As a Software Developer, there are two constants in my life: books and computers. The story I’m about to relate has to do with the computer constant.
I recently bought a new computer so that I could have a machine to try out new Operating Systems and technologies without the need to worry about damaging, destroying and/or losing information I’d rather not lose. Sure, you can back that stuff up but I anticipated that I’d need to do multiple installs while exploring different options and really didn’t want to have to mess with it.
As many of you know, new computers come with a recovery disc so that in the event something goes or you want to reset to factory settings, it’s as simple as popping the disc in and letting it do its thing.
These days popping the disc in isn’t necessary; the recovery disc is actually a partition on your hard drive that contains the information for recovery. This is nice in that you don’t have to worry about losing the disc and having to get another. This is bad if you accidentally overwrite that partition, or worse, your hard drive goes and it’s not under warranty.
I’ve experienced both situations over the years and in the end the only thing I could do is call up the vendor and get them to send an actual recovery disc for the price of about $50.
This irritates me. True, many computers now allow you to create a recovery disc yourself. However, if you don’t have the media or, as I did, forget to get the media you need to create the disc before you start reinstalling things, in the end you have to fork over extra cash for something you’ve already paid for. Hence my irritation. Unfortunately there’s little I can do: to my knowledge, most if not all computers are sold like this now and have been for years.
As someone who should have known better, I really have little room to complain. But what about those who are your average computer user? They have every right to be irritated by what to them is going to be perceived as nothing more than another way for the computer vendors to get extra money from them. If they complain, they’ll most likely get told as I did that $50 for a recovery disc is a steal compared to what you would pay to purchase the Operating System. Not exactly what a customer in my situation wants to hear. Sure, if I had actually received a physical recovery disc and lost it I can see having to pay for another. But when I wasn’t given one in the first place?
So, you’re wondering, what exactly is the point of all of this? Customer satisfaction. One of the ways you can keep your customers satisfied is by avoiding hidden or extra fees, be they perceived (as is the case in this situation) or real. Be honest and straight forward with your customers from the beginning about costs they may encounter down the line. Don’t shove this information in a corner they’re not likely to see. Even if every other competitor you have does things the same way, that’s not necessarily going to stop the customer from taking their business elsewhere.
Be honest, be humble, and don’t nickel and dime your customers. They’ll stick with you longer.