I emailed my list this morning the blog post by Seth Godin, Will They Switch for Cheaper. Some will, many will switch for better.
I have hammered this point many times. I appreciate when someone like Seth can clarify my point for me.
CenturyLink just added a new fee and raised the rate on another one to consumers. Subscriber count went down, but profit went up. A client of mine just raised his pricing to a subset of his customers. He lost 0.25% - roughly 2 out of thousand, but the price increase means he is more profitable than before. I'm not saying gouge your customers, but I am saying you don't have to be the cheapest. You might have to be the cheapest if you offer little value, don't tell an interesting story or think of yourself as a commodity.
C-Link didn't improve any service; they didn't make anything better. That's not the nature of getting bigger. Bigger is hardly ever better. (Even bigger meals just mean more calories). "As an organization succeeds, it gets bigger. As it gets bigger, the average amount of passion and initiative of the organization goes down (more people gets you closer to average, which is another word for mediocre)," writes Seth Godin.
How do you get better? At every customer touch point. Most companies are automating everything they can. That means less touches of the customer, more cookies being cut, less customization and less customer interaction. If you want to get better, touch the customer better. It's so easy today because the bar is so low.
There are so many VoIP Providers - at least 1000. They aren't doing any marketing - well, any good marketing. They aren't targeted or know who would make a good customer and why. They aren't concerned with turning the kinks in the deployment / implementation process into strengths and customer killer moments. At the low end, deployment is the customer getting phones by UPS and having to plug-and-pray. Make it better. There are so many ways to do it routinely.
The trick to marketing: Deliver service so good that people HAVE to talk about it!
Check out my blog post about how ShoreTel broke M5. It's worth the read.