How to Support Customers of IT Startups

Starting up a successful IT company is a dream of many. There are plenty of successful initiatives out there and many more will follow. The day the offer gets out on the market is critical. The customers, especially the early adopters, need to be served exceptionally. Today, let's focus specifically on B2B products and services and discuss how to set up a customer service function in a small, startup company.

Small startups are specific environments. By definition, they are small, composed of a few team members. They are also very focused and passionate groups. They love their product or service. They have enjoyed creating it and preparing for launch. And the launch day approaches inevitably.

There is a small detail that needs some attention, though. Support. The team will think about it eventually. They will set up an email address and a phone line. It is a cheap and quick way to have "some" way to handle customer questions and issues. However, there is a better way.

Support based solely on phone and email is difficult to manage. It may work in the initial moment, but as customer base grows, managing the complexity will quickly become a nightmare. Incidents may overwhelm your team, if you are unprepared. Customer satisfaction will definitely suffer in such scenario. Since customer is king and the satisfaction is a true measure of success, you cannot allow that to happen.

The team should instead opt for building a solid foundation for the future support department. It does not have to be complicated, but it needs to be properly organized. I recommend starting with just three things:
  1. Assigning responsibility (who should do it);
  2. Developing a handful of operating procedures (how it should be done);
  3. Signing up for an easy-to-set-up ITSM tool.
Those three points are good topics for posts on their own. For now, I will give a bit more perspective on the tool. I strongly recommend trying out one of the cloud-based ITSM solutions, instead of a simple email box. Here are some reasons why such tools are a perfect fit for young startup businesses:
  • easy to set up (a matter of a few hours, sometimes even less than that);
  • no special technical skills required;
  • no major distractions from company's main focus (no need for hardware, software, tool administrator etc.)
  • cost effective;
  • very extensible, allowing for support of many customers;
  • facilitate process management and improvement (statistics, notifications);
  • most importantly, enable much better communication with the customer and influence customer satisfaction.
The point of this is to make you aware, that your startup business does not have to start with inferior customer support. You can lay a solid foundation for customer support and reap the benefits immediately, at a low cost.

If you are interested in this subject and would like to read more about IT support in small businesses, drop me a comment below. Alternatively, catch me on Twitter or send me a private message through the contact form. Let me know what interests you the most.


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