Chris Alexander

On Engineering

How Customer Support Should Be

17th January, 2010

Last weekend there was a post on TechCrunch about a US company that had just opened up out of private beta which was offering a service that automatically monetises outbound links on your website by passing them through referral URLs.

I recognised the business model from Skimlinks, a company I came across while I was at Huddle in 2008.

Signing Up

Since my blog has been growing, I thought I would be able to apply and stand a good chance of being approved.

I filled in the signup form carefully and as accurately as I could, and was pleased to see that it would take them at most 3 days to get back to me.

This morning, over a week later, I still hadn’t got a response, so tweeted:

Applied to @skimlinks over a week ago and nothing yet - 3 days?! Saw competitor on TC and thought I’d go for the UK guys. So much for that.

Within 2 hours, @AliciaNavarro (who founded and runs Skimlinks) replied with this:

chris_alexander Hi Chris, I run Skimlinks, huge apologies, I’ll check what the issue is in reviewing your application.

Less than an hour after that I received a confirmation e-mail that I had been approved, and another tweet from Alicia saying it had been sorted out.

How It’s Done

The fact that within hours of my single tweet that I was having problems with the service, the founder had got back to me, engaged and fixed the issue and on a Sunday is something quite astonishing.

It really does show these companies that have a presence on Twitter or other platforms but don’t engage with their users just what value they can get out of interacting and helping their customers through the medium.

For Skimlinks, this resulted in another happy client signed up and helping them earn money; for larger corporations trying to shed their black box image, are they really doing all they can to engage with their users? Are their “social media budgets” well justified?

Unless they can come up with this level of service, I think not.

Thanks to Alicia and the Skimlinks team for sorting my application out, and providing an example of superb customer service.