MicroConf Refresh Episode 16: Cheap & Easy Customer Support - Sarah Hatter

Episode 16 October 27, 2020 00:41:18
MicroConf Refresh Episode 16: Cheap & Easy Customer Support - Sarah Hatter
MicroConf On Air
MicroConf Refresh Episode 16: Cheap & Easy Customer Support - Sarah Hatter

Show Notes

Learn how to offer your customers amazing support over email and Twitter, create a fanatical user base, and how to avoid the quagmire of 1-star reviews.

Check out Sarah’s MicroConf speakers page for more talks → https://microconf.com/speakers/sarah-...


MicroConf 2012

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E-mail → [email protected]

MicroConf 2020 Headline Partners

► Stripe https://stripe.com

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► Basecamp https://basecamp.com

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Rob Walling: [00:00:00] this week's MicroConf refresh episode where we play the audio of a past. MicroConf talk. Usually one of the top rated talks of all time. I am your host, Rob Walling, and today's talk is from 2012. We are going back in the archives. The talk is from Sarah Hatter of Co-Support. And it's called Cheap and Easy Customer Support.

She says, learn how to offer your customers amazing support over email and Twitter, create a fanatical user base and how to avoid the quagmire of a one-star reviews. Sarah Hatter is a multi-time Microcom speaker, and she has forgotten more about customer support than most of us will ever learn. So I hope you enjoy this talk from Sarah Hatter.

Sarah Hatter: [00:00:49] yeah. Hi everybody. This is going to be super fun because I'm weaseled my way into getting my Q and a stuff built into my time. So we're going to do three things in my talk. We're gonna talk about who I am, why I'm here. We're going to do some real world examples of how you guys can be doing support faster, better, easier, cheaper, smarter, funnier, all that stuff.

And then if you, once I thought that we could also do. Sorta some life lessons about, Ooh, sorry, starting a business because I've only been in this business myself for a year. I've been in the web scene for years and years. And we'll talk about that in a second. do you guys want to hear about that kind of shit or do you not want to hear about that shit?

You wanna hear about it? Okay, cool. okay. So let's start real quick with, me who I am, what I am doing here and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. So I'm super passionate about customer support for apps. I think that we are in a really great place where we're finally at this awesome plateau of.

Having customer support, that's awesome and accessible and educational for people is as important as fast code and great slick design and all of you guys in the room know it. And I love that. So many of you guys are doing this yourselves for your own apps and that you're taking that on from the very beginning because it sets a tone for the customer support the rest of it, the app life.

I started coach support last year, this year. So we've been in business for, I don't know, Over a year, which I can say. and literally I have been doing customer support for 16 years. My very first job was working at a call center for shit. You buy on TV, like ShamWows and stuff. When I was like 15 and yeah, it was horrible.

One of the ones that we sold was, a radio ad for you could call in and get a spiral bound notebook that lists all the brothels in Nevada. And so it was all truckers that would call and I was like 15 years old and sure.

Rob Walling: [00:02:41] Where are you going, sir?

Sarah Hatter: [00:02:42] So I started doing that and then, I don't have any kids either.

I'm not married, but I didn't want to leave out like a kid photo, but I, so I thought, I just show you a picture of me with a mullet in fourth grade.

I'm right there in the middle, if you couldn't tell. And the great thing about this photo is because I obviously know what I'm doing, I've been doing it for a long time and yes, you've probably heard of my last job, blah, blah, blah. It was a really great place to work. I learned a lot being there and they're really good, wonderful people.

And I like everything about them and they're really wonderful. And you should all like them as friends and be friends with them. so anyway, I don't work there anymore. One of the reasons I don't work there anymore is because I think that since you're really great, smart, wonderful people, they did a lot of really smart things. And so I wanted to talk about some of the smart things that happened when I worked there. One of those being that they launched a product with zero customer support, they didn't think it was important whatsoever.

They didn't have a support staff for their product for almost three years until I begged them to let me take over support because I was. Actually embarrassed working there, the products, the customer support for the product was just really bad. And then on top of that, they really never ever thought that customer support was as important as designed.

And so it never got the resources of anything else. It was the least, it was most underpaid and the least focused on part of the whole company. So very smart. Really smart stuff again. Good people. and the other thing too, is that support was always an afterthought. They'd build these products, they'd build these products and then they'd bring me in and say, so we built this product and here's what it does.

And I'd say, you can't do that. That's going to just cause support. People are just going to have to write support for that. And they'd say, yeah. so anyway, I think that the problem with these smart things that happened at this great company was that. They learn from those mistakes too late. And they ended up building up around this whole philosophy of say no to customers and say no to feature requests and don't listen to them, just build your app and you build it, how you like it, which is great.

If you're, you want to do that. But at the end of the day, we're now in a place where we need to build apps based on what people want and what people need and what people are asking for. And so we've all learned. That's the better way to go. So how many of you guys are doing support for your app by yourself?

You do it. Yes. I love all you people. How many of you guys are using a help desk? Like a user voice. Who's really super awesome. Or desk or Zendesk or awesome. Awesome. Awesome. you don't need to do that by the way. All of you guys are micro founders. You're micro entrepreneurs. I don't know how many of you guys are profitable, but you shouldn't be spending even $49 a month to do any of that shit.

I'm not. And so you make 10,000, $12,000 a month. You should not be paying for a help desk solution right now. So we're going to talk a little bit about what you can do instead. That's literally like super cheap, super easy. We're going to start with emails, forms, and inboxes. I'm rushing through this, but I want, I can see everybody all the way in the back of the room.

So if you have questions, please raise your hand and we'll take the question during the talk instead of waiting to the end. so how many of you guys have heard of turbo scan? Do you guys use it? It's an awesome app. It's one of the top paid apps in the iTunes app store. It's an app for your phone.

I think for your iPad too, you can take a picture of anything and turn it into a PDF. It's amazing. I use it for contracts all the time and it's crazy, wonderful, and very popular. So what happens if you don't understand how to use this app? This top paid iPad app, that's all over the place that Apple advertises.

If you go to turbo scan.com, this is what you get. Please email us. We answered most support emails within a few hours. Thank you. So that's it. This is URL. I think it's turbo scan, app.com. That's it. There's nothing else on the page. And the funny thing about this is besides the fact that it's totally fucked up to do this to your customers.

They don't write you back. I've written them 17 times since December, and I've never gotten an email response. So the second thing that's wrong with doing a page like this is you're giving the customer an out number one, because a customer is going to see this and no, thanks. Forget it. I'm not even writing them, but two, you're not gathering any data from them whatsoever.

You're not getting a subject. You're not getting any way to triage emails. You're not getting any way to. Run analytics on emails that come through based on time zone or device or any of that stuff. And what ends up happening is you get an inbox that I'm going to show you. This is one of our customers that we just started doing support for you get this name and the URL.

This is horrible. This is horrible for any sort of support. And if you did look at this all day long, you wouldn't want to do support either. So instead, the best thing that you could be doing just to start is to build a contact page, a contact form that gathers information and allows the customer to set the tone of the email, set, any tags, gathers information about their device and all that stuff.

This is another one of our customers readability. We built this form for them and we give the customer the opportunity to say. I have an issue with this specific thing. I have an issue with the iOS app, the Android app, the mobile website. I have a feature request down at the bottom. I'm even a developer and I want an API key, really specific things.

So this does all the work for you, which means when you get to your inbox, the next day, you're seeing everything right there in front of you. It's tagged all this, all these tags are that you can run analytics on the tags. You can scan through this first thing in the morning and pick out every single thing that's I can't log in or I have a problem or this thing sucks.

You can leave all the other stuff for later and it gives you a way to control visually how you go into your support. Does anybody do this right now? Yes, you're. You're an Oregon organizational kind of person. Do you have, does this for your clients, or do you have your customers to do it or for your own apps that you're doing that for your own apps?

Perfect. I think that everybody should be doing this even for their own personal email. You should have personal email folders that you're putting stuff into reply later. Reply later. I don't want to do this reply now. Another inbox. I wanted to show you too. This is from desk, which is a paid app. Like I said, you don't really need to use pay to apps.

I got this great screenshot from Heaton. This is their Gmail inbox actually for Kissmetrics. And once you can see is they have multiple people using one Gmail inbox and multiple email addresses going right into one inbox. And they're able to prioritize using the little superstars function that you can enable under your Gmail settings and all of their emails come in and are tagged with people's names, meaning that person's going to go answer it.

Or this is a bug. This is a bug and IE, this is crazy smart stuff. And they're like a billion dollar company, I think. I don't know. I think I've just flattering him at this point, but this is like the super smart thing to do the other really smart thing to do again. You can shift all this stuff out of your inbox.

So you're not seeing it. So Cindy can have her own folder and only Cindy goes into their emails that are about IAE, go into one folder. You can send them to a developer to do The other thing that Kissmetrics does, and they're also a code support customers. So maybe that's what I'm talking about them so much is that they offer the selected issue.

Tell us about the issue, but way up at the top, we see, how can we help you? The first thing that they say is, have you checked out our support site? Meaning that they've actually are making the self-service for people. You don't have to email me, go find information like right here, and this can link to a help section.

It can link to a customer forum. It can link to get satisfaction. It can link to any sort of historical data that you have online that's documentation based. So this is another screenshot of what we did for readability. This is also in desk, but you can see that we have categories about all this stuff and each one of these, how to use it apps for iOS.

All of these have multiple articles. And each article is maybe two, three sentences with a screenshot. That's it super easy. It'll take you a Saturday to do it all. You could probably get a hundred of them up. And the great part is right at the top it's searchable. So your customers can just type in anything and search it.

Anyone doing this yet for your app? you don't count Philly. If you haven't thought about doing this, think about doing it right now, this would be the very first thing that you do even before you start on support hiring and all that kind of jazz. Get a searchable. Yes. This is desk.com formerly assistly.com.

Now Salesforce pretty much any help desk solution will offer this built-in they call it a knowledge base. and it's wonderful. You can also build this yourself in HTML, but it's a little bit easier using a service because it's like. Old timey like tight pad or blogger interface with the select a picture.

So if you want to use something like this it'll cost you it's free for two users. So again, a really great free option. If you want to add more users, it's $49 a month. So any questions on that stuff? I know you have him through these, so we can get to question time. I'm really interested in this because it seemed like you were saying that you preferred is he self service.

Totally. Oh, you're trying to push me away. I'd like to talk to him. you can do both. It's all about presentation. I think that when you're in a state of developing an app, a customer form is really important because you're getting customers to talk about stuff. You're seeing stuff in public, and it's a historical record of what people are questioning you about asking for information for and how it's also helping.

When you have someone post on a forum, this doesn't work. How does it work? I don't like this. They're identifying design plus for you. So that kind of stuff is really great. When you have a searchable index like this, you can track what people are searching for. You can track what the top hits are on your help section.

So you get a better sense of what's confusing people. What do they not know? What am I not presenting well enough in the app store? What's not in my description that people are asking me. I think that it's wonderful to be completely transparent and open and let people email you all day long. But I think that most customers just want to get the answer online.

So like when we see the app for turbo scan, it's just an email address. That's not very educational for me. There's no other option whatsoever. It's you want to find a nice middle ground where people have accessibility to you, but they also have accessibility to education.

Anyone else? More questions? Okay. This is a super easy one. Prioritizing, does anybody have a really good trick for prioritizing email so that they get it done quick and they don't kill themselves at the end of the day?

Oh, what's this

reschedule things later on. That's amazing. So I love that idea. I use folders for it personally in Gmail, I use labels and like I said, move it out of the inbox. And then the great thing about Gmail or folders is that you see an unread count. So you can go to it at your, whenever you want. Yes, Corey. I'll use a followup that CC too.

I'll just essentially say set a one day reminder or six hours or tomorrow, like all kinds of stuff, whether we followed up  and I can actually perfect. Yeah. That's stuff is great. All that kind of stuff. Follow up, get to it later. Get to it later is great. What I like to do, especially if I'm the only person there doing support, which many of you are, is to figure out what I'm going to do first? What matters to me now? What matters for later?

Which what's the stuff that I can push on for later. So easily. The very first thing is scanning the inbox like we did with the subjects and the tags for anyone saying I can't log in. Something is broken. These are indications that you need to stop what you're doing and look at the email. And you can look at an email for someone saying, can't log in and read it in two seconds and know whether they're just an idiot or something's broken.

So that's important. The next thing, obviously, this isn't working, I need help. I need billing issues. The reason that these two are like top of mind priority for support and should always be answered every single day is because they're paying customers. Not only their paying customers, but if they're paying customers and things, they have a login for your whole website, it means that they also have access to rating you online.

So what we find with customers, and when we find, when we do brand salvage of companies that have had a really bad support run, and they're trying to figure out what they can do better is that overwhelmingly people that write iTunes reviews or app store reviews are saying no one ever got back to me from support.

And we go and check because we can track those people. We can look them up and see, did we reply to them? Usually they posted their review a day after setting their support request. So this kind of stuff is really important. And all of the app stores now require that you have accessible support information in your app store description.

If you go through, if you're in the app store, if you're in like even a Chrome app store, you're anywhere you're even on Twitter, like start Googling and searching for what people are saying about your support, your accessibility, and, use that as a way to prioritize what you should be doing. The next thing, the next two things, I think go hand in hand they're sales emails.

How does this work? Does it do X, do you have this feature? And then of course, feature requests. We all love feature requests. Is there anybody in the room who does not reply to feature requests? Awesome. Yes, we're all on track already. Everyone should reply to a feature request. I don't care if you do it today or tomorrow or next week, but you need to reply to them.

And the other great thing that you should think about using as a tool is text expander is your friend, is anyone used it? Yeah. So write your scripts, write them with little blanks that you fill in. Say, thanks so much for your vote on this. We don't have plans to offer X right now. We love hearing from you.

Send us more ideas. That kind of stuff, use tools that help you get through this stuff easier because if you're letting stuff back up or you're putting things in folders where you're going to follow up on it later, it's going to be a slug to get through. Okay. Any questions on that? That stuff's easy.

The next thing. I hate Twitter. I hate Twitter so much that I ran a script recently to block people on Twitter because it doesn't work for my username since it's like sh I get anything that anyone ever types into Twitter with at sh anything on it. I get the responses to I'll give anybody in this room a thousand dollars if they can fix it for me.

but I want to talk about Twitter because Twitter is a great free, cheap, easy. Useful way to do support and it's index by Google. It is a historical record of conversations that you have with your customer. It's a historical record of like accessibility that you are have as a brand to you tweeting out updates, you tweeting to, favorite users and all that stuff.

Can anybody guess what? My very favorite Twitter account for customer support is like the best Twitter account out there. Who's doing great customer support on Twitter. Anyone. Not Zappos. Anyone else? Corey and Eric taco bell at taco bell. Everybody go and look at it right now. It's amazing. Let's read through some of their awesome Twitter's right now.

Okay. Check this one out. Is it possible for me to have intercourse with your food? technically, but we prefer you just eat it like a civil human being, That's I have another one. This is great. It only gets better. Check this one out. I love you. That's all best tweet ever. They're so wonderful.

The next one, I think the Dorito taco sucks that makes you and nobody else.

It's incredible. Yeah. These are just from a couple of days ago. Like I just do this a couple of days. It goes. Cause I wanted them to be new and relevant. The next one. Do you guys sell hot dogs? Let me check. No. Yeah, this is awesome. Shit. This is awesome. Shit. And so one guy it's one guy, he was hot. He was initially hired as a social media intern and now he's taken it over completely.

So it's pretty awesome. And this kind of freedom that you have with customers. Is going to elicit raving loyal fans because there's no bullshit here. There's no, I'm sorry. You don't like our Doritos taco Locos. Maybe you'll like our blah, blah, blah, blah. They is that makes you a nobody else.

Awesome. And it's taco bell, it works with their brand, do have a voice at a tone that works with your brand. That's fun and engaging. This is another really cool, like a whole conversation that my friends and I were in. About taco bell. And they actually were like pacing yourself as overrated.

Overrated. Let's do this because my friends said I'm going to eat Doritos all weekend long. Like people, this is the kind of conversation you want people having about your app and your service and your company having it in a fun way. Last one, Corey who's in the room. Mrs. No tweet leaves, no talk related tweet unturned.

I love it. Their responses. Or trying to believe that like they're just into it, this kind of stuff is really inspiring for anybody who wants like a free, easy resource to engaging with your customers. Do you guys think that you should reply to every single person on Twitter? do you think that you should reply to every single person who like mentions you on Twitter?


Tell me your answer.

Why would they use my name? If they want me to know.

that's a little bit different. if someone is actually writing to you specifically at D absolutely. You should respond to everybody, you should respond to everybody and just be fun and friendly. Because what we learned from looking at the taco bell is language is important, but so is having fun and not being super buttoned up corporate about your app and your company and being professional.

I hate professionalism so much. okay. So that's that? That's the Twitter stuff. Does anyone have any questions about that kind of stuff? Yes. I use my personal account, but people use it as a customer support channel. That happens to me too.

personally I myself in this position. So I just have to give up on that. And if you have a personal account, I do need somebody to monitor it. Yeah. I think you should use whichever one has had has a sort of built up audience of fans using it. And if you want to have a private account, create a personal private account without sight, that's never going to happen again.

But if you or your brand, or if you were known for your brand, like I'm known for my brand, whatever, and people I think already know that I don't get at replies. So a lot of people will reply to my company account, which we never used because. I'm the brand. So if you want to separate the two, I would certainly suggest now if you guys haven't done this already have a private, personal account, you can still use your face as the brand and still use that other account customers.

Anything else about Twitter? Yes. Question as much as you call it. One thing I didn't notice

Very cool. So yeah, he said, if you guys didn't hear him, he's seeing that he leaves the messaging on his mobile. is it like your, the mail app or whatever the signature that just says sent from my iPhone or set well mobile. And it's a really great indication to his customers that he's always available and accessible.

I think that's great. You shouldn't be doing that during dinner though. Yeah. Okay. So we're going to move into the last little segment about real life customer support stuff. Some of you guys saw me talk about this a few times before this year. language that's used in support that I think a lot of us are guilty of or have been guilty of in the past.

So I'm trying to eliminate from the support vernacular, and those are what I call these empty words. So I'm just going to put them up there and we can discuss. Like what they feel like as they come up feedback, hate that word. Worst word ever written ever by anyone content, probably worse inconvenience.

I can't even spell this word right. Most times, which means it's evil to me just to even see it is just terrible that isn't this isn't. We don't, we won't, we can't anyone who's familiar with my former career life have probably heard a lot of these words a lot from that great company. Does anyone know?

I don't like these words. No. Okay. So good. No, one's heard this talk before. Feedback is the sound that I'm microphone makes one, a good Target's too close to it. You don't want to ever tell your customers thank you for your feedback because that's just completely brushing them off and saying, get out of my face.

Content is a way of being very derogatory about somebody's words that they've written to you in earnest. So it's not content, inconvenience. We've all know this whole, like the old adage. If I spill hot coffee, I'm not going to tell you, sorry for the inconvenience. I'm gonna say I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry that happened. I'm so sorry. That's the kind of focus that you want to have with your customers so that they know that you really care about what they're saying to you, whether it's in email or in Twitter or wherever. So the opposite of this then would be full words here. Some of my favorite things to say to customers, I encourage you all to give it a try.

Thank you. I'm sorry. That's a hard one. This sucks. I know it's frustrating. That's a bug. You're right. Great idea. Thanks for the vote. And the last one, I don't know. I have a lot of customers who have a lot of hard time with this. I know 80 told me that after a year of me training his team, he's still having a hard time not saying, unfortunately, which is another one of the words I hate.

It's hard to get out of the habit of saying these words because we're so used to hearing them. So we get really used to saying them. And one of the worst ones is saying, I don't know, and saying, I'm sorry. I've customers who refuse to say, I'm sorry. And I think why not? What's the big deal. What's the big deal.

It doesn't matter. You're saying I'm sorry. Doesn't mean you're taking responsibility for anything. It just means that you're really sorry that someone's pissed off at you and you're going to try to do your best to fix it for them. They would disagree with that. No, I don't feel like you guys don't want to say that you disagree, but I would say try to get these into your vernacular.

And one really easy way to do that is if you're going to use shortcuts, keyword, shortcuts autocompletes, or something like text expander, start putting these into your scripts and don't take them out. Even if they don't sound like you. Even if they sound uncomfortable, trust me, this is what your customers want to hear.

They don't want to hear the professional crappy feedback, content speak. So that's it for that side of things. Are just summary on this support. Isn't as important as code and design, you should invest in it as much as you do anything else and development of your app. And when I say invest, money, time and hiring the right people to do it and not just finding someone to do it because you don't want to do it.

And they're not really even qualified to do it. That's not going to help you keep it friendly, keep it fast, educational and fun. Be like taco bell. I can't believe I'm even saying that I don't even eat taco bell. And I think their Twitter is just so incredible and amazing. Secondly go make money. That's what we're all here to do.

That's what I've been trying to do this year and it's been working great. And I think that you guys are, if you think about like the customers, the people who are going to actually be handing you money to do these things, you remember that we need to be great and kind and awesome to them as well as educational and offer them accessibility and all that stuff.

So that's the end of that part. Any other questions? Yes. Yes. Wait yes.

My support team is really friendly and I have to, a lot of times going and tell them to cut it out. You have to fire some customers that just overrun. So maybe you could speak to that for just a moment.

So do you, yeah. So his question, you heard his question. Do you have problems with people just asking, taking up too much time of your support people? Yeah. So when I worked for this really great company that I used to work for, and I was the only person doing support, I was answering maybe 200 emails a day on average, and every single day from March of 2009 until probably April of 2010, I got one or two emails from the same guy over and over and over.

And it was really weird because every time he wrote me an email, it would be like, please advise, I never, we never talked before. Like we're not friends, come on rich. I know you What I ended up doing was seeing like, what the fuck is this guy? Does he have no, does he do nothing else than write me support emails?

And it was account. And I found out that he was paying the most money. He could pay us for four apps every single month. And he'd been doing that consistently for a year. So to answer your question, I ended up comping all of his accounts because I think that's amazing loyalty. And when you look at it that way, it's far less annoying.

That's the one thing I would do, but if there's customers are not making you money and they're really just being a time suck, you just need to tell them you're being a time suck and you can do that kindly what I found that you're being a time suck. This is the thing. if you were to educational setting, I'm going to be honest with you and be like, dude, you know what?

I got to go. Write me an email with all your questions and I'll answer them when I can. But this one and back and forth and back and forth thing is not working for either of us. So some things that we advise people to do when they have these times, lucky customers is to tell them, save all your questions for one big email and send it to me at the end of the week, that works for a lot of people.

They end up getting emails that have 10 or 12 questions in them on a Friday, but it happens saying to the customer, it sounds like you have a lot of questions about this. do you want to have a quick phone call and we can go over some of these things and trust me as much as I hate phone support, a quick phone call with someone alleviates a lot of the stress and anxiety they have about using your app.

So when you see people coming back and forth, what does it do this, how does it do this? Does it do this? That's also an anxious person that just needs to be reassured that everything's be cool with you guys. So if none of those things apply, just stop replying to them. No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

Don't ever do that. Don't ever do that, please. Okay.

I get, I comp their account for free for life. No, their whole, all of their accounts, they were paying us. Yeah. So really different from the philosophy of the cool company that I worked for. but I think it was really wonderful for the customer and they ended up just loving it and that's what counts.

That's what matters. Yes. So I have a question about outsourcing support, single founder, every hour I spend in the sport is an hour. I'm not working on a bug and it's not fixing

Rob Walling: [00:29:00] features

Sarah Hatter: [00:29:00] or anything. how, what suggestions do you have on outsourcing support? Good sources, techniques, trip, tips, training.

So how do you know about how many support emails you get per day? I try to shove everybody over to my support forum instead. So I've been doing that. if they give me an email, I'm like, Hey, I'm a single guy here. I go to the support forum there's stuff over there to, cause most of the questions probably vastly.

Majority of the 90% or more are all questions that are either answered in my FAQ or are there things that they can search on in the

Rob Walling: [00:29:29] forum?

Sarah Hatter: [00:29:30] So I tell them that generally, and they can't find that. So we need to get a little bit better about being service clearly. okay. So let's say you get less than 25 emails a day on support.

It's that's an opportune time for you to raise up a great support person who can be with you for a number of years. But who's starting out in this support role with you at the beginning of things, we do outsource support, very minimally. We like to do it for people that have one to two people on their teams.

So it's mostly people like this in the room. and there are people like you who just, they need to spend time on dev. They can't be doing support for them. So there's resources out there. One of the other really great resources out there that I hesitate to tell you guys, because it'll put me out of business is find really loyal customers that like you and that are really excited about you and give them superstar status in your forums to answer your customer questions on your behalf.

It works, especially on stuff like on guest satisfaction. You can take someone who comments on a lot of stuff or who points people to there's an answer over here. You can actually make them a representative of your company. On a forum like that. And if you really trust him, pay him, 15 bucks an hour to answer the 25 emails in two hours or something like that.

yeah. Okay. Other questions, we're going to move into the lightning round real quick here. Do you have a lot of the last question? Okay.

so the product that I sell is very technical and very complex, very kind of computer science-y like, good point. Yeah. Everyone is reinventing the Guggenheim machine or whatever it's called the Google machine. So the problem, my question is, and it's pretty good and it works pretty well most of the time, but when I do get, get bug reports, they're really deep and really hard.

And it's yeah, I can. I can look at this and it's going to take me like the next six months to solve this problem. what's the best way. Or would you speak to, basically saying you're right? You have a point, you found a bug. I'm sorry. I'm not going to get it fixed tomorrow or maybe

Rob Walling: [00:31:27] ever

Sarah Hatter: [00:31:28] that's it.

That's it. You did it. Yeah. So great. I'm out of a job. Thanks a lot. So I do that with people all the time. And especially when you know, a, this is a deep seated bug. That is where we're putting a lot of resources and figuring out how to fix it. And it's not a tomorrow fix or when it's a feature request that we know is not coming for years and years be honest because the problem is, if you tell a person anything else he's going to write you in a week, did you get that bug fixed is an update coming and you don't ever want to string people along again.

Honesty, as Jason said, endears people to you. They want to be loyal to people who are honest to them. Yeah, be honest. And if it's something that a lot of people are reporting, you need to put it in a public place, like on a forum or in your Twitter or whatever we know about this bug known issue. We're working on it, hard heart issue.

That's it. Okay. We're gonna do that. Quick lightning round of my business advice. Can you hold it? And just to the end, anyone else has got their hand up. I do want to hear your questions, but I want to run through these slides really quick. so I started this business a year ago and I was at a very lucky place because I had amazing advisors.

My last, my former boss, I had knew a lot of people in the industry and I got really great advice from them and it wouldn't do me any good to not share it with you. Some of the stuff is my own and some of it is not, and I'm not giving attribution to anyone. So you can give me credit for all the really good stuff.

so this is the first thing never, ever lean deep into business advice given to you by someone who doesn't have a fulfilling and healthy, personal life. I know we joke about the kid pictures, but the kid pictures are important because it shows that these people up here have lives outside of coding all day long.

It shows that they have families to invest in and hobbies and other things that they're doing besides just sitting in their cave until three in the morning. if I'm ever going to ask someone advice about anything, I want to know that they have great relationships. They have hobbies, they're doing stuff outside of coding.

On top of that, you want to surround yourself with people who don't give a shit about what you're building, but love who you are and not the opposite. We love conferences like this because it gives us a sense of camaraderie with everyone. But these are not the people that we need to surround ourselves with.

These are not the people that we need to be talking with or texting with all day long. We need to find people who give our egos a little bit of a slam because it helps us remember there's humility in what I do. I'm not this great God building the next, whatever I called it. Guggenheim machine.

So anyway, the next one is really important. I will take credit for this. It's okay to give away your ideas. you shouldn't keep your ideas. You should just talk about your ideas because we don't live in an age anymore where people are here to steal your ideas. you're going to make money by executing the most elegant and harmless and interesting version of any idea, not by being the only person to try it.

So it doesn't matter if there's competitors. It doesn't matter if there's other people in the app store doing the same thing. It matters whether you're doing it better and you're doing it more efficiently. And you're a little bit kinder about it. The next one version of that I heard that's really good is, people can steal your idea, but they can steal your backup.

Absolutely same sentiment. Absolutely. the next one go to therapy. If you need to tell them, you start your company, they'll know what to do next. Trust me. Therapists are really great at this kind of stuff, because there gets you to talk about stuff you never get to talk about, but always think about you're paying the money so they can't walk away from you.

And they have experienced in people transitioning from careers to career, especially people who are over 30. That's one of the, one of the biggest reasons that people go to therapy is because they're transitioning from career to career. So they're trained in how to do this stuff. They're training how you walk you through it.

It's very important. next thing don't be a Dick. Swagger is not something you need to be successful whatsoever. In fact, it will repel people from you and you want to be bringing people towards you and bringing people in to help you more and to be around you and to like you. the next thing, this is a piece of advice I got from a friend of mine.

Gary Vaynerchuk, totally name dropped right there. If you want a mentor, find someone who's amazing and asked to buy them dinner and take them out and do this until they offer to do the same for you. When they start offering next time, it shows that there is engaged in your development as you are engaged in learning from them.

And that's a solid relationship that you can have with someone. I know that there's a lot of controversy about the whole like sending entrepreneurs and famous people emails. And let me buy you drinks. Let me buy you dinner. Trust me. it's worth putting yourself out there cause someone's gonna bite on it.

the next thing remember that unkind people are maniacally unkind to themselves first and foremost. This includes your competitors who are going to be saying crappy things about you. This includes bad app store reviews. Just includes customers who are mean, this includes anybody. Who's going to tear you down on tech crunch or hacker news or whatever.

Remember that they're there. It makes their unkindness towards others, more sad than annoying. I keep that in perspective and also keep it perspective that you don't ever want to react in kind to anyone who's saying negative or poorly worded things to you. next thing asks for advice from everyone, including your customers, ask for like people to write you feature requests.

If you know that there's stuff that you want to add to your app, ask people what they think about it. Ask for advice from every single person that you meet, because you're going to get a lot of it. And that's going to be how you grow as a business leader, as an entrepreneur, as a CEO or whatever on top of that, find a spiritual center that's bigger than you and spend time thinking about it.

And I don't mean religion at all. I don't mean yeah, I don't mean a religion, anything that's bigger than you that you can dwell on and spend time thinking about and know that there's something that grounds you out there. And again, this gets back to having a healthy, personal life and a healthy life outside of your work.

Next one. I'm totally calling out Dan on this because he talks about it yesterday and I think he was wrong. Be good to your body, donate your desk, get enough sleep. We are so grow party about powering through these work times. we brag about not eating and not getting sleep. And I think that's a detriment to your mind.

I think it's a detriment to the work that you do. I think when you're well rested, you make better decisions. And when you eat, your brain is fueled and those things should never be compromised just because you have the will to win. You can have both at the same time. Okay. So that's it. That's my advice.

That's all I have at taco bell. Don't forget that. and there was a couple other questions you guys want to ask them real quick. think about that. When you say

Rob Walling: [00:37:42] surround yourself with people, do you mean at home or work or both?

Sarah Hatter: [00:37:47] both, whatever works for you, whatever you think is most productive for you.

Mostly for me, it's at home. Like none of my friends have any idea what I do all day long. I have tried to explain it to him and they don't get it. I think most of them think I'm unemployed. I think I know my ups guy thinks I'm unemployed because I see him more than pretty much anyone else. But I think I don't know what they think I do when I'm gone all the time.

Maybe I'm just on vacations three days a week, but yeah. So whatever works for you, I'm not sure if you answered this already, but, do you ever fire customers? Yeah. And, what point do you decide? Like I'm going to find that customer whenever they're a Dick to me. Yeah. And the second that it's gone over that line of, I'm trying to be as helpful as I can and they're just not being responsive.

And sometimes, like I said, in that slide, people that are unkind for a reason, and sometimes I need to vent. And usually that ends up being like, On the lowest denominator there, and that's always a support person. So there's a difference between needing to vent and me being telling a person.

I know you're frustrated. I'm so sorry about this. And then coming back and coming back, it just being vicious. I don't need to deal with that anymore. That takes away from my time developing a great app for that person. And for the other people who are really excited to you

Rob Walling: [00:38:57] As a reminder, this talk is in our YouTube playlist called Building Your First SaaS, the ultimate crash course, if you haven't checked that out head over to youtube.com/MicroConf and be sure to subscribe to our channel while you're over there. We are pushing out. New videos almost every week at this point. And it's a valuable resource that as a founder and aspiring founder should be able to get some value out of. So I hope you're enjoying this podcast.

If you are. We'd love to hear from you on Twitter @MicroConf @RobWalling. Talk to you next week.


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