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Hidden fees are evil, but do all "extra" fees have to die?

935756569_18aac96892_bThe Customer View

Hidden Fees are great for the bottom line.  And they are a great way of telling your customer that you have no interest in their best interest.

The last time I tried to buy tickets online, there were nearly $30 in processing fees on about $45 worth of tickets.  Shouldn't these fees be have been included in the original ticket price?  Why should I pay a convenience fee for using the services native to the channel - purchasing or printing my ticket online?

The last interaction with a brand is often how customers will remember you.  When you pile on the hidden fees you leave your customer feeling wronged.  

On behalf of everyone, thanks for taking advantage of me.  I'll be sure to tell my friends.

Then again, when it comes to many purchases, we have nowhere else to go.  Here's to hoping we see some real, viable competition in the events and tickets space.  Because right now our only option is to take the abuse, or stay home.

The Business Perspective

If a customer ops-in to making a digital purchase, and the fees and plocies are all transparent and upfront, where is there any harm?  We have a business to run, and as with any business there are various expenses.  We give the customer transparency into how we operate and what they are paying for.  In order to keep the costs to you low, we offer various options when it comes to terms and policies.  Nobody is twisting the customer's arm to buy our products.  We are presenting everything to you upfront, what's wrong with that?

The Business Reality

In an era where social media is our societal greek chorus, businesses need to protect themselves and their customers from perceived abusiveness.  This will challenge our sales structures and policies, demand more of our messaging and experience design and may even shift our revenue models.  Then again, businesses will also learn the art of transparent, social and strategic apoligies.  Smart businesses will learn where and how to stand their ground.  

The customer always deserves our respect but they are not always right.  When brands communicate in a timely and effective manner, the community will learn to recognize this reality.  The new era of transparency isn't evil or scary, it's just your new business reality.