Customer Service

How an Indian Startup Is Using Customer Service to Edge Out the Competition

How an Indian Startup Is Using Customer Service to Edge Out the Competition
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Indian startups (unfairly) get a bad rap for having sub-par customer service, especially since many Americans have had frustrating interactions with India-based call centers.

Related: India's 10 most fertile start-up grounds

Unfortunately, it’s easy to generalize this frustration to all India-based companies, including some highly creative and innovative startups. And some of them are "getting" that: Rahul and Varun Aggarwal, the brothers behind one on India's hottest startups, Designhill, know all too well how difficult it can be to convince American-based clients to give their business a try.

“Creating trust has been a challenge from day one,” Rahul Aggarwal told me. “We knew customers would worry about the customer service experience with an India-based company, so we decided that experience had to be absolutely perfect each and every time.”

“Rahul is right to zero-in on the importance of trust in positive customer relationships, especially for a company like Designhill, which is pairing customers with service providers," says Andrew Scherer founder of Marketers Center. "Without a base level of trust, prospective customers won’t feel comfortable committing to an initial job.

“Handing off a client to work with just anyone is a risky proposition,” Scherer continues. “You can’t build a strong trust foundation without exceptional service." Scherer notes that strong relationships with B2B customers can also open the door for some great link-building opportunities -- from both sides of the business, using customer testimonials, case studies and effective link outreach.

The Aggarwal brothers do more than just deliver great customer service at Designhill: They absolutely crush the competition, including several American-based startups. Here’s how they’re using customer service to edge out the competition, and what your business can learn from Designhill’s best practices:

1. Offer a money-back guarantee, no strings attached. 

Customers are finicky people who want the best of both worlds: low-cost service and high-quality products. That’s the business proposition behind Designhill, one of the world’s largest logo and design marketplaces. Customers can host their own design competition, choose from dozens of graphic designs, submit feedback and get revisions and choose the design they love the most. Customers immediately get complete ownership and all design files, which start at just $99.

“Design is tricky since it's inherently subjective,” Rahul Aggarwal told me. “That’s why we offer a 100 percent money-back guarantee on every design competition. Even if the customer selects a winner and then changes his or her mind, we are happy to refund the money. We want customers to feel comfortable and confident at each stage of the design process.”

Pro tip: Many businesses offer money-back guarantees, but often these guarantees have strings attached. Customers can get frustrated jumping through multiple hoops to get their money back. Designhill removes this frustration factor by making the process easy, no strings attached.

Related: Why Bill Gates Is Backing Impact Entrepreneurs in India

2. Be accessible 24/7. 

Designhill may be based in India, but the company has a global clientele, with many customers based in Europe and North America. Rahul Aggarwal says the company decided from day one to make 24/7 accessibility a priority. And being based in India, he says, actually comes as an advantage here, because of the affordability of sourcing and training customer service reps in India.

However, he emphasizes that in all aspects of training, customer service reps are taught to meet the highest quality standards.

"Our objective is to serve before we earn,” says Aggarwal, explaining that his company offers support at every stage of the process, including writing a design brief, selecting designers and managing the revision process. "Many of our customers are startups and smaller businesses that are new to the logo design process and are unsure how to get started," he says. "By offering dedicated support, we can walk customers through each stage of the process so they feel comfortable with their design decisions."

Pro tip: Can’t afford a team of customer service reps available 24/7 for phone support? Opt for online support instead. Companies like LiveChat offer reliable online support, with a dedicated customer service rep to answer questions no matter what the hour of the day or night -- or the time zones customers are located in.

dedicated Twitter handle can also be helpful for fielding customer concerns, too. Remember that even if it is not possible to offer an immediate solution, a prompt response and acknowledgment of the problem goes a long way toward assuaging a frustrated customer.

The Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid to up your customer-service game with a money-back guarantee. Even though Designhill offers a 100 percent refund, no questions asked, the company issued only two refunds in the last year. Why? The Designhill team knows its product delivers and is able to reassure customers' fears about getting stuck with a poor quality design.

Because of the company's standard refund offer, customers are willing to give the business a try since they have nothing to lose. As a result, Designhill’s business has grown by 2,000 percent in the last six months alone.

Related: Why the First Call From a Customer Is the Most Important