It’s almost a given that every company has some form of a customer service department. Even the smallest companies – with just one solo entrepreneur – will act as if they have a customer service department. Why do people reach out to the customer service department? Because they need help, have a question, or want to make a complaint.
So, understanding that, why would a company choose to deliver an amazing customer service experience to just some of their customers and not to every customer? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.) This question comes on the heels of reading the customer service policies of some companies. Unless you’re willing to pay for better support, all you’ll receive is minimal and mediocre support.
There are some companies that will only give you email support – unless you pay more and upgrade your customer service experience to phone support. Or, there’s the company that wants more money to speak to a U.S. based customer support rep. Then, there are the companies that make their customers pay for each and every support call. I recently read about a cable company that charged a customer to resolve an issue with a monthly bill that had an error on it.
The offer to get better support usually has promises like less wait time, extended hours and, as mentioned earlier, a support rep that is based in the U.S. (or from whatever country you’re calling from). Why should that be an option or an add-on feature? This should be automatic.
Customer service can make, or break, your reputation. Being known for your service earns you a reputation in the marketplace that can give you a competitive edge. Charging for these services can erode that positive experience. And you really don’t have to charge more, because customers are willing to pay more for good service. The stats and facts prove that a large majority of customers – as high as 90 % – would be willing to pay more if the company provided better service. So, rather than charge for each time a customer calls, build it into the price of your product.
Finally, you want and need feedback. Charging extra for customer service may cause a customer to be unlikely or unwilling to call you with a problem. Even if they resolve the problem on their own, there is likely a level of stress and frustration the customer will experience in doing so, which may cause them to buy elsewhere in the future. And if they don’t call you, you won’t hear about the complaint or get feedback that you need to fix problems and create a better experience for future customers.
Customer support should not be a feature your customer must pay more for. It should be baked into the price of a product, and be part of the total positive experience the customer has with you and your company.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVII, Shep Hyken)