Here's a shock. Most SMBs have it all wrong. We think what we sell or make is what we do. No, that's completely wrong. It's always been wrong, but even more so now because it's so easy for someone else to do the same thing you're doing and probably cheaper. No, most of us are actually in the customer service business and what we do is just the transport mechanism to deliver that customer service.
Okay, I can hear you. "Is Paul smoking crack, what's with the guy?" There's lots wrong with me but smoking crack is not one of them. Let's say you are selling accounting services or consulting or you make widgets. That's what you THINK you do. In fact, you confirm it every time you go to parties or business mixers.
"Say, what do you do, Charlie, is it? Your hello-my-name-is sticker is smudged."
"Sorry, that's how I write. You know those self-sealing bags? I make the little plastic thing that helps you close it."
"I LOVE those things."
We are what we do. Right? That's much easier to digest and understand than, "We are in the customer service business, but our transport mechanism is making plastic thingies."
That would definitely be a bad elevator pitch. You'd be thrown out of BNI. But really, great customer service is all that differentiates many businesses now. Your Web Department is what we do, but it's not why people trust us, like us and continue to use us. It's because of our customer service. Our mechanism for delivering customer service just happens to be our Your Web Department system. We can deliver better customer service than the competition because our system lets us do business differently.
Here is why we can deliver better customer support. This has nothing to do with delivering a better product, though we think we do that, also.
- We only do websites. This helps us compete against people who do websites as one of the many things they do. It means we're focused and we end up helping customers with Internet related things that have nothing to do with our system because our clients 'think' we're the Internet. And we do this happily. Who else can they to turn to?
- New features are client-driven and not what would be cool for programmers.
- YWD is a platform and not a single-instance content management system. Okay, I just lost everyone. Bear with me. The thing to remember is when we make updates (more on that later) ALL of our clients get them at the same time. We don't have to go to each of our clients and update their systems individually, which is the traditional way of doing things.
- No coding. No other system takes a website as far as we do to offer complex features without having to code it. That's a huge, complicated undertaking for us, but it makes life easier for you.
- We are updating and adding features almost weekly. These features are not the important argument here, the fact that we tell all our clients each week about them is. And it's not even the specifics of these updates, our clients don't have to (and many don't) read the updates, but these updates provide a sense of momentum and vigor. Stand-alone systems can't match this because they are built and left to get old. Our clients love the weekly updates.
So, those are just a few things we are doing and it all focuses on delivering the best customer service we can. And the thing is our clients don't intrinsically care about any of the above. We hardly mention them on our website because it's just blah, blah, blah to most people. I think when we started YWD that's the kind of feature/benefit pitch we were making but we learned that all people wanted was a website. How we got them there was irrelevant as long as they got attention and great customer service.
It's an important lesson all small business owners must learn. What would you change in the way you do business if customer service was your real product?
Paul Chato has been many things: a graphic designer, programmer, comedian, head of network TV comedy, game producer, 3D animator, playwright, event host, director and anything else that matches his fancy. Most of the time he is a managing partner at Your Web Department and is most excited about LiveBuild™.
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