Don’t Force It

Don’t Force It

September 6

Right now I’m sitting in a session at Content Marketing World. It’s been a great show so far and I’ve learned a lot, but ironically, the most important lesson, and the one that I think is going to be most valuable to you IT solution providers came my first night in the hotel.

I’m staying in a nice hotel. Everything about its presentation is slick, the people are friendly, the food is good, but when it comes to it, I’ll never stay here again. I won’t even stay in this chain again, unless I have to.

Wait, what?

Here’s why. I get in after a long, grueling flight. It’s 11 o’clock p.m. I’m exhausted, I’m hungry, and I just want to veg out for a while as I unwind. So I get my food, I hop on the bed, and I turn on the TV.

Only, there is no TV. Instead, there’s a selection of on-demand shows and movies, all conveniently available for a fee (some movies cost as much as $18 dollars! I went to an actual movie the next night in a movie theatre and bought popcorn and a drink for around the same price). Okay, I’m a cheapskate and I don’t like paying for things that I’m just vegging out on.

But never fear. I have my laptop and the Content Marketing Institute has graciously paid for wi-fi in the hotel for conference attendees, so I decide I’ll just watch a show or two on Netflix (I’m a big Joss Whedon fan, so I’ve been working through Angel for a while).

So I get through the hassle of signing onto the Internet, I log into Netflix, I sit back, ready to relax, when BAM! I get blocked. The hotel is blocking Netflix to force me to buy their on-demand TV.

And there you go. I’m never staying here again.

I get it. The hotel needs to make money, but really? Is forcing me into their gated community the way to go? No it isn’t. I hate being forced into things and I hate being held hostage.

So what does that have to do with you?

I’m pretty sure your clients don’t like being forced either. And they don’t want to be held hostage. Does that mean you can’t offer upgrades or extra value or tiered pricing?

Of course not. But it does mean you might want to be super transparent about your pricing structure. What exactly is your client getting for that base price? Before I signed up for the Internet here, I would have liked to know that video was going to be blocked. Sure, it was probably deep in the terms and conditions, but it certainly wasn’t easily apparent. If I had actually been paying for the Internet and then been blocked, I would have been even more incensed.

You don’t want your clients to get into their relationship with you and then suddenly discover that you have them trapped, that they have to keep paying you more to get the services they thought they’d already paid for.

I can’t imagine any of you are doing this on purpose (and if you are, shame on you), but I think it’s easy to fall into something like this and in this day of choice, it’s a killer. I could have chosen among several hotels for this conference, and next time I’ll definitely go somewhere else.

Obviously, you don’t want your customers going somewhere else, so consider your pricing structure, look at its transparency, and make sure your clients know what their getting.