It's a basic rule of business: be nice to your customers. It's so obvious it doesn't even need saying, you'd think.
Budget carrier Ryanair has just seen this old adage translate into bottom-line profits with sales soaring, thanks in part to a new charm offensive with the aim of winning more business travellers.
So why is it that the IT industry is guilty of an epic fail when things go wrong for their customers?
We've all been at the mercy of helplines that claim "your call is important to us" minute after minute. They've given the very word "helpline" a bad name.
Then there are the costly excesses for repairs to laptops, phones and so on that make contemplating a repair at all seem like an exercise in futility.
These practices not only fly in the face of good manners but they don't make good business sense either.
Any business guru will tell you that when you are given a chance to help out a customer with a problem, you've got an opportunity.
You can make a champion for your brand or an enemy for life – and these days social media-savvy enemies can gang up very quickly and turn into a group of brand vandals.
That's why we believe up-selling a repair product when a deal has been clinched should be a no-brainer for resellers.
Of course, I would say that, wouldn't I? But let's look at what's in it for the whole reseller community; there's the incentive of an extra margin from a relatively easy sell, which is always good for hitting sales targets.
And the real clincher for an insurance product sell is that you're given a chance to offer a better customer experience should anything go wrong.
It's not just the customer with the smashed laptop screen who has peace of mind but the resellers too. A good, swift painless recovery is a route to lifelong loyalty.
At the same time, your "word of mouth" sales team gets a happy customer who will probably spread the word.
The key is the right repair and warranty support. Resellers with angry, frustrated clients need to ask themselves if they can learn a lesson from Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary and be nicer to their customers.
Steve Ackers is managing director of MendIT
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