Don’t Make the Same Mistake This Software Developer Made

young man pulling funny face on white backgroundI purchased a great video editing software a few weeks ago.  Fortunately (for me) I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to use it yet because all software has bugs — even after the beta testers have given their feedback.

I logged onto our Facebook Group today (which, btw, is a great tool for you to use to keep your pulse on what your customers are experiencing).   Sadly for the developer, there is a firestorm going on in the group because of a decision that he made to put ads on the software after we bought it.

The tribe is furious!  Comments are along the lines of “we didn’t buy a software with ads, so why are there ads now?” and “if you had given us the option from the get-go to have a version with ads or without ads that would have been one thing but to add the ads after we bought it is wrong”.

The developer is defending his position, stating that he was adding all sorts of value and that he didn’t make any money on the initial sale.  He then got defensive and told people they could ask for a refund.   Whoa!  Obviously ego and hot-headedness have taken over.

The initial purchase price was really low $39.95 (or something like that) and the developer is asking for $9.95 / year to have a version of the software that doesn’t have ads.  Obviously the $9.95 isn’t a large amount and everyone of his customers could easily pay it — but the issue we’re all having is with communication and the feeling that we’ve been the victims of a bait and switch.

Here’s my response to him / the group (which has received a lot of “likes” and a suggestion to turn it into a blog post.)

Carol Wain Andrew Darius — buddy — I am a customer experience specialist. Do not cut your own throat right now. You’ve nicked yourself but it’s time to put down the knife.

The best way to handle this is to stop for a second and look at how long you want to be in business.

Don’t piss off your early adopters.
Customers are a fickle bunch — don’t give us a reason to defect
There are others waiting in the wings to launch an even better software than you have. They will take what you’ve learned and what you’ve created and they will swoop in and “save all of us” who are not happy right now.
Do you want to be a one-hit-wonder who is gone next month or do you want to build a sustainable business?

Here’s what you should do. Reverse the decision for the ads and grandfather all of us. Do what you can to rebuild our faith in you.
Listen to what we’re saying. Remember that the initial promise was for a software that does X,Y and Z. Always deliver on that promise.

Create opportunities to increase your revenue.

Increase the price immediately. (btw, create a new FB group for the new people… let us be your advisory group here without the new people seeing what is going on. This group and the posts will scare away any new customers.)

Identify your core product — what we were promised and what we’ve paid for. Deliver that exceptionally well.

Identify add-ons.

I believe your approach to over-deliver is getting you in trouble. You’ve missed the mark on what to over-deliver.

Over-deliver on service.

Up-sell on features that weren’t included in the core product.

Cross-sell on products that enhance the overall experience with the product (but remember the product must work without them).

By all means — stop, look and listen. Let your guard down to truly hear what we’re saying. Make a plan for us early adopters and another plan moving forward.

Smart business owners know that it costs 6x (or more) to get a new customer than it does to keep one. They also know that the initial purchase is the tip of the iceberg — make the initial customer experience great and expect at least 10x the initial purchase price over the customer’s lifetime.

Stop complaining that you hardly made anything from the initial sale — if you make things right with us you can easily turn things around. Many people will break even or take a loss knowing that the money is in the back-end.

Use good judgement and wear your “Customer Experience” hat as you make decisions. Always think about how this decision will impact your customer experience — and never, ever underestimate how important it is to your success.

If you need assistance, PM me.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much — a monthly fee of less than a dollar to stir up a bees nest.  How you respond will make the difference between success or failure because your customer experience is the only true differentiation between you and your competition.

Have You Experienced Any Situations Like This?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

About the Author

Carol Wain is the founder and leader of many brands which help leaders to create more profitable businesses that transform lives and positively impact our planet. She is an author, speaker, trusted advisor and mentor who won Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.

Carol is passionate about reinventing business to become a force for good — positive businesses which respect, appreciate, encourage and support the right employees who voluntarily use their discretionary effort to bring the vision, purpose, platform, personality, passion and core values to life; businesses which create useful, meaningful and valuable products, services and experiences which improve the lives of people; and businesses which support communities, take a stand and have a higher purpose.

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