Warning - this post is actually a bit of rant... and a public service announcement... the alternate title might be "how to lose a customer in ten easy lessons."
1. Sell the Software as a Download Only product. It saves you costs in manufacturing, packaging, shipping... and heck, your Customer didn't really want a box with a CD and instructions right? Cause we all know that all software these days is simply "install and play" right?
2. Offer a Back Up Disc at an additional fee. Because customers LOVE to pay extra money for the privilege of getting another copy of something they already paid for. And it's not like your program isn't ridiculously overpriced to begin with. So why not upsell?
3. Make Sure to Send a Disc that is Corrupt and doesn't work. Because when your Customer actually needs it, that corrupt disc will cause them to call you - at which point you'll have an opportunity to sell them another one!
4. Don't Offer a Manual, Tutorials, or any information on how your product works. Printing manuals is expensive. And who needs it? Hey, your customer can get all that on the Internet! And they don't mind spending hours clicking from one site to another trying to figure it all out...like a scavenger hunt. Or paying extra to purchase an online class. Seriously, it's all good.
5. Make Sure Your Support is Email ONLY. Because customers certainly don't want or need an immediate answer to their problems. The glitch they are experiencing isn't a life or death matter; it can wait! They don't need to talk on the phone or chat online to get things resolved quickly. And those 800# phone calls and staff for a chat center really impact your bottom line. Anyway, customers like sending an email and waiting... really... no reeeeeally - they do!
6. Take Ten Days to Answer Email. Literally. Ten. Days. Each and every time they email you. I mean go ahead and post on your website that average response time is three days [subject to lengthier turn around in periods of high volume.] But never ever ever respond sooner than TEN DAYS. Because Customers love to wait when they have a pressing problem. See #5 if you don't believe me!
7. Allow only 30 Days from Purchase for Download. If the customer hasn't downloaded in 30 days, surely they didn't really want the product anyway. And there would never be a reason to need to re-download the software after the 30 day window.
8. Bury your Contact Information so deep within your website that Customers will never find it. It saves you a lot of harassing phone calls. Besides, customers don't really want to talk to you anyway. See #5.
9. Staff Your Call Center with Rude, Insensitive People. Just in case one of those pesky customers actually gets through, you don't want somebody sweet and polite on the phone. That would just encourage the customer to call again. And you certainly don't want that.
10. Stick to Your 30 Day Download Policy. Regardless of the customer's sob story. Computer virus? Crashed hard drive? Toddler spilled soda on the machine and fried it? Not your problem - you gave them what they paid for - a single download of your product. Okay, not like you even offered a multiple download option or anything, but really, how many customers could possibly need it anyway? While the Customer is in the depths of despair over the loss of so much information and work, offer to SELL them a back-up disc for an additional fee. Don't back down, even when they tell you the first back-up disc they bought was corrupt and never worked.
This post is brought to you courtesy of Shimelle's Ten Things from the "Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers" class and my current love affair with ACDSee's Customer Service.