This is a question that I am still a bit puzzled by. Because of this: A lot of companies operate with a special V.I.P customer support. The most important customers get their own number to call, to avoid or get ahead of caller queues. They get a fixed contact person, a key account role to handle large accounts. And when I meet companies to talk about customer service, I get this question, how are we going to segment customers and customer service.
I really do not know what is best, or I feel I know what is best, and my gut feeling is saying, set fire to the V.I.P plans, put it on a wooden plank and drop it into a river, wave goodbye as the sun sets in the horizon and never look back. But I do not KNOW if my gut feelings are right. And here is where you come into the picture; I want to know HOW and WHY a V.I.P support can be a good solution. Because, I know that it is important for some customers to feel special. I have even experienced customers that demand special treatment. But I have yet to experience that this special treatment is better than the regular treatment. I believe that the regular customer service shall be so good, that it is impossible to provide something extra.
In my experience this is the demands I have experienced most during my career:
- A direct line with now waiting time connected to your best staff members.
- A fixed contact person with direct line and possibility to email directly to this person.
- A male contact person!?!
- Our own web portal to submit support requests.
- One day delivery.
- 24 hour access to people.
- What? My goal is to never have a queue… that should be good enough for anybody. Why use valuable resources to produce a queue in one end while eliminating it at the other end.
- This person gets sick a lot and can’t reply to you. And since this is the only person that knows what your business is all about, nobody else want to help you if this person is sick. They are afraid of you now, because you have alienated you from the rest of the staff and they don’t know how to deal with your questions.
- Wtf?!? Well, it is because women get pregnant and leave their job. The fun thing is that a man was next in line to handle this account anyway. He got so fed up with this customer that he quit after two months. Hot tip: Lose a shit customer before you lose good employees.
- Because why? Same shit different wrapping.
- When time is essential, I always ask, at the cost of quality or precision?
- Are you willing to pay for it? Well in some cases this might be necessary.
- Well if you buy more than x, you will get y % in discount. The same apply to any other customer. Ok, I understand this one too if this customer might be a good one for your resume. But in principle, any other customer that can generate this kind of revenue should get the same?
As you probably understand, V.I.P support is the same as admitting that the rest of your service is shit. Your company should provide such a good customer service that V.I.P support should be a waste of time and energy.
Is it ok to ask customers what they want to achieve with their demands? And why do salespeople just agree to get a signature? Because sometimes I just feel that all they want is to feel special. So how do we make them feel special when the regular customer service experience is excellent, or at least the best option for them?