I am a fan of MOOC (especially Coursera). I mean how else would an average middle aged guy like me in India get to learn Competitive Strategy using Game Theory from a Professor in Germany, and get to go on a virtual tour of the BMW headquarters?
In our day to day lives, we capture knowledge, experiences or just data if you want to call it that. If you were to speak with a psychologist, he/ she would be able to tell you how these experiences affect your beliefs, actions, very lives, but I’m going to stick to business and worry about application. Unless we learn how to use data or what to do with it, we don’t generally put 2 and 2 together and say 4 or 0 or something else. All I’m saying is that we ‘learn’ how to make sense of all the data we collect on a daily basis.
We would have been at the receiving end of many short changes over our careers but I’m not sure if you’d have looked at it from this angle. Let’s look at this scenario: Since I’m writing ‘against’ one time business relationships, let me take an example that one could call a near-ideal one time relationship, viz. a three year contract: You are a maintenance contractor who has a three year contract with the London Municipality for the upkeep of roads, your job (should you choose to accept it :)) is to keep the roads free of potholes (think my expectations from a road is basic? well I live in India :)). Let’s consider the last month of the three year contract and look at what are the motivations for you and the municipality to deliver what they deliver,
You: You aren’t sure if you’ll be serving them next month but you know that you’ll be serving them this month, so you wouldn’t really care how the quality of service was.
Municipality: They would like to come back to you and try and re-negotiate and lower prices, reduce any miscellaneous payments being made to you, because they realize that they might not work with you next month.
If you roll it all backwards to the first month of the contract, you’ll notice throughout this period, both you and the municipality do not have any motivation to keep the other party happy, wowed, whatsoever. Imagine the plight in a one-time deal!
So, what do you do as a Buyer?
1) Buy in the way of a recurring relationship that could be ended today if you weren’t happy with their product/ service. You don’t have to worry about usage or any other parameters that affect your bill for a particular month. Most Subscription Billing providers allow metered billing in their standard offerings.
2) If you must make one time purchase, make sure that if things go bad with the vendor, you make it public on a channel like yelp in case of B2C or in platforms like G2Crowd, Alternative.to and GetApp in case of B2B or just go social with it. This is not fool-proof but it is something..
As a Seller: Think you cannot steer your business to a recurring relationship model?
Here’s a few Customer Businesses to get your creative juices flowing:
1) Canine Goodies: SpottyBox
2) Sanitary Pads: MonthlyFlow
3) Car Wash: Kuhnsvill Car Wash
4) Not For Profit: Pet Rescue
5) Toilet Rolls: WhoGivesACrap
Think it’ll cost a lot? Our Subscription Billing Software starts at $49 a month!
Here’s how easy it really is: How To Get Started With Online Subscription Billing..
I look forward to hearing your argument (s) for or against recurring business relationships.