We have all experienced the vague automatic response after submitting a question to a support team found in a website’s convoluted “Contact Us” section. Rarely does it solve the problem and the interaction leaves a slightly bitter taste in the customer’s mouth.
Sarah Hatter, founder of Chicago-based CoSupport, saw throughout her decade working in the IT industry the need for human answers to human questions.
CoSupport's concept was simple: educate customer support teams how to develop a sustainable and marketable manner of answering inquiries from their users. The goal wasn’t to provide outsourced support but to help companies learn how to be helpful and human.
Sarah Hatter heads up CoSupport's team of seven, whose members have wide-ranging and diverse backgrounds. CoSupport provides a long-term solution by training tech support teams in what verbiage to use, ways to interact with customers and how to provide the best experience possible for its users.
Though the focus is within the tech industry, it also works nationally with airlines, banks, tech companies, community management groups and PR firms. But the amazing part is that within two hours of launching the site, she made all the money back that she had put into starting CoSupport. Hatter’s story might not mirror what most entrepreneurs experience, but the lessons learned can be applied every venture.
Lesson One: Price your services realistically. At the start, Hatter said she should have put a higher price on her services. When starting a new business, make sure to cost what you offer appropriately and don’t literally sell yourself short.
Lesson Two: Trust your gut instincts. Most of the issues Hatter came across stemmed from the times she made a decision that was going against her instincts. If you are willing to start a new venture then learn to trust your inclinations and go with your gut.
Lesson Three: Find your niche in the industry and attack it. Hatter saw after years in the IT world that there were common questions and issues that arose within customer support teams. After thoughtful planning, she stepped out to start a company that addressed what she saw. The niche was in the need she perceived.
Lesson Four: Choose your business partners wisely. If someone does not have a successful personal life, then be cautious in working with them. Your work should be a result of your passion and personal investment; don’t cloud it by working with people you cannot trust or don’t want to know outside of the conference room.
Starting something new may not be easy but as Hatter can attest it is well worth the risk. To learn more you can follow Sarah (@sh) or hear her speak next at the upcoming UserConf on May 3 -- if you happen to be in New York.
Annika Celum is a media strategist and freelance writer based out of Chicago. She has volunteered to manage social media for various non-profits throughout the city for the past year and has always been passionate about working with charity organizations, both near and far. Though idyllic, she has aspirations to eradicate injustices with wit and determination. When not typing up a storm, you can find her commuting on her bike throughout the city or running to train for a race to benefit a non-profit.