How to delight a new customer: A tale of two chats

Let’s talk about customer service excellence for a moment. Not even our own, which we do hope is excellent, but someone else’s (our favorite kind to talk about, actually!).

As part of the admin team for online radio station StillStream.fm, we are responsible for testing and implementing web solutions for the station. In general we’ve been successful, recently launching a beautiful new WordPress web site that includes some pretty nifty features that enhance the experience for the admins, the hosts, the artists, and the listeners.

Barc, Inc. logoBut here’s the real story: We had a rather challenging snafu last week in the course of implementing a new chat client, resulting in our very quickly pulling the plug on one solution and immediately evaluating alternatives. One of the other station admins quite fortuitously pointed us at Barc as one of the possible candidates, and it looked extremely promising for many reasons.

So since we were without a chat client at all at this point, we decided to test Barc with StillStream in the live environment–risky, yes, we know–and just let folks know that we’ve been testing, and this was another candidate.

We’ve had mostly positive response so far (better UI, better performance with assistive technologies–screen readers for the blind–better handling of private messaging, better moderator tools, etc.), and actually had record chat attendance the day we launched it. When we did encounter a few usability issues, we reached out to Barc for assistance.

We were very pleasantly surprised at their response as compared to that of the previous vendor’s.

They replied incredibly quickly, and where the previous vendor seemed to have very little real interest in exploring fixes, Barc is handling our issues with great diligence, responding quickly and personally, and getting creative with finding solutions that will address our needs quickly. For less than 1/3 the cost of the previous provider.

We’re not a large client, though we’d sure like to grow to that point! But Barc treated us like VIPs from the very first conversation, so they have our business. We’re seriously considering installing it here at SheTech and Company, too!

And by the way, badmouthing a competitor will also not endear you to your customers. Yeah, the other guys did that.

UPDATE, 6 February:

Interestingly, after the first flurry of very interested contacts, they’ve gone silent again. So, maybe not so delightful after all…

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