Seth Godin has a good post this week onupside vs. downside, looking at how much effort you put into preventing bad things vs. creating wonderful new things. He listed a hospital as one that does a lot of preventative work compared to the actual improvement of health. An art show, he says is all about the upside and very little effort expended on prevention of downside.
I had a visceral experience with a telecommunications company this week that not only spends way too much time on the downside, it’s actually their downside they are protecting rather than mine, their customer. Verizon has been pushing a new business phone plan for quite some time, calling me often and sending lots of mail. Actually looks like a reasonably good deal. I agreed to it this week when someone called me about it again. So far, so good.
Then they went into a very long process, recorded for later use, of the dire consequences of canceling this plan before the contract term is up. Fine, I said, let’s keep going. After that call I then received three separate calls from Verizon reps again confirming (with recording!) that I knew and accepted the early cancellation clause.
I’m now thinking: gee, this must be a pretty bad product if they are going to this length to make the contract length ironclad. I’m primed for failure at this point and the thing isn’t even active yet.
And I just now got an e-mail from them that misspells my last name.
I know your organization is not this bad. (Unless your with a phone company perhaps.) But how much are you doing to wow your new customers? They just invested money with you in exchange for value. Per Seth’s point, the faster and greater you can deliver value to them on the updside, the better they will appreciate the investment they just made and become predisposed to loving your product or service.