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Want great customer service? Be prepared to pay.

From priority boarding at airports to fast track tickets at theme parks, organisations are increasingly trying to persuade their customers that high quality service is something we should be willing to pay for. Now mobile firm EE has jumped on the bandwagon, announcing a 50p charge for queue jumping on customer service calls. The decision has sparked much debate and left people wondering who will see the most benefit: customers or EE?

Predictably, many customers have reacted angrily to this new charge, with EE being compared to the Ryanair of mobile networks. In the long-term opinion will depend on how important service is when considered alongside other issues like tariff charges and network coverage. But there is another important consideration too…

It should come as no surprise that when paying additional charges customers require a higher standard of service. But will EE be able to meet these higher customer expectations?

If a customer pays to get put through to an agent who cannot resolve their enquiry in a single call, then I think EE is going to find it really difficult to hold on to its premium customers. Delivering personalised customer service, where agents are empowered to resolve callers’ questions and needs, will play a crucial role in improving performance.

Only time will tell whether customers are ready to pay EE additional charges for jumping the queue. My guess is they are, but only if they get an outstanding level of support. The additional charges may in the long term enable EE to invest more in its customer service but in the short term it puts this service well and truly in the spotlight.

What do you think of EE’s new charge, would you pay to jump to the front of the line?