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Customer Service SpeakerCustomer Experience

How customer-friendly are your prices and fees? What I mean is, do you add fees, surcharges, assessments or other costs to your customers’ bills that either surprise them or make them feel like they are being taken advantage of? I remember calling several tire dealers to get a quote for new tires for my car. Making the mistake of going with the low bidder, I was unpleasantly surprised when I went to pay and found out about the “extras” they added to the base price of the tires. I called another dealer that I had chosen not to do business with (because they had a higher price), only to learn that their quote was “all in” and included everything. It felt like the first dealer had taken advantage of me. Our friendly skies are dominated by the airlines’ less-than-friendly fees. Most passengers are budget conscious and price shop the airlines to save money, however they show up to check in and are charged $25 for their first piece of checked luggage and another $25 if they want one of the aisle seats left on the plane. Not long ago I took an informal poll of some of passengers waiting for their flight and asked how they felt. Most begrudgingly accept the fees. Unless they have “status” on the airline, they feel nickel-and-dimed and, in some cases, cheated. One family of three had to pay an extra $50 so they could all sit together. Apparently, the only, the only way to get three seats together was pay a premium for one of the “preferred” seats. Well, the hotel industry is apparently feeling left out of the concept of charging fees for extras. It’s becoming more common to see small fees for what the hotel deems as an “extra” service. For example, some hotels charge to print out a boarding pass. Another hotel charges to receive a package for a guest. Another hotel charges to check bags at the bell stand.

It’s really all about convenience. For example:

Some hotels charge a daily resort fee that includes amenities such as the use of the gym (with towels, by the way), a newspaper, free Internet, and more. Why don’t they just charge a little more for the room? Oh, I know. They want to compete on what appears to be a lower price. Now, not all hotels charge like this. Nor does every business. In a day and age where our customers are looking for the best value, which doesn’t always mean the lowest price, why would you risk alienating a customer by charging them small fees for things they know they can get elsewhere at no charge? At some point, the customer has a choice. Suppose all things are equal, such as quality, location, etc.. Will the customer choose to do business with the place that seemingly adds on every chance they can, or somewhere else that includes everything for customer friendly prices? I know where I’d go. Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)

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