Price increases must be communicated to customers in advance and at the time of the adjustment. Any surprises along the way will damage your customer relationships.
Last week we got our phone bill and noticed an increase in our long distance service charge. Ironically, the last time I wrote about preparing for price changes, I wrote about this same provider: AT&T.
I couldn’t find on the bill why the price had jumped. After waiting on hold for over ten minutes, I spoke with a customer service representative that informed me that indeed the service fee had increased.
In my previous post, I talked about three key principles:
- Explain why the price is increasing
- Give advance notice of the increase
- Lock in previous pricing
AT&T failed to explain “why” my rates went up. I can only assume they are trying to squeeze a little more money out of me.
Apparently the price change had been communicated at the bottom of a previous bill in a section titled “News You Can Use.” I never saw that notice.
This month’s bill contained no explanation for the increase. Any previous communication was irrelevant because right now there was nothing.
Price changes can stir up your customer’s emotions rather quickly. It is therefore necessary to mitigate potential trouble during any such changes. Just because you told a customer once that their service was changing, don’t expect them to remember or even hear that first communication. You’ll find safety in over communicating pricing changes: before, during, and after the fact.