Why Every Customer is Your Best Customer

Moments ago, I got off a video call with an amazing customer, Aziz from Swift Ink, and based on a quick peek at his reviews, it’s clear he knows a thing or two about customer service. But before I talk about how/why Aziz was amazing, I’d like to explain the circumstances that led to this call.

Our customer experience team handles hundreds of calls from Volusion merchants each day. Sometimes these requests are simply to offer a helping hand: “I need to offer free shipping”. Sometimes they are quite challenging to reproduce: “One or two of my customers report a checkout issue every week”. Last week, that specific issue came across my desk. Any time we hear about an issue that can potentially impact our customers' orders, it becomes top priority.

If Aziz was going to take the time to prepare all that information for us, it was our responsibility to read through all of it to learn more.

It’s so important to mention how this came across my desk, because it’s not a case of the loudest, angriest or most unhappy customer. Aziz had prepared a very elegantly-written blog explaining the issue, with some historical references that could help point us in the right direction. If Aziz was going to take the time to prepare all that information for us in a simple, easy-to-follow package, it was our responsibility to read through all of it and learn more. We found out he was correct, and spot-on with his assessment. And we had let him down.

The first thing I had to do was apologize. Apologize for the inconvenience. Apologize for not knowing about it sooner. Apologize that he had to create workarounds for his own customers. It deeply bothers me knowing we caused him and other customers any grief over the workarounds we’d proposed in the past. I decided to personally write Aziz, and here’s the email I wish I never had to write:

screenshot-why-every-customer

We immediately assembled a cross-functional team that would be responsible for diagnosing the issue, replicating, resolving and handling communication with all customers. Our Customer Experience and Engineering teams reminded me of how challenging and elusive this issue has been to recreate, which is often the case with outliers.

What happened next was unexpected, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. While we started diagnosing the issue, I saw a response back from Aziz, explaining how he found a way to consistently recreate the issue, and wanted to know if that would be useful. A 20-minute Hangout today helped us recreate the issue 100% of the time. Aziz was gracious enough to give us his precious time and insights, and he never asked for anything. He never yelled or cursed at us, but instead treated us like part of his team. It was simply amazing.

Within an hour we were able to successfully recreate the issue, and the Engineering team had two options for resolution (which we are evaluating). This whole experience reminds me of stories I recently read in "The Thank You Economy," by Gary Vaynerchuk. Some of your best customers WANT you to get better so they can also get better, and they WANT you to fix their issues because they’ve made an investment in your product/service. This might be counterintuitive to most business folks who analyze lifetime value to determine support options, but companies need to start treating every customer like they are their best customer. That seems to resonate with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you Aziz, you are a hero to us and to other Volusion customers. And thank you for giving us the opportunity to live by our culture code, we always solve for the customer. We are in the process of fixing this issue, thanks to the details you provided.


Update 4/19/2018
We've identified the root cause and wanted to provide an update to Volusion customers. The reason this issue has been challenging to consistently reproduce has been due to a combination of browsers used during checkout, alongside payment, shipping and tax settings; Volusion merchants can customize within their Admin.

As mentioned in the original article above, one customer provided instrumental feedback that has allowed us to replicate the issue with 100% consistency. Since there's at least one open browser bug, we've released a short-term patch to test resolution and collect more feedback. You can read more about the specifics in the release notes for April 19, 2018.

The team has also immediately started working on the longer-term resolution. We'll continue updating customers here and through other communication channels and should have more information to share by April 25th or sooner.

Update 4/26/2018
A longer term fix has been put in place. You can read more in the release notes for April 26, 2018. Thank you again to Aziz and every customer who's helped us along the way on this issue.