Recently I had a discussion with one of our customers around a support agreement.
They came on board with us at the early stages of our business and we included services, that we now always would charge for, at our expense to ensure they were happy customers.
This often happens when you start a business as you go well beyond what is expected or what is normal practice in the market.
In other words we were not charging for the value we delivered.
However this now has become an issue as the customer is expecting premium support at no additional cost.
As our business has matured and we have improved our internal processes, put the right business fundamentals in place and introduced formal support agreements,this customer declined to enter in a formal support agreement but later complaint that they didn’t get the turnaround times on queries that they expected.
From a historic perspective I completely get where they are coming from.
So my challenge now is to set the right expectations.
While I was thinking about how to handle this I remembered a sign I had once seen and had stuck with me because it is simple, clearly sets the right expectations and at the same time implicitly justifies the reasoning.
We pride ourselves on delivering great value to our customers.
So if customers want to work with us option 3 (“Fast service Cheap won’t be Good”) is not an option we are willing to provide as it doesn’t match our core values.
In respect to our support agreements we give our customers several options at different price points with different levels of response times. However our aim is always to deliver great value (quality). This means that if you pay more you get improved response times and if you pay less the guaranteed response time will be slower.
In case you don’t want to pay for support we cannot guarantee any response times.
Customers with support agreements will get priority any time over customers without a support agreement as we don’t want our paying customers to be impacted by non-paying customers.
In our case that means that if you want Good Support Cheap we cannot guarantee the support will be Fast. Obviously if we can deliver support Fast we will, but it should not be an expectation that it will be Fast.
On the flip-side if a customer pays for premium service we will make sure that they will get Quality support Fast with guaranteed response times and we’ll do whatever they need to resolve their issues.
Author: Peter Dijkema, Client Success Manager, Organon Consulting
A 20-year veteran in the business solutions industry with over 15 years of experience in customer relationship management, Peter Dijkema has worked in numerous sales and marketing roles with major and small technology companies in Europe and Australia. After getting disillusioned by the lack of commitment to the customer, lack of transparency and the absence of focus on delivering value Peter Dijkema co-founded Organon Consulting to help small and medium businesses to add more value to their customers, fix the ‘leaky funnel’ and increase revenue and Not-For-Profit organisation improve stakeholder relationships, increase constituent engagement and increase funding. Their main aim is to Keep It Simple for the customer to ensure they get maximum value out of their investments and minimise the time it takes to roll out CRM initiatives.
He also act as an adviser around CRM strategy decisions and sales management for small and medium sized organisations.