I spend a lot of time diagnosing service failures, but occasionally I like to profile an organization that’s doing something right. One of those organizations is Squarespace, a company that provides (in their words) “everything you need to create an exceptional website.” Their amazing customer service is a template that we can all learn from, but I also have an ulterior motive for writing this post. I want to publicly encourage them to keep up the good work.
Here are five things we can all learn from Squarespace:
1. Offer a great product that's simple to use
I’m currently building my fourth website using Squarespace, this one for my upcoming book Service Failure. I'm not very technical and don't want to hire an expensive web designer, so Squarespace is a perfect solution. You can use Squarespace to secure your domain name, design your website, and add content all without ever touching a bit of code. Best of all, it's easy to learn and use and their stuff just works.
I wish I could say the same thing about all the technology I work with, but too often I find it difficult to master, riddled with glitches, or both. Customers can be delighted with a great product, but they can also be delighted with the absence of aggravation.
2. Provide value
Squarespace is constantly enhancing the value they provide to their customers. For example, earlier this year they changed their pricing structure to simplify their plans. In my case, they actually offered me a credit when I switched plans because they were now offering more for less.
Compare that to other well-publicized price changes, such as Netflix's 60% price hike or Bank of America's infamous plan to charge debit card users $5 per month. Pricing is clearly a sensitive topic, but you'll win a lot of hearts and minds if you give customers more for less rather than less for more.
3. Respond quickly to customer inquiries
Squarespace clearly realizes that many of their customers are technically challenged like me, but that doesn't mean we're patient when we encounter a problem. Thankfully, whenever I've sent Squarespace an email to ask for assistance I've quickly heard back from an elite member of their support team who was able to help. Their responses are fast, thorough, and professional.
This stands out from companies who don't respond quickly, respond but don't actually resolve your problem, or don't respond at all. Customers hate to wait and we really don't like going back and forth either (see my survey on email response times). When we need help we want it fast and Squarespace gets that.
4. Be authentic and human
Customers crave authenticity, and nothing kills authenticity faster than overly scripted communication. Squarespace’s website, blog posts, customer emails are all straightforward, easy to understand, and are unencumbered by flowery marketing dreck. Better yet, their support professionals are allowed to use their own unique personalities when communicating with customers.
Authenticity is a breath of fresh air when we're used to dealing with so many customer service reps who are required to stay within a tightly controlled box (I really don't like scripts).
5. Think like a customer
Squarespace recently announced a new version of their service, Squarespace 6, that promises to be a quantum leap forward from their existing platform. At the same time, they’ve wisely opted to indefinitely support users on the old system. Why is this important? Because it recognizes the extensive time and effort many of us have put into building our websites. Providing continued support means we aren’t forced to make the change. Of course, they’re also offering to let users make the switch for free, even allow people to running both versions at the same time, so users are tempted to try out version 6.
This is an example of seeing things from a customer's point of view. A company lacking in customer focus may have become so enamored with their new technology that they forced everyone to switch. This strategy gives Squarespace a way to attract new customers or delight existing ones without giving their most loyal fans a reason to be upset.