How Bad can Bad Customer Service Hurt Your Start-up A good customer service may not be the only reason why your business will succeed but a bad customer service will make sure your business fails.

By Siddhartha Ahluwalia

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Building my startup for the last 2 years, I had completely lost track of my health. My weight grew from 75kg to 87 kg in 2 years. Also I started to have a belly.

I started to go gym let's say naming it "X". The infrastructure of the gym was very stylish and one of the best in business. I had been assigned a trainer "A". For the first few days "A" showed me how to use the equipment. 3rd day onwards, he started pitching me to take personal training from him. The monthly membership of gym was INR 2600/month. The charges of personal training were INR 8000/month extra.

I ignored the trainer's pressure towards personal training. Gradually due to lack of interest shown by the trainer in guiding me how to use the equipment and his apathy towards how bad I was doing in the gym started annoying me. I even told the owner about the issue. The next day trainer told me that nothing will change by complaining about him. I was anxiously waiting for 1 month to get over at the gym as I had paid monthly fees in advance.

Starting next month, I joined another gym "B" which was costlier than my previous gym (INR 2700/month fees). As I entered the gym for the first time, the equipment seemed old and shabby. As I ran on treadmill which creaked, I cursed myself why I joined the new gym and left the old one. Since I had paid in advance, I had to complete 1 month in the gym. The dumbbells had cracks and the cycles paddles were difficult to push. The only ray of hope was the trainer in the gym. "Krishna" the trainer taught well about each exercise. He never pitched for personal training which cost INR 10,000/month in this gym.

Though not always available for each exercise, the trainer whenever asked would guide properly. Not only for me, for every member of the gym, the trainer was available for guidance, correcting the posture during exercise and showing interest to help people to improve themselves. I was floored that the other 3 trainers in the gym displayed the same culture.

Customer Service Should be at the Forefront of Every Business

A big learning for all businesses is that the customer service should always be your top priority. A good customer service may not be the only reason why your business will succeed but a bad customer service will make sure your business fails. For most software as a service (SaaS) products, no matter how good your UI / UX is, or how many features you have, if you are not able to solve the core problem of your customer, an average product with better understanding of customer will win over you.

I have observed many start -ups today shy away from customer service and give reason that it hinders scale. We forget that at Amazon you will always have customer care executive calling you back to resolve your problem. And it gets better as Amazon scales. Uber app always refunds your entire amount no questions asked if you get charged wrongly for your Uber trip.

While scaling your business, we cannot choose to lower the customer service experience.The best word of mouth is when your customers vouch how your company went out of the way to solve their problems.

Your team facing the customer whether on call or in person are the most prominent representation of your business. If even one of them follows a bad culture, it will seep into entire team. On other hand people who lead in your team by great culture should be appreciated most, so other team members can follow their lead.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia

Founder, 100x Entrepreneur Podcast

Siddhartha Ahluwalia, is the Co-Founder of Babygogo, a mom & baby healthcare mobile platform where Moms can connect to other Moms and experts to get solutions to all their parenting worries. Babygogo is ranked by Google Playstore as No 1 app in Parenting 

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