OMG – A customer used the 'C word'

A had a call yesterday from a new prospect. It was typical of many that we get every day at Text Marketer. The chap I was speaking to was asked to find a new supplier of bulk sms services for his company. He was basically doing the rounds by ringing up a short list of companies and comparing them on price and a number of other factors.

From what I could gather, we were about the fourth or fifth business sms company that he’d called that morning, so he’d already got a good grasp of what was on offer in the industry.

“What makes Text Marketer different from other companies that I’ve spoken to?” he asked. Now all bulk sms providers are well versed in answering that one, so I gave the chap a brief run down, emphasising that we only use UK networks for message delivery, we have a fantastic system with some really innovative tools, our systems are robust and resilient etc. I was quite pleased with myself, thinking rather smugly that I’d done a pretty good job.

“Yes, but all those things you’ve just mentioned are available with all your competitors,” he replied.“As far as I can see, bulk sms seems to be a commodity and basically I should be buying this type of service on price.” A what? Commodity? We’ve spent years trying to create points of difference and it seems that from this prospect’s point of view, bulk sms companies were no different from gas or electricity suppliers. They’re more or less the same product but priced differently depending on who you speak too.

To be fair, he had a point. His application for bulk sms was very straightforward and he simply wanted a reliable service at the lowest possible price. So we chatted further about bulk sms volumes and discussed the best price that we could offer.

It’s clear that the way bulk sms services are perceived by buyers is changing. It’s becoming harder to talk about the benefits of using UK networks or having reliable systems as if this was somehow unique. If we’re honest, we are all offering a very similar service with similar levels of professionalism, reliability and support. Increasingly, customers will be referring back to the strongest differentiator of all. Price.