I've just read a brilliant piece on some takeaways Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs) can learn from the early success of pioneering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in capturing customer bases of several million loyal users.
Entitled Part V: VoIP Product Packaging-It's Not Just About Price, the piece is the last in a (well, duh) five-part series by industry thought leader Shawn Lewis, is the CEO of VoIP wholesales services provider Volo Communications.
One of Lewis' key points is that VoIP service providers need to differentiate their offerings based on "high-demand features and promotions," rather than play the discount price game.
"The parallels ...hit home about the need to differentiate your offering by not focusing on price alone," Lewis writes. "Of course, that’s easier said than done. One thing is certain: the VoIP industry will feel the affects of competition. This will put pricing pressures on ITSPs over the next 12–18 months."
Lewis implies what to me is a potentially hazardous nexus: those VoIP providers who feel the pressure to compete on price will be strained by the expense of implementing unique services. So the way you set yourself apart is by marketing more creatively than your competitors.
"Successful ITSPs will find themselves offering a wide range of features and services that will include IP-PBX services and unified messaging," Lewis admits. "They are also going to need to differentiate with other marketing and promotional campaigns that may include rewards — loyalty programs, and friends and family incentives."
Even with creative loyalty and incentive programs, there's a danger of overpestering the customer, confusing him/her with too many offers, or not having the most effective promotions fulfillment engine.
A tough balancing act for sure.
I have two questions for readers. What promotions or loyalty program(s) would you like to see your VoIP provider offer? And what type of promotions could a VoIP access provider offer that might encourage you to switch from your current ITSP?
Post a TalkBack and let us know what you think.