CEOs are not typically thought of as customer support professionals. There are people further down the organizational chart whose sole business is customer relations. The top company officer has more important things to do, right? Wrong. Nothing is more important than providing customer support, and for a CEO, providing direct support offers insights that can't be gained anywhere else.
As the CEO of a customer-support software company with more than 18,000 customers, I have many jobs. But first and foremost, I'm a support guy.
One of the things that keeps me grounded is working with my helpdesk team to respond to customers' queries, which come in by the hundreds every day via email, Facebook, Twitter, chat, and phone calls. We help brands deliver excellent support, so it's important that we get it right ourselves, but staying in touch with customers is important no matter what business you're in. Following are three reasons you should be providing direct support to your customers.
1. Providing customer support helps you build a better product/service road map.
No matter what kind of widget you sell or service you deliver, you earn and retain your customers' business by providing great support. If your company is relatively new, there's no better way to find out what customers are thinking and learn about features they'd like to have than talking to them directly.
When you interact with customers in a support role, they'll tell you about the challenges they face and what a solution to their primary pain points would look like—insights that are incredibly valuable from a development standpoint. You'll also learn what frustrates them about your current product or service and gain knowledge about ways your company could do better, which is vitally important from a product improvement perspective.
With the knowledge you gain from customer interactions, you'll be in a better position to map out future product and service development for the long term and create a strategy to address bugs and service gaps in the short term. As CEO, it's your job to continuously improve your customers' experience with your company, and direct customer interaction gives you the information you need to excel in that part of your role.
2. CEO participation elevates the role of support within your organization.
CEOs tend to get caught up in managing the company's strategic direction and daily operations, focusing on their many responsibilities, which include raising capital, monitoring performance, managing talent, and overseeing product and service