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The Great Premium Support Hoax

4 min read
Aug 19, 2015
The Great Paid Support Hoax

We often get asked through our chat if we charge anything for weekend support. It’s always really strange, because it’s business as usual for us.

Our team is prepared to handle enquiries 24/7/365 for every customer.

We get asked this often because customers are used to having to pay extra for this kind of premium support. Companies try to save a bit on their customer service operations by limiting their weekend support to most-valuable customers, which, in their eyes, are those paying the most.

To show you how silly this is, let me tell you a story of a gun that never fired because someone didn’t want to pay extra for the PREMIUM support.

Welcome to the Cornhusker State

Imagine you’re living somewhere in the middle of nowhere – a small town in Nebraska (go Saltdogs!), population well below a 1,000 residents.

Small town in Nebraska

To deal with the overwhelming boredom, you decide to pick up a hobby. There’s a pretty active paintball group in the next town, only a 5-mile drive, and you think to yourself “Why the hell not?”

You save up for a while and get your first marker (Paintball lingo for a gun). The day before your first weekend shootout, you test the gun and it jams.

But you are not worried. The shop where you bought it also does service and you plan to get it fixed and still make it to the paintball meet.

But you couldn’t be more wrong.

When you arrive at the the shop and show the gun to the clerk, he gives it a quick look and asks if you bought it with the PREMIUM support package.

“What is a premium package,” you ask. As it turns out, the PREMIUM support includes, among other things, weekend fixing service.

Dismayed, you leave the shop and miss the shootout. Just because you didn’t pay extra.

Can’t pay for premium support? Tough luck!

A pretty similar story happens when companies can’t afford to fork out for the PREMIUM and are left without support over the weekend.

Round the clock support usually comes at a cost. Want to make sure you get help at any time on any day? Pay up!

It’s really surprising how this works out. Small companies that can’t afford to hire a specialist or to pay for extra support end up with unresolved problems.

At the same time, bigger companies that can afford the support, usually have more resources and manpower to handle the problem on their own.

Looking for savings in all the wrong places

Shouldn’t good customer service be available for everyone with no additional charge?

I’m not saying companies should be forced to splurge large sums of money on providing 24/7 support to everyone. If you can afford to provide support only for 8 hours, that’s fine, but don’t limit it to only those customers who pay extra.

If the customer can’t get a problem handled, how they are supposed to stay with your company? When they meet the roadblock that is premium support, they lose business.

What customer see when they notice premium support in your pricing

For example, could you imagine that a hosting company could limit their support hours? What would happen if a server acted up and help was needed?

The same goes for payment gateway companies. They can’t simply tell some of their customers to come back after the weekend to solve a problem while their payments are not coming through.

Just as you would be reluctant to buy another marker from the paintball shop clerk, customers who face this roadblock will be hesitant to invest more money into a service or a product.

Thankfully, we still have hosting companies like Media Temple and payment gateway companies like Recurly that you can count on no matter if you purchase their biggest or smallest plan.

Media Temple offers support 24/7/365
Straight from Media Temple's website – that's the spirit!

Free support wins the customer over

Businesses everywhere, do yourself and your customers a favor and don’t keep support behind a paywall. It’s counterproductive and it will cost you more than you save.

The few extra bucks you get from limiting your support are not worth the disappointment your customers will feel when they need to wait until Monday to fix a pressing problem.

The same kind of disappointment you’d feel when leaving the paintball shop, knowing that you will miss the shootout just because you didn’t get the damned PREMIUM support.

Photos courtesy of Tomaso Galli, Jasperdo and haven't the slightest via Creative Commons.