fb after speaking with me:

When the Founder answers the phone, that’s the kind of company I want to do business with.

Just FYI…

Good to speak with you Mike! Thanks for your time.


Kevin Downey

Daniel was good enough to shoot this ticket my way and I can’t tell you how many of these notes I’ve received over the years – but it’s not just me who gets them. Levi does, so do our development and marketing teams. Customers get excited when they know they are being served by people who can make an impact on the business. They feel engaged and so they should.

From the founder’s perspective and beyond the good vibes you get from a note like this, doing support benefits your business by keeping your in touch with customers. Constantly staying in touch with your customers will lead you to new insights and ideas for new ways you can enhance the value of your services. Those ideas will inevitably lead to new opportunities to revenue generating which may just be around improving customer service. Also, look at what an impact that might have on your team. They know you are rolling up your sleeves too when a note like this comes in, and as your organization grows, that egalitarian approach to work can do a lot to keep people aligned.

Now look at Craig Newmark, the founder of Craig’s List. He spends 40 hours a week on customer service and it’s one of his keys to success. Craig is not the CEO of Craig’s List, but he surely has an influence over the direction of the company. Here’s a feature length interview with Craig’s List CEO Jim Buckmaster where he explains how Craig’s List uses love letters from users as the only metric they use to measure success. Now that’s a metric, and I’m betting founder Craig had some influence choosing it.

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.