When I first started up Chia Town I already had a couple ideas of what I wanted to write about. One of the first things was the importance of customer service within a business. It doesn’t matter what business you are in, customer service is king. It’s a no-brainer if you’re in a service industry, but good customer service can easily differentiate your business from another no matter what industry you are in. Take Apple Computer (oh yeah…they dropped “Computer” from their name. Old habits die hard…) who have been consistently ranked at the top in customer service within computer manufacturers. This is obviously a key issue given how multiple computer magazines constantly rank and report the customer service ratings of the top computer companies. It can also work as a detriment…poor customer service is often blamed for Sprint’s horrific loss of customers to Verizon and AT&T. (I still have yet to see this poor service…lucky me). Customer service has been a key item for Sprint’s relatively new CEO Dan Hesse.
So just what prompted me to finally write about customer service? Was it the crappy service I got at a restaurant or at a store? No…it was the opposite actually. Here’s my happy story of why I am an even bigger fan of Climbing magazine.
I’ve had an interest in rock climbing since I was in high school. It was a great escape for me and a great bonding time with my friends. As I buried my face in the books at Carnegie Mellon and then got involved in various jobs and entrepreneurial ventures I found little time to climb. However, I still enjoyed it. I also enjoyed reading Climbing magazine to stay current with climbing trends, to enjoy the photography, and to escape to the far away lands that they showcased. Recently I was laid off from my job and as I sat there trying to figure out what to do I grabbed my latest issue of Climbing and cleared my mind. I was inspired to start climbing again, my mind was eased, and I was feeling ready to get back to work on my projects and start looking for more work. I was so impressed with what a magazine could do that I ended up writing a letter to the editors.
This is where it gets good. The editors of Climbing wrote back to me with a genuine tone of appreciation and that alone had me smiling. I replied to him and expanded on my story a bit more and again I received another reply. To some of us, this may seem like a no-brainer. I mean, isn’t it their job to read our letters? To others, it may seem like something that isn’t really relevant. Who cares if a magazine editor writes back? I do. It gives their magazine a personal touch and feel…something that isn’t just printed and pushed to the news stands but rather a labor of love, a passion for a certain lifestyle and profession. Kudos to you Climbing.
No matter what you do, keep your focus on the customer. Yes, building a great product should be top on your list, but if your customer service is crap it’s all for naught. Conversely, if you have a few bugs in your product having great customer service can keep your customers happy and have them coming back for more. Let us all take a note from Climbing’s book get back to basics. Let’s hope for many more years of inspiration and motivation from them and from any other source that keeps us all sane amongst the insanity.