update: email defense

In response to my last post about how everyone needs email defense, Eliot requested a followup.  First, here's the numbers:

  • We've been offering this service for about 1.5 months.
  • 16% of our customers have signed up for the service.
  • Two customers told us we weren't charging enough for it.
  • One customer thought it should be a “value add” service and not a paid service (they signed up after I explained the value–more on that below)
  • Five support requests related to using or configuring the service.

Overall, I'm happy with these numbers. I'm not seeing any problem selling it, support calls are low, and the customers I have talked to after they have used it like it.

I think I have the best customers a small provider could ask for. Now, having said that: there's always one or two customers that only see our services in terms of an expense. They don't see anything but dollar signs and initially ignore value (an interesting side note is that, invariably, these are the customers that are at the low end of our billing range). For this type of customer, they need to be nudged into looking at the value first, then reconciling that with the cost.

So, when I have a customer that complains about the price of this service, I point out the two main reasons we charge for it. First, it is valuable. That's what capitalism boils down to: paying for something that has value. Email Defense is easy to set up, easy to use, works very well, and doesn't require any changes on the customer's end.

The second reason we charge for this service is that we are charged for it since we resell it. This is a service that makes sense to resell since there are economies of scale to be had that I wouldn't get with the number of, and type of, customers I have. Also, I know that my supplier has resources dedicated to analyzing the system, making sure it is running effectively, and making any necessary changes. For my company to do the same things, I'd need to add staff and would have to charge much more than I have to for the outsourced solution. This is valuable to me and I can pass that on to my customers.

I've noted before that allowing your customers to dictate your price can be detrimental to a small business. This applies to giving away things for free. Being competitive is one thing but running your company so thin that you can't survive is called suicide. So you don't think I'm whining and that the customer was facing a large increase to add this service: their monthly total would go up by $2.70 if they added all their accounts to the service.

 

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