Pass It On!
Our culture at UpHabit is one of constant learning, and that includes sharing knowledge with anyone who needs insights! So from time to time we’ll be sharing with you some of our best recommendations, including books, blogs, or whitepapers. These recommendations can range from customer-centric reads like this one to designer/product management/entrepreneurial oriented learnings.
No matter what the content we’re sharing, it will be content that has been valuable for us, and we hope they’re helpful for you as well! Our first recommendation comes from our Growth Marketer & Community Manager, Alex.
Dealing With Dealerships
My first job out of university was at a car dealership. I was returning home to a small East Coast town from my Masters in Ireland, facing a jobs crisis that was driving the majority of my friends and peers away. I was extraordinarily afraid of coming home to no job, so I applied to every single posting that came up on my LinkedIn and Indeed accounts… even though I knew some of them weren’t the right fit for me. That’s how I ended up at the dealership as the Marketing Manager, in control of advertisement, social media, and events.
With my perfect hindsight I can now admit that this was not the job for me, and by no means did my higher education take the place of the years of experience I should have had before stepping into a role so significant. Let me tell you, the automotive industry is tough, especially for a lower-level luxury brand in a small urban market. Customers and employees alike were jumping from competitor to competitor to find the best price, the best guarantee, the best customer service. I lasted a whole two months at that position before I was let go (I never thought that I would be so thankful to be terminated from my first job, but here we are!), but there are a medley of learnings that I have taken with me.
Customers For Life
While I was furiously trying to tread water, attempting to swim and not sink, I came across a successful dealership owner in Texas who had written his golden rules of Customer Service — Carl Sewell. His book, Customers For Life, began to highlight to me that the most significant differentiator in the auto sector (but more realistically, in all industries) is customer service. It was the most important thing in 1990 (when the book was released), and there’s no surprise that it remains most important factor today. I have carried this thought with me throughout my career, and have tried to implement this learning in my personal life, as well.
Customers for Life is one of the most readable books that I’ve come across in a long time. His useful anecdotes help to provide context to his very legitimate (and entirely common-sense) learnings, which he lists as the Ten Commandments. While this read centres on a holistic view of Customer Service, there are a few of his commandments in particular that I would like to focus on.
“Bring ‘Em Back Alive!”
At no point during your organization’s development and growth should you guess what your customers need. They are more than willing to tell you what it is, so ask! Make it easy for them to ask by providing them with questionnaires, holding interview sessions, and always allowing an open forum for feedback. Here at UpHabit, we’re working hard to encourage our users to provide every ounce of feedback, both good and bad. Not only are we requesting feedback in every communication, but we are also scheduling one on one user interviews once our beta is released. This feedback, in conjunction with app analytics, will help to give us a well-rounded look at how our customers use our app!
An important line that you shouldn’t cross is not to annoy the customer. Once you start to bother your users, they aren’t going to be happy (and as we established, they aren’t shy to tell you that!). It’s because of this that we decided to pause our communications while we work on re-launching our beta! A subscriber sent us a message saying that we were teasing him by continually giving updates but not providing the product — and we understand. Customers know what they want, and you have to be able to listen.
“Always Say Yes!”
This statement is such a simple aspect of business (and in other parts of life) that organizations sometimes don’t follow up on. It’s so simple, but it’s incredibly important — especially when you’re working to create a positive employee and customer-centric culture like we are at UpHabit.
If a customer reaches out and tells us that they’re looking for a feature, you can be sure that we will do everything in our power to make that possible. We all know that one vocal user represents a swath of current and potential users who haven’t yet spoken up!
Sewell’s mantra is that as long as the request is viable for your business, the answer is yes. If you can’t figure out how to do it yet, the answer is still going to be yes. It’s about creating an amazing experience for your user, which is exactly what we’re trying to do!
“No Complaints? Something’s Wrong!”
This commandment is not unlike the two above, in that organizations need to create a culture of sharing between users and company to have any chance of success. 96% of unhappy customers don’t tell companies that they’re upset and end up not returning. You have to encourage users to share their feedback, mainly the negative, to know what they’re honestly thinking and feeling!
You’re able to identify issues as soon as possible by encouraging this open dialogue. Not only does this fix improve your product, but it enhances your relationship with the individual user (and the other 96% that didn’t tell you they were having the same problem!)
Driving The Future
In all honesty, I could go on much longer about how this book resonates with me and the work that we do at UpHabit. There was a time in my life where I thought I didn’t learn anything valuable from my first job. But I can say now beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sewell has reinforced concepts that I thought I knew, but I wasn’t practicing. I’m proud to work with a company who emphasize these values, and we keep working to keep that dialogue open. That’s what managing relationships is all about: an open and honest conversation.