Most startups depend on word-of-mouth marketing to create awareness of their new product, and iOgrapher is no different. But what makes iOgrapher unique is its focus on customer service as a driver of that word of mouth.
"The convergence of marketing and customer service is key for us," says Founder and CEO David Basulto, who describes iOgrapher as "literally a garage startup" (and we can confirm: his interview on Blab was done from his garage!).
iOgrapher sells a proprietary line of cases, lenses, microphones, tripods, and LED lighting to turn almost any iPhone or iPad owner into a traveling video producer. The company's motto is "Life, Camera, Action", and it counts Brian Fanzo, Mari Smith, the Miami Dolphins, the Boston Celtics, Manchester United, the BBC, and Harvard University as its fans.
"You have to live and breathe and believe your vision, your company, 24/7," Basulto says about being an entrepreneur. He has a background as an executive producer at Lifetime Television and more recently as a teacher, but today he spends much of his time personally responding to customers on social media. His goal on Twitter is to answer questions "within a few minutes" - "unless I'm sleeping".
"You need to be within 30 minutes of answering someone, or you're a dinosaur," he says.
Customer service is what caused Fanzo (a Shorty Awards nominee for Periscoper of the Year) to talk about iOgrapher during a Scope at the Periscope Summit, and what caused fellow live-streamer Chris Strub to tweet about it using the Focus on Customer Service hashtag (#FOCS). A week later, iOgrapher's founder and CEO is a guest on the Focus on Customer Service podcast - talk about word of mouth!
Basulto's newest fixation? Snapchat. For customer service. "I love the personal-ness of it," he says, telling the story of how he easily rectified a new customer's problem via the video platform because he could see that the man had plugged in his cables backwards. The result: A happy customer who tweeted "Wow, I just talked to the CEO and he told me how to fix it".
iOgrapher has also used social media listening to determine what kind of content to create, including tutorials on Snapchat and Instagram. "I'm providing an entire online film school," says Basulto, adding that he tracks questions he gets on Facebook, and if he gets enough of the same one, he'll create a video tutorial on YouTube and point people there. He has also used social media feedback for product development - including an upcoming line of Android cases.
With its active presence on multiple social media channels, and Basulto's willingness to engage with customers wherever they are, iOgrapher has created a community of influencers who "feel like part of the family" because the company continually engages with them with both text and video.
Startups and existing businesses alike can learn a lot from Basulto's approach to social media engagement and customer service, which he shares in Episode 24 of the Focus on Customer Service podcast. Here are some of the key moments in the podcast and where to find them:
1:43 David's background and how he developed the first product that became iOgrapher
4:35 How David ended up at "the right place at the right time" with the advent of livestreaming
6:06 How iOgrapher uses multiple channels - including video - for customer service
9:34 How David plans to scale social care to handle larger volumes
11:05 Using Snapchat for customer service
12:57 David's strategy of using influencers for engagement for both marketing and service
16:32 How other brands might use video or livestreaming for customer service
18:53 (Audience question) The challenges of tracking customer interactions on Snapchat
20:56 The role of iOgrapher's Facebook community in content creation and product development
22:38 What's next for iOgrapher and why it's the "year of customer service"
26:22 David's advice to other entrepreneurs on how customer service plays a role in making a startup succeed