Customer service – often the only differentiator between you and your competitors – may be about to take on a whole new concept: premium packages!
It has come to my attention that a well-known high street brand has adopted an “interesting” approach to its customer service centre. On calling their customer service helpline, you are now apparently faced with an option to “Press 1 for even faster customer service at 50p per minute, or hold for free”
Those so-called “Premium packages”
Now, I remember when Sky TV introduced Pay Per View. I went bananas. I remember flying off the handle shouting about the fact that I already paid a whack (officially referred to as a premium, I believe) for Sky Sports, so why should I be expected to pay even more to watch the really good stuff? That said, it’s stuck, so it must have worked well for them!
I also remember hearing about when Alton Towers introduced some kind of “Fast Track” premium ticket that allowed you to skip most of the queue – again, I thought that was a damn cheek, given the price of tickets anyway. Apparently it’s still in force, so again, one in the bag for the large corporates!
What a cheek!
Regardless the above examples, is it right that we should face being charged a premium to receive customer service, regardless the speed? I’m an advocate for good customer service (anyone who reads my blogs will know this) and whilst I wouldn’t consider myself to be widely travelled, I have visited a few other countries. Unfortunately, based on my experiences, this country is largely lacking in terms of customer service in comparison to others I have been to. We have a lot to learn from our colleagues overseas.
Shouldn’t these companies be placing more people in their call centres to handle queries, rather than charging us, its customers, for what ought to come as standard? I mean, how would you feel if we at Data Bubble decided to start charging you for advice, be that pre-purchase or post? (Just so you know, we will NEVER charge for our customer service)
I fear that this could catch on, as people weigh up the cost of time lost hanging on the phone against the cost of the premium. Personally, the only time I don’t mind paying a premium is through choice, such as for something superior – be that a product or service (not customer service), maybe an upgrade (i.e. plane seats etc). However, I do object when I am expected to pay a premium to receive what I feel I ought to receive as standard anyway. The thing is, if their service was up to scratch in the first place, we wouldn’t be tempted to pay a premium just to get a service that we consider acceptable.