Thursday, May 31, 2007

Showing customers your love

First, let me say that I'm all for charging as much as the market will bear. If customers don't like the pricing structure they're free not to use the product. However, sometimes charging for a product or service is poor business. For example, let's compare the Google and eBay SMS offerings.

Google SMS allows you to submit searches to Google via text message. You text 466453 and Google responds with a brief, helpful result. Very cool, very handy and all for free.

eBay SMS is a similar service. It notifies you when you've been outbid on an auction or when an auction you're watching is about to end. You can then reply to the message to bid on the auction. Very cool, quite handy and all for $0.25 per auction!? As I read the service description, my internal eBay satisfaction meter climbed higher and higher. Fantasies of useful text messages zoomed through my mind. When I saw the pricing my meter sank below where it started: Are you kidding me? That must cost you next to nothing.

Now of course, I'd rather that eBay offer the service for a charge than not offer it at all. There are probably some people out there willing to pay for eBay text message alerts, but I'm not one of them. By providing SMS messages as a complimentary service to bidders, eBay could make their platform more appealing. They would have kept my customer satisfaction meter nicely stoked.

In business, it's important to ask, How can I show the customer my love? Often the answer is the same as with romance: small, inexpensive trinkets that say I'm thinking about you.


TanookiTravis said...

Oh man how I couldn't agree more. An option or service such as this would make me more willing to bid on eBay simply because I could post a bid and then walk away from my computer and not have to worry that I have been outbid while I'm not there. But if I am going to be paying a couple bucks for this after only a few new bids then forget it. Adding that $.25 effectively negates any chance of me now bidding more on eBay.

JJGames said...

I couldn't agree more. Ebay seems to nickel and dime you for all sorts of things. They should instead think to themselves, "By allowing customers to bid with text messages they will be more likely to bid and the prices will be higher. We make 5% on every sale, so we will make our money that way. AND the customer is happy."

TanookiTravis said...

Hey, did Google change their text message number for results? I noticed the number you gave spelled GOOGLE and the number I always use spells GOOGL. Is this a change they made or do they both work? If they both work that's pretty cool.

mndrix said...

TanookiTravis: I don't know if the old GOOGL number still works or not. Their current webpage lists GOOGLE as the number.