Does your company offer a higher level of service to customers who are willing to pay? Can you consistently deliver on the promise? Does the customer actually receive a higher level of service? On a recent business trip I had two experiences that left me asking this question.
- Lately, I’ve rented a lot of cars from Hertz. Paying for the #1 Club Gold is supposed to afford me a higher level of speed and expedited service. At least, that’s what they market. Recently, I walked to the Gold Members "express" line in the Atlanta airport to speak to the Hertz associate with a question. The problem was, they had one associate serving the Gold Club line and about five associates serving the regular line. The customer ahead of me had a major issue and the Gold Club associate got tangled up helping her. I stood in the "express" line and watched as people who got into the regular line after me were served as I stood there still waiting for the "premium" service for which I paid. I was stuck in that classic dilemma. Do I go to the regular line (because Murphy’s Law would stipulate that as soon as I did the express line would open up) or stick it out? This wasn’t the first time this has happened to me in the Hertz line.
- Being a frequent business traveler, I also pay a premium to use United Airlines Red Carpet Clubs. This lounge provides a bit more comfort, leg room and few more outlets (though not many) than the general concourse so I can get some work done during layovers. One of the perks that United markets in enticing you to pay for the Red Carpet Club is that you’ll receive a higher level of personalized attention from a live Customer Service Representative inside the club. On a recent trip our flight was canceled and everyone was asked to queue up at the gate to receive new flight/seat assignments. Rather than stand in the back of the line with some 70 other passengers, I walked down the concourse to the Red Carpet Club to get my personalized service. There was one Customer Service Representative in the club who was both checking people in and helping passengers with their travel needs. There were two people ahead of me and one of them had a major issue. After a loooooooong time waiting, I finally walked away and returned to the gate, where only two passengers were left in the queue. So much for the higher level of service for which I paid.
When you offer customers the option to pay more for "premium" service, can you really deliver on the promise?