Saturday, July 25, 2009

sorry to disturb you ......

A week or so in France and I am reminded why customer service is the fundamental backbone of any consumer facing business.
It simply does not exist here....

Misleading Customer Service Kills Your BusinessImage by libraryman via Flickr

Perhaps its flying out here with Ryanair that sets you up so nicely.

Why is it that the customer is made to feel that he/she is imposing, disturbing or disrupting the way in which things usually work?
Why is everything the customer's fault? Why does the French 'service provider' (they'd blanche to hear that expression) enjoy an argument so much?

All this makes me more determined than ever to re-inforce the guiding principles behind building great consumer brands - listen carefully to the customer - focus all energies on providing solutions and removing friction from processes. Genuinely try to delight the customer.

The lesson from Zappos (and others) must be pretty clear now. Customer service is a key differentiator in the competitive landscape in which we operate.

Fizzback - about whom I've written a few times in the past - is building a great business providing companies that really care about this stuff, smart efficient channels to accept feedback, interpret it and act on it.
Uservoice is doing similarly - for on-line services. See previous post re Uservoice here. .. 'suggestion box for the web'.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Graze, Naturally Viral

Nature Delivered Ltd (trading as Graze) has just announced a funding round of £2m led by Octopus Ventures.

We wrote about Graze in February
drawing attention to the truly innovative and potentially disruptive approach that Graham Bosher and his co-founders have taken to the distribution of food by post. Graham doesn't have deep food technology or distribution experience but he has leveraged his intimate knowledge of significant experience of designing, developing and running complex operations which give customers complete control and provides great customer service.
This was acquired in his initial development of DVDs on tap and later LoveFilm.

The business is experiencing very rapid growth and strong loyalty to the service.
Graze is naturally viral, with people showing others their Graze box at the office and handing out trial coupons.
All web marketers strive for virality or a way to promote it. In this case (like with Moo) the product itself is naturally viral - in the real world. Of course, Graze are pouting petrol on the viral flames and encouraging the blaze.

Now delivering over 80,000 boxes a month, Graze has the backing it needs to build a serious business. William Reeve is taking the Chair and the shareholder register includes DFJ Esprit, Arts Alliance and ourselves.

Certainly one to watch in my view.

If you are in the UK and want to try the service quote this code QKX412R and get a free box.
[from 20th to 24th July, 2009]

Another founder creating a potentially great business by thinking completely differently about an established way of doing things - and not being an insider in his industry - is Errol Damelin at Wonga.

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