Helping Is Happiness

Recently, Ross wrote about how each person can impact others: “think about how you can help others. Imagine how much good you can do if you help just one person per day. Imagine how much good THEY would do if they too help one person per day.”

Customer service is about helping others. We’ve all experienced good and bad customer service.We tend to remember situations when we’ve received exceptional customer service. And we also remember situations where customer service has been awful. As customers, we think that we are entitled to exceptional customer service at all times. But when we provide customer service, we sometimes forget that exceptional customer service often takes extra care and effort.

Photo by mrmanc (Flickr)

crowdSPRING admires companies that have made customer service the focal point of their business. Such companies never forget that each customer service experience should be exceptional. Sometimes, this means going way beyond what you might normally do to help a customer.

Recently, we had to remove a creative for repeated violations of our policies. We take such actions with great care because we value our community and we believe in giving people opportunities to correct their behavior. We also recognize that removal of a user has serious consequences. In this case, the creative we removed was awarded the project by a buyer and our action complicated the completion of that project.

We could have reopened the project, refunded the buyer’s money, or asked the buyer to select another creative. But, because the buyer really liked a particular design, and because the creative had already done the work, we wanted to find a solution that made sense for them both.On crowdSPRING, project wrap-up is typically an automated process that the buyer and creatives do on their own (on our site). But in this case, completing the project required my direct involvement. Both the buyer and the creative agreed to let me help them complete the wrap-up of their project. So, I became the “middle man” between the two, relating information back and forth in an effort to make them both happy.

This process required me to invest a large amount of time to complete that one transaction. But the time invested was well worth it because I “became” both the buyer and the creative – getting an incredible insight into our users’ experience – from both sides in the same project.

At some point late in wrap-up, despite my repeated efforts to contact them, the buyer stopped giving feedback and had not yet received the final deliverables.

Several weeks after that, the buyer mentioned on Twitter that their experience with crowdSPRING was “interesting”. When I read the tweet on Twitter,I was concerned that the buyer had not received the final files. So I picked up the phone and called the buyer right away. I wanted to better understand what they meant when they said that their experience was “interesting,” and I wanted to make sure that the buyer received the final files in their project.

It turned out that due to a family emergency, the buyer’s only access to crowdSPRING was through a Blackberry. And it was apparent that such access wasn’t adequate to review hi-rez  files. While it would have been easier to say to the buyer to wait until they had access to a computer, it was clear that they needed the files right away. And so we once again decided to go above and beyond what the situation called for. To help the buyer view files on their Blackberry, we sent files in a low-rez JPEG format. Our own team checked the final files for quality – something we normally have buyers check on their own. And, because the buyer was severely pressed for time – they needed the graphics for a very important trade show – we sent the final files directly to their printing house after we verified the files.

What did we learn from this experience? The buyer will definitely remember this experience. While it started a bit rocky (our own fault) when we removed the creative, we worked hard to make this process meet the buyer’s needs. The files were delivered on time despite and we had a happy customer.

Looking back, my decision to go beyond what one would normally do – to help a distressed customer – not only had a positive impact for that customer, but also allowed me to learn first-hand about users’ experience in wrapping-up projects on crowdSPRING.

Helping really is happiness. I felt empowered after this experience, and energized to do even more.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with customer service – good or bad. If you’ve had an exceptional experience, what made it exceptional? If you’ve had a poor experience, how could it have been improved?