About a year ago, I was getting a little overwhelmed with all the hats I wear as a small business owner. Marketing, accounting, design, new business development and support, to name a few. But as I got more and more busy, I needed to organize some elements better. Support requests being one of them. As my clients would email me changes to make on their site, or problems they were seeing, I needed a better system of getting to their changes in order of importance and letting them know that the changes were being made in a timely manner.
So I developed a support ticketing website where my clients could log in, send support requests of any nature (urgent issue, content change, future request, etc). I tested the website with a few of my clients who sent me requests often. They gave me some helpful hints on how to improve it and within a few weeks, I launched the site for all of my clients.
At first, I received a good response from my clients. It was being used and it was making my life easier. Not having to organize emails in my inbox – not having digital and post-it note to-do lists all over the place, it was nice.
But I noticed that over half of my clients weren’t responding to the new service. They were sending requests via email, because that was easier to them. I had a few clients that had tried to set up an account and log in to the new support service, but were unsuccessful. (It wasn’t super difficult to get an account, but I could see where it would be frustrating for people that aren’t used to going to websites and signing up for accounts). And now that 6 months has passed, only 1 of my 40+ clients still use the service and even she is getting frustrated with it because it isn’t working 100% for her. So I took some time to research a new solution.
I found a company called ZenDesk that offers a much more simple solution to customer service. It’s mainly via email, although you can have a support site if wanted. So my clients can email the address that I gave them and it automatically creates a ticket. This makes it supremely easy for both of us. The client can still use email to get in touch with me (obviously, this is what they wanted all along) and I still get to have a ticketing solution that makes my life easier.
So while my clients never explicitly said “John, your support website stinks” – they told me that it was useless by never using it. I think this solution will make both of us happy, but time will only tell.
It’s important to listen to your clients, even when they aren’t talking to you. Take the time to evaluate how your business operates and see if you are making decisions based on making your life easier, or making your clients’ lives easier. Because in the end, you shouldn’t be making your clients bend over backwards for you, it’s the other way around. And the sooner you realize that, the more clients you’ll keep around.