30.Oct.2009 The best customer is a DIYer
If you work in customer service in a web-based company, the best type of customer you can ask for is a “do it yourself-er”, that shares their discoveries. Why? For a few reasons:
- The best characteristic of a DIYer is that they’re usually tech savvy. They’re using your site not because they’ve been forced to or because it’s the first thing they found. They use it because they’ve surveyed other offerings and decided that your’s is either the best, has the potential to be the best, or has some other advantage over a competing service. (They also tend to know the “lingo”. So supporting them from page to page over the phone or asking for a URL to the issue tends to be a simple task; not a formidable request.)
- another great advantage of a DIYer is that they’ll trouble shoot your site for you. Whether your using an open source application or building a proprietary platform/application, the DIYer familiarizes themselves with the environment. They read your FAQs and they engage the tutorials/training materials you’ve created and at that point (and only at that point) if they don’t know how to do something or are finding an insurmountable error they contact you.
- by contacting you they point out holes in your support/help foundation (because they know and are familiar with what you have provided and exhaust those resources before contacting you. If you can identify these individuals early (and keep them) then they’ll be a great resource in deciding your customer support, help documentation, and even the software roadmap to improve usability.
It’s possible that you refer to these types of customers as something else (allies, models, etc.), but I’m sure you’ll agree that these customers are the best to have (even better than customers that are silent even in the face of buggy software of outages).
I bring this up because non-DIYers often take up the most time and are the most costly to appease. In some cases getting them squared away is near impossible (or perhaps actually impossible, though I reject the notion that there’s a customer issue that cannot be resolved. I’ll die trying.).
In closing, if you’re trying to build a product for a market that is devoid of non-DIYers (seniors, or 1st time internet users) then be prepared.