I recently had a problem with a technology provider I do business with on a regular basis. I won’t mention their name, as I have been very impressed with their support over the last year and a half and I am not looking to harm their business or even leave them. I am just using a recent incident to make a point.
I ran into a problem where they had outages happening all the time. I went through all the normal channels, online chat, phone call, and emails.
At one point one of their managers sent me a nice note that they were looking into the problem, but then made the mistake of telling me that it might be time to upgrade my account at a cost that would be three times my current rate each month. The problem is, I had just upgraded my account within the last six months and was told this would handle my needs for myself and up to 50 accounts. (I only had 34 active accounts when the outage happened).
So this is when I came to think about this subject. I was having a terrible time with this company and rather than fix it, they tried to upsell me. Now don’t get me wrong, upselling as part of doing business. Companies want you to spend more money. I understand that, but as a small business myself, you need to watch your bills closely. Now, there are times your clients and customers need to upgrade in order to fulfill their needs properly. But, the time to try to get them to switch is not when you’re in the middle of an outage you can’t explain and when the customer is only using about 60% of resources in their account.
You learn a lot of lessons when you’re in the middle of a crisis, and how to handle things. Whenever I have downtime for any of my clients, I always put myself in their shoes and I never try and upsell them during an outage. Now there have been times where a client needs to upgrade their server as an example. Usually this is when they are getting a ton of traffic and need to be moved to their own dedicated accounts. But I always wait until things are back to normal and then recommend some options.
Bottom line: while up selling is a part of business, always wait for an opportune time. This is not when your clients or customers are unhappy with your service in the middle of an outage. Always think before you send that email, how would I feel when I received this note? Most people would be pissed to say the least as their sites are down and they are losing business. This is a good way to lose clients/customers.