Five W’s of Premium Support

I’ve talked about premium support before. It is a subject that interests me. Today’s post is about the five W’s of premium support. The last post on the subject was more “why” and this post is more “how.”

  • Who you should have manning the phones and emails.
    Ideally, you should have more experienced representatives manning the phones and emails of your premium support. They shouldn’t have better training necessarily, but should at least have 20-30% more experience. Relevant experience is key.
  • What should premium support cover.
    Exactly what premium support covers depends on the company and the product/service. In computer support, it might cover specific help with popular programs (i. e. Word or Excel) or more advanced hardware support. My general rule of thumb is to include the lower end of what you charge extra for. (So, if you usually charge $10/hour for Microsoft Word support – offer it with premium support for free.)
  • Why you should have premium support.
    Ideally, it would be because your customers have expressed interest in such a program. That probably isn’t the full story, though. Other reasons might be: some customers have more advanced requirements when it comes to support; some customers need faster responses; and others are willing to pay more for a combination of things.
  • Where the people should be based and how help should be available.
    Where the people should be based is often controversial. I’d say the answer is “where the customers are.” If your customers are in the United States, they should be connected to representatives in the US. If they are in Australia, the representatives should be in Australia.
  • When you should make it happen.
    Do your research, set up the procedures, hire the people, train the people, and so on. Ensure you have everything ready before flipping the switch. If possible, run the premium support offerings by a few groups of customers and see what the feedback is before launching.
  • When people should be available.
    Premium support people should have extended hours, preferably 24/7. They should also have faster and guaranteed response times than regular support.
  • How to make it happen.
    Get started now! Talk to your customers, start planning, begin interviewing people, ask for feedback, and you’ll soon learn where you need to go next.

These are just some things to consider. Obviously, starting a premium support program is a big thing to consider and you should work carefully.

One Response to “Five W’s of Premium Support”

  1. Service Untitled » Pay for Response Times? - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Feb 15, 08 at 12:58 am

    […] I’ve discussed this notion of premium support before as well as its various relatives (the idea of charging for certain types of support). It is a popular think among companies today – especially because the cost of the products and services are going down while other costs go up. […]