Alex Bard On Startup Success Through Customer Relations
If you asked Alex Bard how to survive in the pioneering world (wide web) of startups, he would tell you to practice one very important tactic:
“Don’t worry about your competitors. Worry about your customers”
Alex’s belief in the power of customer service and support has guided him throughout his very successful Web venture career. This is his journey as a customer-obsessed investor in the startup sphere.
Founder, Investor, Advisor
Who is Alex Bard? He’s a passionate entrepreneur that has made a career out of creating a brand and products, selling it to a larger company, working through the integration and watching the original brand completely disappear. All of this, with the customer in mind.
He has been part of the founding team of 4 Internet startups including:
- eShare Technologies (Customer Service Software, 1996-1999)
- eAssist Global Solutions (Customer Service Software, 1999-2004)
- Goowy Media (Widget Analytics Platform, 2004-2008)
- Assistly (Customer Service Software, 2009 – 2012)
Alex has also invested/advised in several startups including:
Alex was CEO of Assitly until it was acquired by Salesforce.com in September 2011, and is currently the VP and GM of desk.com, a Salesforce.com company.
Ok, Alex, not a bad looking resume. So, what advice does he have for those of us hoping to survive in the startup world?
Take Action. Please the Customer.
Alex believes the most important trait you can cultivate as an entrepreneur is the habit of taking action:
“You have to be willing to take the leap and risk time, money, and your mental health to move ahead. Every time you have an idea and take action, you have the potential to change the world for the better.”
And, what about this strong customer service belief? Alex says startups lose their way when they’re not “properly obsessed with the task of helping the customer solve real problems”:
“Service should be about connecting every person in your company to the customer — a concept we call “whole company support”
Customer service, according to Alex, should be a key part of your corporate culture, and should be integrated into everything. That’s why he is drawn to progress startups and scrappy small businesses; he believes they really get this concept and are building their corporate culture around it.
Why is this customer-obsessed philosophy so important?
Alex says it has everything to do with the new social/mobile/global consumer putting pressure on support teams of companies of all sizes, to deliver quality customer service. But with the new service tools available to companies, Alex believes quality customer service is within everyone’s reach:
“Now even the smallest companies have access to affordable tools like Assistly (now desk.com) that can be set up with no IT resources and can be accessed from a $200 laptop, tablet or smartphone from anywhere in the world. To me, this is the most exciting business to be in.”
So take it from a man who’s successfully founded, invested and advised on all things customer-related services and products: Take the leap, start your business, and get intimately acquainted with your customer. This, according to Alex, is the recipe for startup success.