Lots of companies out there offer some sort of premium or priority support to their customers. Basically, the customer pays more to get live chat / phone support, moved to the head of the email queue, or some other support related perk.
A 2013 CEI survey shows that 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. That’s not directly tied to a premium support offering but better support does go hand-in-hand with a better customer experience. Of that 86%, only 1% of customers feel that companies consistently meet their expectations. Ouch.
Personally, I’m pretty torn on premium support. Customers want it and are willing to pay for it. The good capitalist in me says take their money. On the flip side, I feel like every customer should get awesome support no matter the pricing plan they pick.
Since I’m split, I decided to offer up the question to our community via the weekly newsletter. Here’s the best responses so far.
From Jason Sooter:
I think “premium support” makes sense for customers wanting to use a service/product in a premium way. Often it just isn’t necessary so it wouldn’t be a value add at that point. It can be used as a worthwhile value add for increased pricing that makes sense. Not once have I wanted to call, live chat, or email Google about their Gmail or docs apps.
On the flip side, being a business owner(we manufacture and sell picture frames) I expect a sales rep/account manager for all of my major vendors (FedEx, Both our paint and wood suppliers, and packaging supplier). We spend $100k+ per year with each of them. If I have a question or problem, I expect someone who knows both me and my business to respond and act.
From Angela Jackson:
I hate it. Why should I have to pay more to get help when something goes wrong? Every plan should come with solid support.
From Marcie Murray:
I see the good in that it offers some customers what they are asking for and could potentially leave your platform because they’ve outgrown your service if that wasn’t an option. On the other hand, how do prioritize all the premiums? If you have 50 customers who all call in at once all paying the same price, one is going to wait longer than the other and they probably won’t love having to wait at all.
From Jessica Smith:
Premium support for the win! It’s a peace of mind purchase for me. Kinda like buying insurance. I hope to not need it but when I do, I want to talk to a live person as fast as I can.
What’s your take? Are you a premium support fan or not?
Carolin Geissler says
I kind of agree with Jason. Your product is going to be used by different people to a different extend. Some really may not need premium support, because it’s absolutely sufficient to receive an email within 24 hours for them. Others may absolutely need it because your product is an invaluable part of their daily business. It allows you to offer a lower pricing plan for those that don’t need it. Also, you could throw premium support in for free when a customer spends a certain amount of money in your business.
I see the problem Marcie brings up, but I think very rarely will that be the case. I suppose it depends on your customer base and how many support reps you have.
Chase Clemons says
Good point on the customer base and number of support reps! Smaller teams with heavy case loads might have that happen. But that’s when you want to hire on some more reps to help with the all those cases. Find the right balance in there and the person who’s paying for that premium support won’t have to wait.