Great post on why startups can win.
Startups can win because the company cares more about their customers.
I'm sure plenty of people at large companies care about their customers. But a large company's org structure separate the decision-makers from the front-line employees. Any great customer-facing employee can add much more value to a smaller company.
I'm also sure there are plenty of counter-examples of startups that didn't provide great service. But that almost always past tense... small companies that don't care about their customers don't last long.
(1) Each person in the company does customer support on a regular basis. In our hiring process, we screen for folks that care about our customer and the pain point we're solving. This means they're excited to interact with our customers and help them (vs. viewing it as a chore).
(2) Our customer support team is within our product organization. We are available to help you by email, phone, etc. and our goal is to provide the best service possible (with the same mindset on how we've built the product). But, as soon as the call ends, we strive to figure out how to prevent that specific call from ever happening again. The feedback our support team provides engineering and product managers is critical to customer-centric product development.
I think a lot of businesses confuse customer-centric product development as meaning that you should build whatever a customer asks for. Our goal is to truly understand our customers pain points, and then fix them, and often this means creating something that's never existed before (vs. just building a better/faster/cheaper version of what already exists).
btw, we love hearing from customers and we appreciate any and all feedback! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you're interested in signing up, check out www.zenpayroll.com
But you have to keep in mind the fact that it is rather easy to have that sort of attitude when you're small and have a proportional number of customers - it's much harder to be nice to a thousand people than to five. Scaling your service with the size of your consumer base is the real key.
Not only is their customer portal IE only, they mandate the use of an ActiveX control from 1997. Proof:
Brutal. If this is the state of ZenPayroll's competition they're in a good spot.
Ack! Just noticed ZenPayroll is now supporting NY, unfortunately we might be moving all our HR to TriNet or I'd make the switch.