I’ve written about good customer service in the past, highlighting my excellent experience with L.L. Bean. I’ve postulated that quality customer service is actually free, because the incremental sales more than make up for “excessive” talk time and refunds/credits granted by your customer service representatives.
Here’s a trivially-observed example of what lousy customer service will cost you. In this example, from Verizon, it’s a minimum of $100.
Apple’s .mac service changeover to MobileMe was a complete debacle. The system was down for more or less the day before the iPhone 2.0 launch and for that entire day. If you rely on your .mac account for your email, like a lot of independent consultants and graphic design professionals, that downtime cost you real money.
I’ve got a .mac account for backup and file exchange purposes, so the downtime was more of an annoyance to me than anything. I didn’t expect anything from Apple, except an update telling me that everything was stable and an apology.
To my surprise, I got an email apologizing as well as a free month of service. Smart customer service move by Apple which, like L.L. Bean, knows service. The cost of providing that extra month of service is ~$0 and should easily pay for itself in forgone churn.