Pricing anything about services – food, SaaS products, etc. – is a delicate balance between creating margins and what a market will bear. I’ve always referred to it as an art and a science.
In most sectors, competition is high, and companies are always seeking ways to prohibit or dissuade customers from making a jump, while retaining them as valuable purchasers.
One would think, regardless of how a top tier or economy company was positioned, they would want to make their customer experience as seamless and friendly as possible in order to capture those dollars.
Here’s one example where it didn’t work.
A few days ago,I was pricing flights for a long weekend trip to visit friends who had relocated to a new city. As it was going to be relatively quick flight, although not quite commuter, I decided to price out major carriers against the economy no frill carriers.
Using comparison sites such as Kayak, Cheaptickets and Expedia – I was surprised at how prices shown can vary amongst them, I decided to purchase from a the no frills carrier as they had reasonable flight times and the tickets were about $40 less per person.
Navigating their interface, I selected the flights and proceeded to the next screen, where they asked for all the extensive information you need in order to fly these days. I then entered my credit card info, no problem.
Expecting a confirmation screen at this point, I instead was presented with another screen of things I would need to pay for in conjunction with my flight, which included picking a seat, as each one had a dollar amount tied to it, and paying for my carry on bags.
This immediately created a sense of distrust for this airline. If I was getting charged after the fact when purchasing a flight, what other costs would I incur that I didn’t currently know about? What level of comfort did I have trusting them with my credit card info as well?
All told, the options added $100 extra to the flight, pricing it higher than the major carriers on the same route.
Customer relationships are the most important key to sales. If the purchasing process isn’t seamless and forthcoming with information that’s clear and easy to understand, companies lose their competitive edge with selling. It also creates a situation where they’ll have to answer a higher amount of customer questions and likely, complaints, adding overhead, as well as lost time and opportunities due to frustration.
Me? I’ll be cattle herded to the back of a plane in a few weeks, but at least I consciously know what I paid for when I bought the ticket.
What situations have made you distrust a company or service?