Really awesome story had to repost. Single customer interaction can change your company…
Several years ago, a single problem customer changed the fate of my company. Here’s the story.
In business, we’re often all about the numbers–occasionally to a fault. I’m not saying statistics and metrics aren’t useful tools. Sometimes, however, the success or failure of an enterprise comes down to individual interaction–say, a handshake or a phone call.
Let me give you a good example.
In 1995, I bootstrapped a tech company, Broadcast Software. We created digital audio and automation software for broadcast radio stations. After four years, we had 16 employees and customers in 40 countries.
But we were at a transition point. If companies need to grow or die, we were in need of a transfusion. We had grown beyond my ability to fund future growth out of my back pocket, and it was time to get outside capital. It also turned out to be time for the tech bubble to burst. Our potential funding sources instantly disappeared.
I was a hands-on CEO. I had written the original code and knew many of our customers personally. I had told my employees that the buck stopped with me, that I’d be willing to speak with any customer they couldn’t help or satisfy. If need be, they should even give out my personal number.