What if you had a big blue phone on your desk, and whenever you needed to, you could pick it up and instantly be connected with a smart and caring tech support expert (from your internet provider, your web host, the airline you use the most…)?
What are the chances you'd ever consider switching to a competitor that didn't offer similar service just to save a few bucks?
The current model of big company support is to throw undervalued, undertrained, underpowered human beings at perplexed customers, frustrating and disrespecting them enough that they shrug and give up.
These are the chat rooms staffed by people who merely repeat what's on the website.
The phone trees that bury 'talk to a human' at the very bottom of the options (or hide it altogether).
The reps who are rewarded for a short call and punished for escalating you to someone who can help.
And yes, the email correspondents who send notes from addresses to which you cannot reply.
In industries with drive-by customers, people you'll never see again, customer churn is no big deal. But in businesses where the lifetime value of a customer exceeds $15,000 (I'm thinking cable, phones, travel, banking), it's insane to blow someone off so you can save $17 in customer support isn't it?
How to execute this shift? Start with this: Use the conference call functionality built into every phone to create a team of customer advocates. They can even work from home with a cell phone you provide. Your best customers call an advocate, and then the advocate's job is to start calling internal resources until the problem is solved. Reward advocates not for short calls, but for delighted customers.
Start with six advocates and 600 customers and see what happens. The advocates will get smart, fast, about who to talk with and what to say, they'll start to see what works and what's broken, and they'll work to change the organization into one that keeps score of the right things.
Any customer that walks away, disrespected and defeated, represents tens of thousands of dollars out the door, in addition to the failure of a promise the brand made in the first place. You can't see it but it's happening, daily.
I wonder how these companies would act if every day, someone piled $100,000 in cash in the parking lot and lit it on fire. For many companies, the 'please go away' strategy is more expensive than that.