I don’t think we live in a world where customer support really matters anymore. Look at the most successful companies there are. For computers there is Dell. Ever called dell support? Its a fun time (not). But I still buy dell products. In web services… we have Google. Every had to contact Google for something? Sure they get back to you eventually through a non personal email but… its not really efficient.
When my mother-in-law first started working for me my main business was selling computers on eBay. I had a ZERO tolerance policy on customer support. I provided none what so ever. If someone had a question they could feel free to return the item. I was VERY clear about this on this in the terms of service. I guaranteed the part or computer would not be DOA (dead on arrival) but other then that you were on your own to get it to work. Anyway my mother-in-law was astounded and thought I should be calling each of these people and walking them through trouble shooting installing drivers or some random problem that had nothing to do with what I sold them. She thought that providing hours of customer service would deliver a long term customer. – not true.
So here is what I have found out from my experience about selling a service or products online. Providing great customer service has very little to do with people buying or being returning buyers of your services or products. There is NO CUSTOMER LOYALTY IN ONLINE COMMERCE.
Look at the power house Amazon. Guess what their return policy is? Its return it. Thats it. No support, no calls…. and it doesn’t even matter what it is. I returned things that my local store would have never accepted as a return with no questions asked…. just a credit on my credit card applied. Amazon provides such a amazingly awesome and EASY 1 click purchasing I just love it. I do not need a sales person or customer support. If I cant figure it out or its not what I thought it was then I send it back. I can print return labels online at Amazon and I am out nothing. Back when I used to get $1,000 Amazon gift cards every month as “bonuses” from affiliate companies (damn I miss those days) I would go on crazy shopping sprees and end up sending back half of the items.
Anyway make a good product… make it easy to buy… make it easy to return.