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Original Article

Klaviyo features Grasshopper - Phone Support as the Entrepreneur’s Millenium Falcon

We've spent the last month surveying startups in depth about their customer support efforts, leading us to a surprising conclusion: the telephone might act for a growing young startup in the same way the Millenium Falcon did for Han Solo – as a key vehicle for facilitating your change in direction or escape. Cheesy analogy – yes. But if you're like me, your natural inclination may not be to spend a ton of time on the phone but to focus more on "building your business".

Our survey's initial goal was to understand how startups think about customer support – with a specific eye towards the idea that customer support is really just another channel of customer communication. From our currently small (but growing) sample, we've seen the following surprising results:

  • 60% of startups surveyed had phone support – and those startups are twice as likely as others to also have chat support.
  • Meanwhile, the 40% without phone support are 2.5 times as likely to have an online help manual and an FAQ.

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A Framework for Online Customer Support

To this end, we propose three steps for startups:

  • Encourage customer conversations: Don't be afraid to put a phone number or chat tool on your website. Make reaching out easy and natural. We use Grasshopper for our number.
  • Focus on Accomplishment: Your goal as a company is to add value to someone else – and in return they'll add value to you. Your website and customer support should focus on this above all else. Just keep in mind that sometimes you aren't adding value because of design or usability; instead, it might be that you are trying to solve the problem in the wrong way, or you are actually solving the wrong problem.
  • Be Organized: Track your customer conversations and usage patterns and use them to inform your product and business strategy. Companies like Apple have sophisticated systems for tracking every customer touch point and filtering that information to the top of the organization. With a bit of thought, you can mimic this without it becoming a time suck.