Startup Growing Pains: What Would You Say to Help a New Company?

by James Lawther

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This isn’t a “how-to” post. If you are looking for information and answers, you can stop reading right now. This is a “How Do I?” post. If you know about providing customer service then I encourage you to read on then tell me what you think. Or even blog about it.

Why I felt prompted to ask these questions

In Nottingham in the United Kingdom there is a small startup taxi company.  It has just started up and it is trying to differentiate itself by providing great customer experience. You can read a little of the history here.

So far their approach is working. When was the last time you were bowled away by the politeness of your cab driver? But it isn’t plain sailing.

The company is having startup growing pains

As the firm gets larger with more and more cars, and more drivers, it becomes increasingly difficult to make sure the experience remains great.

As spans of control widen it becomes difficult for one person to hold it all together.  There are a whole host of questions that the owner needs answering. What happens when:

He knows great service is of critical priority…..

But he needs to know how to deliver it.

Startup Growing Pains

How does the owner get the company to deliver great service when he is at the mercy of his drivers?

When it is raining, what is to stop a driver sitting in his dry car and sounding the horn to get a customer’s attention when he should get out of the car with an umbrella to fetch the passenger?

How does the owner make sure every driver does the right thing every time?

  • Should he incentivise them?
  • Should he hire for attitude?
  • Should he train for service?
  • Should he empower them to do what they think is right?

How do you treat your employees?

How does he know if he is delivering a great service?

It is easy to sit in an office thinking everything is fine, but what should he do to make sure his service quality isn’t floundering?

  • Should he audit performance?
  • Should he put a “spy in the car” and use telematics?
  • Should he use a mystery shopper?
  • Should he simply keep his ear to the ground for complaints?

What do you know?

What should he do when it all goes wrong?

Mistakes happen. Sometimes there are too many customers and not enough cars.  How should he deal with that?

  • Should he simply apologise and say they are fully booked?
  • How about ringing a competitor and sending one of their cars?
  • Should he pay for that competitor’s car, by way of apology?
  • Or simply offer a free trip later in the week?

What do you do when you simply can’t meet the customer’s needs?

Finally, how should he promote a great service?

If nobody knows about it, it does nobody good. People need to eat and the business needs to grow.

  • Should he rely on word of mouth?
  • Does social media speed up that word of mouth?
  • Should he make bold claims?
  • Or simply rely on his customers voices?

How do you best promote a service based business?

More questions than answers

I warned you this wasn’t a how to post, but I hope it made you consider how we can help businesses grow. If this was you, what would you do? Space is unlimited in the comment section!

Many startups could benefit from your answers.

Image Credit: Dell’s Official Flickr Page via Creative Commons

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James Lawther

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