How to Listen to Your Customers

How to Listen to Your Customers

In this episode of Startup Hustle, the Matts trade their best how-tos in listening to customers’ needs. The successful entrepreneurs also share the reason why businesses must make active listening a top priority.

Covered In This Episode

Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson are back for another riveting conversation. This time, they have something to say about the “customer is always right” ideology. Instead, they exchange ideas on how businesses should effectively listen to their customers, just like how they are doing it at Full Scale

The namesake duo believes that asking the right questions will do two things. One, you’re getting to know their needs. And two, you’re targeting their pain points and relieving them of that hassle. 

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There are also of course other fun, interesting things being discussed in this “How to Listen to Your Customers” episode. So get your tidbit of wisdom from them today! 

Growth and Innovation in Startup Venture

Highlights

  • The current labor shortage in the US (02:10)
  • Is it hard to make people care about your business? (04:33)
  • Learning how and when to say “No” (06:41)
  • Balancing service demand and choosing the types of customers to serve (06:48)
  • Understanding your industry and customer needs (07:41)
  • Reasons why you should listen to your customers (08:27)
  • Customer service and efficiency—how essential are they for tech products? (16:43)
  • Learn what not to do in business (21:15)
  • Bad salespeople can start many business problems (27:23)
  • On expectation management (28:56)
  • On the topic of customer loyalty (30:41)
  • How to deal with an upset customer (33:08)
  • Ask the right questions when listening to customer needs (41:07)

Key Quotes

Sometimes, it’s not necessarily listening to your customers that may be important. It’s listening to the industry. Just understanding what is going on in the industry. And, I mean, let’s be honest. Customers don’t always ask for it.

– Matt Watson

I mean, this is not a secret. It is cheaper to keep the clients and users you’ve got than to go find new ones.

– Matt DeCoursey

One thing I wanted to mention, as we wrap this up, is it’s important to listen to your customers. But that doesn’t mean that they’re always right. Sometimes, you just have to take it under advisement.

– Matt Watson

I think a lot of listening is asking the right questions . . . Don’t make people do things—do business—with you that aren’t necessary.

– Matt DeCoursey
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Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Matt DeCoursey

And we’re back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here with Matt Watson. Hi, Matt, what. Wait, what? Wait.

00:05.42

Matt Watson

Um, what’s going on, man? Ah, yeah, hello. Hello, I want to buy something.

00:18.90

Matt DeCoursey

But I’m not sure how to listen to my customers, so I’m having a hard time with that. But are you there? Hello, do you want something? Oh, yes, I’d love to take your money. I heard that part. Well, here we are, Matt. It’s another episode. We’re gonna talk about how to listen to your customers.

00:22.47

Matt Watson

Can you take my money? Take my money, take my money.

00:35.46

Matt DeCoursey

Currently, I feel like it’s a lost art everywhere. No, no. But, yeah. We’re gonna, for those of you listening, we could hear each other the whole time anyway.

00:36.70

Matt Watson

Nobody does that anymore.

00:49.83

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, so, you know, here for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt. Before we talk about how to listen to customers, we should let everyone know that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by FullScale.io. Helping you build a software team quickly and affordably well I wasn’t kidding I’ve had quite the run. Of crap service in my life recently. Everything from trying to buy carpet to a new car that is missing one tiny part that makes it usable and a bunch of other stuff. Ah, keep kind of running into the same thing now I’m just wondering if people know how to listen to their customers or or just have general customer service at all.

01:30.45

Matt Watson

Well, we definitely have a major labor shortage at the current moment in the United States and I’m not quite sure if it’s really a labor shortage or if all these companies are using it as an excuse to have a labor shortage or both I’m not sure. But. Like I go to a restaurant and there’s 2 people working in the whole restaurant 1 person taking orders and another one making tacos and it’s like a longass line and it takes for it like I call Kohler about an issue with my faucet and the phone the phone just says please go to our website click like it’s just crazy man everywhere you go.

02:06.86

Matt DeCoursey

Yep, and that’s what I’ve been running into you man you know, just like you know? Well recently I bought $13000 worth of carpet and then 14 calls later to the installer they answered the phone changed my date and moved my stuff. Everything. Really pissed me off and resulted in a canceled order which I think is the only way that some businesses seem to be listening to their customers. But yeah I don’t yeah I don’t think this issue and this problem in business is caused by a labor shortage because there’s someone there eventually or in general but just I don’t know. Really don’t I think it’s a problem and it’s not something that I and we do at Full Scale? I listen to my customers all the time man I ask him? What can we do to make your life easier? How can I help you and you know what they spend more and more and more as a result. So maybe we’re onto something.

03:00.60

Matt Watson

Well and and I think that’s what we got to talk about today, right? Let’s pretend people actually have the ability to listen to people and how you should listen to them. You know.

03:08.27

Matt DeCoursey

How many times are we gonna say what with a question Mark after this I mean probably a lot we should apologize to the listeners ahead of time. What? What? what? All right? well.

03:19.94

Matt Watson

What what? Huh, take my money.

03:25.58

Matt DeCoursey

So let’s talk for a minute about building a brand Matt you know, but you and I between us have started a whole bunch of different companies and done a lot of things and you know we’ve each had companies that ended up having hundreds of employees which changes the dynamic of your everything. Fair to say. Do you think that some of the issue with not listening to customers just kind of comes from you have a massive amount of people at your company, and it’s just kind of hard to get people to give a shit and.

03:45.17

Matt Watson

Yep, absolutely.

03:58.20

Matt Watson

Well, I mean it definitely depends on the lifecycle of your company right? I mean definitely big corporations like can you imagine calling Amazon I had I had to do it once.

04:07.20

Matt DeCoursey

No, can you.

04:13.53

Matt Watson

Because I was returning something really big that had to be shipped back or something like that and like you just don’t book it online but I mean but most big companies these days can you imagine calling them and if you can. You’re like cussing the whole time because you’re like why can’t I go on their website and just cancel this shit or make the change like it’s mind boggling.

04:34.23

Matt DeCoursey

I yeah I hear you I mean and that’s why I said that’s why I’ll cancel an order because I think that’s the only way that businesses understand you got it. You gotta pick the money back out of the pocket. But anyway so we’re gonna get into how to listen to and there’s a few things you know so. Have you ever not listened to your customers? Matt.

04:54.69

Matt Watson

Um, um, maybe yeah I mean I mean that’s one of the one of the traps you’re run into as a software developer is you like I’m gonna build this thing and then everybody’s gonna come by it. But if you don’t talk to enough people. You just build stuff that nobody wants.

05:00.27

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah I have too. Yeah.

05:12.10

Matt DeCoursey

And so if you graduate from the Matt DeCoursey school of customer service. You will learn that the customer isn’t always right? Um, they’re not yeah and and you know I think that it’s like a misnomer so I don’t know if they still teach people that but.

05:18.94

Matt Watson

No, no, they’re not.

05:29.38

Matt DeCoursey

You know when I was growing up. It was always the customer’s always right? The customer isn’t always right? We told the customer they were always right and that became a lever that a lot of customers used to kind of lean in and try to get what they want but that doesn’t mean you’re not listening like I’m still hearing what they’re saying. Just might not necessarily be a green I Think in this particular case we’re like you know talking about I don’t know I mean I’ll always listen to a customer or a client or a prospect. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to give them everything that they want sometimes you need to? Yeah I mean I think you need to learn how to say no.

06:01.65

Matt Watson

Well, it also comes down to supply and demand right? So if you’ve got a lot of demand for whatever service you’re doing and you’ve got some customers that are just ridiculous to deal with you’re like hey you know what I’m gonna fire you because I got 3 more people that want my service and I don’t want to deal with your bullshit.

06:03.49

Matt DeCoursey

But that doesn’t mean that you’re not listening.

06:21.63

Matt Watson

Like that’s a great place to be. Yeah.

06:22.40

Matt DeCoursey

I’m okay with that. But that’s not not listening right? Not listening is just like being tone deaf, not hearing, not paying attention, not looking for the clues now. I think once you start your business is well if that is currently your business or your business is trending in that direction. I think you need to prepare yourself for the fact that at some point you just might not be in business because eventually I think that catches up with you.

06:49.90

Matt Watson

Well and and sometimes it’s not necessarily listening to your customers that may be important. It’s listening to the industry, right? Just understanding what is going on in the industry and um I mean let’s be honest customers. Don’t always ask for it. What they need they ask for what they want like Henry Ford would be famous for saying like people weren’t asking for a car they were asking for like what a bigger faster horse that you didn’t have to feed or something right? but he invented the car right? like.

07:09.21

Matt DeCoursey

Correct. Yes.

07:22.47

Matt Watson

People are notorious for not really asking for exactly what they need, they ask for something else and smart entrepreneurs figure out like oh no, this is actually what they need. They just don’t know it.

07:32.72

Matt DeCoursey

If Ford didn’t invent the car. He invented a better way to build it. Yeah, so well. So there’s a lot of reasons why you need to teach your customers. Why don’t we start there so like first off, yeah I mean if you want to reduce churn.

07:36.61

Matt Watson

And that’s true too.

07:51.20

Matt DeCoursey

Now What’s Churn and.

07:52.94

Matt Watson

Dude, it is the most important thing there is if you have a young new startup technology product because you work your ass off to find customers to get at them to trust you to get them to try your crappy little product. You’re trying to build. And then you have to make them happy and if not they cancel and then they churn and I can tell you right now as an investor one of the most important things I want to know is what is your churn rate for every hundred customers. You sign up if you lose like half of them in the first you know two to three months after they sign up, you’ve got major customer retention problems and this is never going to work. Right? Customer churn is huge. It’s a big big deal and customer service customer success. You know, retaining your customers. It’s so much easier to retain a customer than it’s find a new 1 right? Like we all know that and so churn is a big big deal and and you know doing. Good processes to keep your customers happy is critical, especially in an early stage technology company.

08:52.57

Matt DeCoursey

Well and you’re so your churn rate, which is also sometimes referred to as attrition rate is the rate at which customers stop doing business with the company over a given period. So this is also like. You talked about KPIs. You know key performance indicators improvements in churn rate are a good measuring stick, especially for a young business because it looks like Matt wasn’t trying to make fun of your young quote crappy product.

09:23.91

Matt Watson

Um, let’s be honest I mean when you’re when you’re the disruptor right? Like why should I buy your product versus buying something from IBM right? like I took the leap of faith to buy from your little startup I could have bought IBM.

09:24.45

Matt DeCoursey

But you know ah all technology is kind of crappy. It’s crap, kind of crappy in the beginning. So the Churn rate is.

09:34.90

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, yeah.

09:41.91

Matt Watson

Whatever, right? And then I mean it’s hard to get people to buy in when you’re a brand new product. Let’s be honest, right? Like whatever it is. You’re doing. It’s hard to get people away from you know the bigger competition and you better keep them right? You got to do everything you can and so you got to listen to them and bend over backwards for them.

09:45.89

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, yeah.

09:59.40

Matt Watson

And the early days I mean you got to listen to them right? and you should be lucky that they’ll let that they’re willing to talk to you.

10:04.25

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, and the higher your churn rate, the more customers are stopping buying from your business and much like Matt said I mean this is not a secret. It is cheaper to keep the clients and users you’ve got than it is to go find new ones. So.

10:17.26

Matt Watson

And then we talk about this for a second like at stackfi we had over 1000 customers and if our churn if our retention rate was only say 90% that means every year we would have lost a hundred customers right? We were to retain 900 of the thousand and one hundred would be left. That means we got to sign up 100 new customers just to replace the ones that we lost, right? and so you’re bleeding, and if your retention rate is only say seventy or eighty percent, it means you’re like you’re swimming. You’re swimming upriver like it’s very difficult and your turn rate is so important.

10:36.85

Matt DeCoursey

Just to stay even and.

10:54.80

Matt Watson

And customer retention is a huge thing especially in an early stage technology company right? like it’s. It’s a really big deal.

11:02.39

Matt DeCoursey

I’m going to compare this to an arcade game. You know the game that pushes the coins, and you like to drop all those coins down. You have to pile them up before some actually fall off the ledge and give you money right? So that’s it.

11:05.18

Matt Watson

Yes.

11:11.56

Matt Watson

M.

11:16.40

Matt DeCoursey

I mean I when I think about churn rate sometimes I think about that because you talk about losing 100 you know clients customers users now you got to drop a whole bunch more coins down to get the other ones to slide closer to the edge meaning like you’re not growing. You’re not getting profitable and you’re losing all of the money.

11:31.71

Matt Watson

Yeah.

11:33.59

Matt DeCoursey

That it took to build those coins up in the first place because the first that if you know if you look at 10% of your whatever leaving? Well, you’ve probably spent time, effort, energy, emotion, any of it labor just. Getting them set up, getting them signed up, getting them moving, getting them to place orders and you know like yeah I mean so at Full Scale we have a very like a minimal churn rate both for so a chur rate can also ah apply to your employees.

11:52.61

Matt Watson

So much work.

12:05.64

Matt DeCoursey

Have employees churn as well, and I think that’s one of the problems that comes with not listening to clients and users because all right? So Matt if you showed up anywhere and today was your first day. Is it fair to say you’re probably not an expert on whatever it is that you got hired to do or like you’re right.

12:07.61

Matt Watson

Yep.

12:22.80

Matt Watson

I’m definitely not a newb.

12:24.22

Matt DeCoursey

So part of the problem is that one of the things that quietly contributes to customer churn is employee churn because you’re constantly having to replace people that might have actually known what they were talking about. Now you got so you’re mentioning like. Why can’t they do this on the website? Why can’t someone help me who are you like you’re just talking to someone on the phone and you know I try not to like to let the hulk loose on those people but 1 of the problems is is like when you’re 13 forwarded calls later or you’ve been on hold for an hour I don’t know.

12:59.36

Matt Watson

Yeah, you ever go to Chipotle and there’s some new guy or girl working there and they’re trying to take your order and you feel like you know way more about ordering food at Chipotle than they do and you’re like how the fuck did you get a job here if you don’t know how to make a burrito at Chipotle like.

12:59.93

Matt DeCoursey

Oaks coming out.

13:08.59

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, yep.

13:16.90

Matt Watson

But it’s like they’re new right? and like a customer, like what is wrong with you. How do you not know how to make a burrito like I’ve made here a thousand times? I could do it.

13:23.69

Matt DeCoursey

I Feel like my door dash driver goes through that for me. Yeah, it’s true. I know I Really don’t order. I don’t go to restaurants anymore, I just have it delivered.

13:28.22

Matt Watson

He is a crazy man.

13:40.43

Matt DeCoursey

Don’t have to deal with it all right? So you know we’re talking about how when it comes to churn, poor customer service is the second biggest reason why customers switch providers for whatever it is that they do, but like the other one, I mean just general dishappiness right? like unhappiness like you’re not happy with. Actually do you remember when we had a guest Matt Moody the company was bellwether and they literally built machine learning algorithms to detect when subscribers were going to churn because it’s that big of a deal and there’s like a lot of indicators so in that particular.

14:00.75

Matt Watson

Um, yes.

14:18.24

Matt DeCoursey

Case their technology would look like if someone calls like it was mainly that he was using the example of phone Plans. You know at and T or t-mobile or whatever right? And so like there were indicators like if they called twice in a so in ah in a specific period of time. The volatility of that churn shot way up like a couple calls to Cut. So How do you deal with it and how do you react to that? This is actually one of the bigger problems that companies have because they know why users or whom our subscribers leave, but you know how do you fix it. So. You know I mean all kinds of companies. Want to improve customer loyalty, but it’s hard for a customer to be loyal to you when I was a buyer don’t feel like you care about me or you’re not listening.

15:10.81

Matt Watson

Customer service is huge and honestly one of the biggest advantages we had at Stackify. My last company was small, and we put a huge focus on customer service, right? and it was inevitable that people would sign up for a product and they would have a question or a problem. It was just inevitable. It’s gonna happen and if they emailed us. We.

15:21.32

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, yeah.

15:30.64

Matt Watson

We had like a 99.9 percent rate of responding back to their email within the first hour. That was like our SLA service level agreement like internally that with our staff and that was a huge differentiator because I mean you got to think people may try our product and if they run into an issue. They may just go try our competitors.

15:36.90

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah.

15:49.58

Matt Watson

Product too. But if they tried our competitor’s product first and our competitor takes like two days to respond to an email. They may have said well screw this shit I’m just gonna try something else and they tried our product right? and then they had success or we helped them but customer service and the speed of customer service is so essential. Especially for technology products where people stumble on things right? like in the Gigabook you know forever. You’d have people like well I sign up but I don’t know how to do this thing or oh not do this thing I got stuck here. How do I do this thing with my widget? Whatever and the faster you answer those questions the better. Otherwise they just say screw this shit I’m done with it and they move on.

16:25.72

Matt DeCoursey

And well, a lot of that’s fixed like with Gigabook we fixed that with what we called Smartstart which was just like good onboarding and I think that’s a good way to do what you don’t even say we’re talking about how to listen to your customers.

16:25.91

Matt Watson

They just leave.

16:30.80

Matt Watson

Yeah, yep.

16:42.73

Matt DeCoursey

Ah, maybe the real solution here is creating Scenarios setups and onboarding where they don’t even I don’t want to have to contact you. So that’s what I went through yet. What what.

16:49.49

Matt Watson

Yeah, it’s like Amazon they’ve done everything possible like there’s no way you would ever talk to some at Amazon right? It’s good.

16:56.42

Matt DeCoursey

And I’m okay with that if it’s as long as it’s smooth so that was the issue I had you know I mentioned I bought $13000 worth the carpet and 14 calls to the installer later I ended up back at the store and I was like what’s up and the lady the store manager comes out and I won’t say what store it is but it’s a 1 you would recognize and. And you know she said well did you call our installer line and I said I shouldn’t have to and she looked at me. She said you know what you’re right? and she got to work trying to fix it but really in the end what it came down to is they had 1 installation company.

17:17.73

Matt Watson

Ah.

17:32.80

Matt DeCoursey

So I was like I want a different installer like they had all these complaints online I was really getting it I was like I want someone else to install the stuff she said sorry we only have one place I said well all right then I want to cancel my order because I made a deal to buy from you not from them.

17:44.10

Matt Watson

Yeah.

17:46.37

Matt DeCoursey

So they lost a pretty significant order there and you know like once again I think that that’s how businesses get it to cancel your order if the service sucks. So yeah, okay so obviously it’s 1 thing to just kind of sit there and like just be quiet. Why someone?

17:57.20

Matt Watson

Yep.

18:06.25

Matt DeCoursey

Talks and tells you stuff like what we have learned, what we were supposed to have learned in third grade like active listening like actually paying attention to what’s being said, you know where I’m going with this Matt you’re listening for the echo if you’re listening.

18:18.23

Matt Watson

Yes.

18:22.70

Matt DeCoursey

And the same and your clients and your customers are telling you the same things over and over and over and over again. It’s probably you and not them I mean it’s true and so yeah, yep, yeah.

18:28.81

Matt Watson

Yeah, listen for that echo man and that’s what you did with a Gigabook right? You’re like everybody has these same problems. We figure out how to streamline them, automate it or build self-help like you know in-app support training videos like all the different things right? you. It’s a numbers game. You’re just trying to eliminate those biggest issues and especially if you have some kind of a new software product that you’re building right? You’re trying to get people signed up, trying to get them to try the product and to get to that aha moment as fast as possible where they try it and they’re like wow I see value in this thing I can see why I would pay for it right. And if there are any stumbling blocks along the way, you failed, right? and it’s all about trying to get them to that path as fast as possible to that aha moment and having good customer service training tutorials. All these things help a lot and if they need help. It’s trying to be there as fast as possible.

19:23.12

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah I’ve got a pretty profound thing that everyone needs to pay attention to before I release that to the world. I think we should take a minute and recognize that this episode is sponsored by Full Scale. That’s our company Matt and you know at Full Scale we help companies build their software teams quickly and affordably. To learn more about what we do by visiting FullScale.io. I’ll tell you what if we didn’t listen to our clients and users I’d never sell anything because that’s our entire business is built around listening to what.

19:59.41

Matt Watson

Yeah, bad experiences they’ve had before well and and and and to be honest, 1 thing we haven’t talked about that I wrote down in my notes here. 1 of the most important things to listen to from your customers is what not to do.

20:00.43

Matt DeCoursey

Our customers need and then coming and then coming back with a solution and yeah.

20:17.60

Matt Watson

And that was a big thing we did at full skill right? We talked like oh you’ve had software developers before and they were in India or wherever and like why did it fail right? Why was it unsuccessful right and learning like what not to do right? So now as a business we know like okay we don’t want to do those things, and that’s another essential thing to listen to from your customers is learning what not. To do um and that was a big thing for us to Full Scale.

20:37.39

Matt DeCoursey

And you beat me, you beat me to my profound statement Matt so you know that’s the thing is like you got to look at it. It’s not criticism. It’s helpful that you should thank the people that are taking time to actually give you feedback so kind of the rule of thumb is. 1 person that actually says something represents 99 others that didn’t mean for real. So like think about that like when you get you don’t because I hear people like oh man I get this.

20:58.41

Matt Watson

Yeah, yep.

21:08.28

Matt DeCoursey

Bitchy customer on the line blah blah blah blah blah I’m like yeah that’s representing 99 others that turned their back and walked across the street and bought there.

21:11.95

Matt Watson

Yeah, well and and there are statistics on like social media For example, where like 90% of people will only read stuff on Facebook or Twitter or whatever and then you have like 8 or 9% that might interact they might click like or they might comment or something but then there’s like 1 % that really like responds or creates the content like we all have family members that like randomly like shit but you never hear from them like they never post anything on Facebook but they’ll like stuff and they might comment on something they’re like kind of digital stalkers right. But there’s very few people that actually will say something or do something and it’s exactly what you just said . It may seem like oh there’s just 1 asshole that said this thing but honestly, there’s probably like you said a whole lot more. They just don’t take the time or the effort to stand up just like you did with the installer and your carpet thing like. You know you went back then you’re like hey I just want you to know you guys really suck and somebody needs to tell you really suck where a lot of people just deal with the bullshit and they don’t step up and give you the real feedback.

22:12.79

Matt DeCoursey

And well they tried to tell me it was going to cost me 20% to cancel my order and I said no, it’s not and they said well that’s our rule and I said fine then you’re going to you are going to discuss that with the black card people Amx. We’re going to see what they have to say about it because you know and that’s a thing, though. It’s like in some cases like in that case you haven’t completed the service or delivered anything and by the way there are signs like all over the store are professional installers. No, be right about that. Right? So Matt, you’ve just mentioned something about online stuff. We have some info here so a report from applied marketing science found that customers who receive responses to their tweets are willing to spend 3 to 20% more on average price items now. This kind of reminds me of do you follow? Wendy’s on Twitter no well actually they’re really good cause people will tweet at Wendy’s and they’ll be like hey I didn’t get my fries and they’ll and they’ll like and they’ll get They’re like super fast they’re like they’ll be like that ain’t right.

23:09.27

Matt Watson

No, but they’re the ones that troll people right now.

23:25.50

Matt DeCoursey

Just really, it’s fun to see the way they do it now. Wendy’s does intentionally troll people like you know so like but and that’s funny too. But they’re not. They’re not like they would.

23:30.45

Matt Watson

Should I go tweet him right now? Tell me I didn’t get a straw when I went through the drive through and see what they do.

23:41.50

Matt DeCoursey

They would address it pretty quickly, but they’re engaging so you know one of the things that you mentioned I think is really a key thing here is all right? you’ve and you’ve talked about this in other episodes Joe like if you take two days to reply I mean man, there’s like a whole lot of there’s a whole lot of of of.

23:51.94

Matt Watson

Oh yeah, forget it.

23:59.40

Matt DeCoursey

Space is there for someone to go do something else now how many times have you bought something that represented the path of least resistance or just convenience and like that’s the way the world is now you know like if I mean because there’s such a. Ah. There’s not a lot of differentiation between products you know like I mean you want to buy kitchen knives so you want to buy kitchen knives Matt and 1 place is like okay, are they sharp? Are they good? Do they cut food like.

24:22.53

Matt Watson

Well I think yeah.

24:31.88

Matt DeCoursey

I Don’t care if they’re made by queens and art or someone else or whatever like are they any good like if it’s super easy for me to buy them and bring them home I’m moving on I Love to just get stuff off my list.

24:41.75

Matt Watson

Dude, true story I’ve been at like bye bye baby before and I had like a stroller or something in my hand and I’m looking at the line to check out and there’s like 5 people in line I’m like screw this shit I set it down I pick up my phone.

24:57.70

Matt DeCoursey

I ordered it online and left.

24:58.81

Matt Watson

I order it on Amazon and like 5 seconds while I walk out the store to my car like before I even get to the car I’ve already ordered on Amazon I’m like oh I’ll just get it tomorrow. Whatever, and I don’t have to unload it from the car now that’s great because Amazon will just leave it on my front doorstep.

25:10.69

Matt DeCoursey

That’s been one of that that’s been one of the jokes about bests spy over the last ten years is that they’re just a showroom for yeah, but’s ah so.

25:16.86

Matt Watson

Yeah, yeah, I’ve done it multiple times man like I’m in a store and like but like they’re really busy or whatever I’m like screw this I’m just gonna order on Amazon I also get it in a couple days but there was ah a huge shift like five-ten years ago or something that that happened right? like.

25:30.14

Matt DeCoursey

All right.

25:36.80

Matt Watson

Even ten years ago like when Amazon was around I’d still be the guy like I’d drive around all over town to best buy or Target or Walmart or whatever trying to find some gadget some phone or iPhone or whatever it was when I could’ve went to Amazon and I could’ve just ordered it and I would’ve got it in two days but I was still mentally I’m like I got to drive all over town to find this thing. Then eventually the light bulb came on for most of us like oh no, we just ordered from Amazon like why would you drive around town that’s crazy. Yeah, you just wait two days it’s no big deal you just wait two days right? like there was a huge shift there somewhere? yeah yeah I will too.

26:05.20

Matt DeCoursey

Ah I’ll pay a couple more. I’ll pay a couple more dollars to leave with it if it’s right in front of me just because I mean I’m okay with I’m okay with that I mean I got yeah yeah.

26:15.90

Matt Watson

Especially if I got good customer service I Kind of feel bad. I’m like this guy worked his ass off.

26:19.83

Matt DeCoursey

Ah, but the good ones that help you explain what the benefits are do not just tell you that it has a bunch of features, right? like and along the way a lot of times you’ll figure out benefits to products that you didn’t even know so I think that listening to your customers often. Well okay.

26:25.97

Matt Watson

They do.

26:38.60

Matt DeCoursey

Oh man, this is a rabbit hole that we’re not going to go too far down because we could probably do like an eight part series. A lot of the problems that businesses to start with shitty salespeople that over promise and under deliver and that was one of the yeah I mentioned the carpet purchase like I was expecting like two weeks

26:45.33

Matt Watson

And

26:55.70

Matt DeCoursey

And then a couple days to get installed and then like five weeks later and then they’re moving my dates around and by the way Matt they were doing all of that because they so I had multiple rooms and the very smallest 1 did that roll a carpet hadn’t come in so they were moving my whole entire order away. And not telling me or anything and so but that starts at the store level when they’re telling you hey it’ll probably be two weeks maybe a couple days more and then when you’re five weeks later you’re like what the hell so like we’re both you and I are both going through like home remodel stuff right now.

27:26.60

Matt Watson

Yeah.

27:29.34

Matt DeCoursey

That’s ah infuriating and lame enough already to like so when anything like delays that you know so I think overall you’re better. Yeah, the phrase that comes with this is you should always under promise and over deliver and that’s yeah, that’s gonna help.

27:43.93

Matt Watson

I I was.

27:48.19

Matt DeCoursey

Not having to listen to upset frustrated customers. So.

27:49.58

Matt Watson

And I always refer to it as expectation management right? and in this example or in any example, right? If it’s a software thing like a customer like oh does your product do XYZ like don’t promise them like you’re gonna add that feature and give it to them in two weeks either right? Like oh it’s on a roadmap.

28:03.96

Matt DeCoursey

So yeah.

28:07.25

Matt Watson

Maybe we’ll do it in 2024. Whatever because the last thing we do is tell your customer that like oh yeah, we’re gonna it’s gonna be in our next release next month and then you miss the deadline over and over and over it is all about expectation management. People are much happier to just say look , yeah, we don’t know when it’s gonna be done. We think it’ll be done in like three or four months then to lie to them and be like oh it’s gonna be in our next release next week like like you know it’s probably gonna be four weeks or six weeks but tell them three or four months because then if you get it done sooner like you just said right. You beat the expectations and they’re happy. It’s all about setting expectations. People are fine, just give them the bad news like they’ll take the bad news but just don’t lie to them and then keep telling them over and over and over a new story about it just set the expectations and be clear to people.

28:52.78

Matt DeCoursey

So I operate on the extreme side of candor as you’re well aware and and honestly, I have a ton of clients and people that love that because they know I’m not going to feed them a line of bullshit.

28:57.17

Matt Watson

He.

29:06.96

Matt Watson

Well, it’s just like if I called up full skill and and I’m like hey I need 75 dot net developers tomorrow. You could be like yeah sure we got it. we got it. oh yeah we got it we got it or you he’d be like okay I know we really don’t get that and I’m gonna be honest about it right like. yeah right like

29:14.70

Matt DeCoursey

Nope.

29:18.94

Matt DeCoursey

I would tell you that it could take me 2 years to fill.

29:25.10

Matt Watson

And in any kind of business. It’s just all about listening to your customers and setting expectations with them because the last thing you want to do is create this really negative relationship with them right? You’re like well you told me you would do this and then like every time I talk to you. It’s another run around and more bullshit like just tell me the real story you know, save us all time.

29:39.85

Matt DeCoursey

Well once once once the trust is gone. It’s nearly impossible to rebuild because you’re always going to remember. It’s like if you’re ever in a relationship with someone that cheated on you. You don’t come back from that very well like it’s always in your head.

29:44.16

Matt Watson

Yeah.

29:49.86

Matt Watson

Yeah.

29:56.97

Matt DeCoursey

And you’ll always remember it. So let’s talk about customer we’re talking about loyalty all of a sudden. So let’s talk about customer loyalty. Do you have a brand or what’s a brand you’ve been loyal to in life like for me, it’s Apple. I’ve been an Apple user.

30:04.80

Matt Watson

Um.

30:11.10

Matt DeCoursey

And now you’re not an Apple guy, but I’ve just you know I’ve I’ve just had good luck with the laptops desktops and phones and and on top of that when I’ve had issues. They’ve been helpful, responsive and realistic. About the timeline. It wasn’t like yeah we’ll have it done in an hour and then three days later you’re like what the fuck I mean they’ll tell you they’ll be like hey this might take three weeks or or this isn’t worth repairing. So.

30:35.18

Matt Watson

And on the same on the same side I’ve been loyal to Microsoft’s laptops like I’m like right now I’m using a Microsoft surface laptop and I’ve had many of the different devices and I’ve always had great experiences them I had 1 fail like a problem with one recently and I returned it no questions asked and they sent me a new one.

30:41.71

Matt DeCoursey

Yep.

30:54.20

Matt Watson

You know, like I had a good experience, another one for me would be Tesla like I’ve been you know, a very very brand loyal to Tesla-like they just make amazing cars. But honestly I feel like our generation is less and less loyal to a lot of things. We’re not like Ford chevy guys like I’m gonna own Ford trucks for the rest of my life like.

31:00.88

Matt DeCoursey

Right? right.

31:12.76

Matt Watson

I Don’t feel like there’s as much of that in the younger generations these days as I don’t feel like people are very loyal to anything anymore.

31:18.60

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, well and that’s something you need to keep in mind because you know people cross the line they go. They’ll go to your competitor and hurry. Yeah that.

31:26.67

Matt Watson

I mean definitely from business stuff right? like say we use slack or different things like that. But you know what, we aren’t that scared to move on to something else like we’re not using like we’re we’re not that overly loyal like somebody else will provide something better faster cheaper. We’re moving on most of the time like.

31:42.40

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah now. Well we’ve talked about that before in our 52 part tech series. We talked about that if your business plan revolves around acquiring everyone else’s users or customers. You better be a lot better.

31:45.20

Matt Watson

It’s.

31:55.13

Matt Watson

Yeah, yeah.

31:58.10

Matt DeCoursey

Because once you are once it is kind of burn-in and you’re ingrained like it’s just what you use like it would take a lot for me to quit using Apple like I’d really there would because I’m used to it I know what I’m getting I know you know and some of that’s what you get used to know on the flip side of that. I would imagine that when people cross the line from that they’re like never coming back. Never coming back. So all right? So Matt, how do you know how to deal with an upset customer or client?

32:21.98

Matt Watson

People don’t like change.

32:31.28

Matt Watson

I mean sometimes what you gotta do is just let them vent right? You gotta get on the phone with them just hear them out and be nice and just let them vent. I mean some people just that’s what they need. They’re like I’ve been using your product forever. It sucks you promised me that you didn’t deliver this. Your system was down. It has all this bugs you fucked up all this stuff and now my people got to deal with it and your software is buggy like all of it right? and it happens you know that’s what de fardo building software. Let’s be honest, we all have buggy software. Um, and sometimes you just gotta take it. You’re like you know what. We have earned this one. We made some mistakes timing getting on the phone and eating a shit sandwich, but that sucks. I mean the last company I just worked at I won’t name. Um, you know our customer success team. 1 of my good friends is in charge of it, and I felt like her job every single day was to get on the phone with a different customer and take that shit sandwich and. That right there means you got big problems like that means if it happens once a while that’s fine. But if you have somebody that’s all they do all day long is take shit sandwiches from customers because your product sucks or your service sucks. You got big problems, you got big problems right, but sometimes that’s what you gotta do, especially if they’re big enterprise accounts which my friend I was just describing.

33:32.71

Matt DeCoursey

Fix your products or your service. Yeah yeah.

33:42.96

Matt Watson

Had to deal a lot with big enterprise accounts and they’re people that pay $100000 a year or for whatever but they’re on the phone with them all the time like oh you promised this you didn’t deliver this your you know implementation is behind schedule whatever and they just call and chew you out all the time. It’s all you can do right? and I feel bad because that’s all she could do, all she could do is just listen. Could even fix the problem but you just get on the phone and you let the customer complain because they vent and and and at some degree. All you can do is just let them vent.

34:10.27

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah I agree you got a lot out of the system and then I think another thing too is like if you know that if you’ve done a bad job admit it own it fix it right? because I will tell you that Okay, the idea that your company your product your service or that your employees are always going to nail it.

34:18.10

Matt Watson

Um, yeah, own it.

34:30.23

Matt DeCoursey

And get it right? It’s not it’s not happening it’s you everyone has a bad day and nothing’s perfect right? But 1 of the things that you’ll find is if you do have if you’re listening to people and you note like they’re not telling you hey I’m canceling.

34:47.90

Matt Watson

Yeah.

34:47.94

Matt DeCoursey

Telling you hey I’m really having a problem here. This is making my life miserable. So okay, you know what I want an opportunity to fix that, but a good question is what can I do to fix this.

34:56.21

Matt Watson

Well, it’s like your carpet example right? if you would have finally got somebody on the phone on the fourteenth call and they would let you vent for a few minutes and they’re like sorry sir. Yeah, we absolutely screwed up, we’re terrible. We get it. We’re short-staffed whatever excuses whatever, but we’ll be there next week we’ll get it taken care of you like okay finally right.

35:13.40

Matt DeCoursey

And when I finally got someone on the call after fourteen days they were telling me that the dates that I thought that I had that I had made big life moves.

35:14.90

Matt Watson

But instead.

35:25.74

Matt DeCoursey

Around being available I needed two full days to be attentive here and then they moved him and I was like oh my god that’s it that was it for me.

35:27.16

Matt Watson

Um, yeah. Yeah, sometimes you gotta bend over backwards to just make it right? You know that’s what you got to? Do you gotta make it right? They should have made it right. I can watch a Youtube video.

35:39.46

Matt DeCoursey

Do you know how to install carpet? I still don’t feel like you know how to do it? No, I found a new place that actually was.

35:47.81

Matt Watson

You need some help this weekend.

35:54.79

Matt DeCoursey

I wanted to beat my head against the wall because apparently 2 blocks away from our office in Kansas City, Kansas, there was another carpet place which by the way I went to yesterday and made an order there within 10 minutes and I told the lady I said look I recently had a problem and she said I won’t let that happen to you. And they already called me today. I’m going to have an install in ten days yeah well I needed some.

36:17.10

Matt Watson

I would never buy carpet again. By the way I think I think I’m on that other like you’re on the Apple team and I’m on the Android team. You must be on the carpet team and I’m on the Noncarpet team.

36:27.96

Matt DeCoursey

I Needed some carpet bro. You got to have some.

36:31.61

Matt Watson

Now when you have little kids puking on the floor.

36:34.56

Matt DeCoursey

And I got the upgraded Pad. You know it’s not going to let the moisture get through.

36:39.26

Matt Watson

And a water leak the other day in my basement like I’m just like no carpet screwed this but you have fun with that good luck with the carpet.

36:44.10

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, all right? Well thanks, thanks! That’s also I’m not going to let you install it Matt you’re not passionate about the product. So I’m not convinced that you’re going to do a good job. Yeah yeah.

36:56.91

Matt Watson

That’s true. That’s true I’m gonna be complaining the whole time.

37:01.70

Matt DeCoursey

Right? So once again, today’s up so Startup Hustle was brought to you by Full Scale where you can find qualified software engineers. To learn more about Full Scale by visiting Full Scale or clicking the link in and our show notes. You know, man, if you go to FullScale.io, we ask you a lot of the questions. Like the get started page, about what kind of solutions you need, what you’re having problems with where your business is at. I think a lot of listening is asking the right questions.

37:29.14

Matt Watson

Yeah.

37:32.63

Matt DeCoursey

Is really asking the right questions so you know as we wrap up this episode. You know I want to encourage all of you to figure out what the right questions are to ask your clients on the way in you ask them on the way in and you establish what the needs are and this. Problem you’re trying to solve and all of that upfront makes it well it takes the guessing game out of it. It makes transactions a lot faster and like I was just so happy yesterday to go buy carbon. It was just like bang bang bang done like I knew exactly what I wanted and what I needed and it went fast and I didn’t have to sit there for like. 5 hours and you know another thing too is some of those places they don’t want to take your order until they’ve come and measured your house. Okay I have a room that’s 15 by 15. I know how to use a tape measure and I’m positive that wasn’t going to change so we avoided that part too. These are things that avoid unnecessary steps. Don’t make people do things to do business with you that aren’t necessary. Um, it’s kind of like when I go to the doctor’s office. Why do I have to fill out the same paperwork every time they did not have it the last time my name is. Birth date has not changed Matt.

38:39.29

Matt Watson

Didn’t get me started on that, like everything to do with customer data. And, oh my god, you know, one thing I wanted to mention as we wrap this up is it’s important to listen to your customers. But that doesn’t mean that they’re always right. Um, and sometimes you just have to take it under advisement. Sometimes they ask for the dumbest shit in the entire world and 1 of my favorites. My favorite example was from my Venn Solutions days. One of the things we would do the software would do is track appointments like you were gonna come in and meet a salesperson in a car dealership, and it would track those appointments like a calendar, right? well. One of our customers kept calling over and over and wanted us to make it so nobody in the dealership knew who the appointments were. He wanted to hide from the salespeople the customers that were coming into the dealership so that when the customers would randomly show up the salespeople wouldn’t even know. And I would always be like that is the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard my entire life. No, we’re not going to do that and I’m telling you customers ask for some dumb stuff and one of the things you have to do is always filter out like. Good from the bad because people are are going to ask for some dumb stuff too and that’s one of my favorite examples like it never made any sense.

39:55.64

Matt DeCoursey

No I agree I would have said something I would have I would have yeah know.

39:58.97

Matt Watson

Oh I Did you know what? I would always tell him my favorite line was like you know what? Ah sir I’ll make the software Do whatever you want if you buy the company. Whatever you want.

40:09.80

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, I would just, well I’ll ask people if you get into stuff like that I’d say well, what’s the upside of that you know like what are you really trying to accomplish here because that’s a weird like what you just mentioned. That’s a weird scenario I really in the end I’m going for. My wrap up here. Matt, I’m going to say that asking the right questions is imperative like when it comes to listening like you know and then some of it is also you know if you do more of this people if you do a bad job own it fix it admit. It.

40:42.28

Matt Watson

Make it right.

40:44.87

Matt DeCoursey

Don’t get defensive. Don’t get angry like you know if you just know you know if you didn’t do a good job. Did you deliver it on time? Did you deliver a quality everything because if you didn’t then it’s your fault and fix it find a way to fix it.

41:00.22

Matt Watson

Just own it. Yep and honestly some of the customers that you have problems with that have bad experiences with if you take care of those customers. They actually become yours.

41:03.98

Matt DeCoursey

So oh it’s a mistake until you fix it right.

41:16.75

Matt DeCoursey

Lifetime Lifetime. Yes, yes that you care? Yeah, let’s care.

41:17.77

Matt Watson

Best loyal customers right? because it’s like you have proven to them that you that they’re you’re they’re important that you care you’ll take care of Them. You’ll make it right and then they have that much more trust with you I mean as weirdly as that sound sometimes your worst customers that have the worst experiences. You can turn them around to your biggest advocates. It’s weird how that works, but it works.

41:39.20

Matt DeCoursey

And you know one thing I didn’t mention is 1 thing if you’re the way a customer is on the way in is the way they’re going to be when they’re in your fold right? So if you get people that are like.

41:50.80

Matt Watson

Who is a pain in the ass. Yes.

41:55.36

Matt DeCoursey

Like clearly terrible on the way in don’t sell them something and you don’t have to worry about that later speaking to selling something mad I’m gonna get back to doing that I’m gonna catch up with you next week.

42:05.68

Matt Watson

Let’s do it. See you.

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