10 Jul 20082 Comments
Yesterday’s climbdown by Rogers on 3G iPhone (in fact, quicly extended to all smart phones) data pricing was nothing short of spectacular. Since the weekend, I’ve watched as many of my colleagues in the Blogosphere have pushed a campaign of long term customer lobbying over the goal line. Clearly, in addition to influential bloggers, Apple is the industry titan that has been able to unclog an uncompetitive wireless market in Canada unlike any other company (or government) so far.
The story has been well covered, with a good selection of the chronology, below:
- Daniel Smith/Smithereens Blog: “Apple Flips Rogers a Bird A Week Before Canadian iPhone Launch? (Plausible Rumor)”
- Mark Evans: “Is the iPhone a PR Fiasco for Rogers” and “Who at Rogers Blew the iPhone”?
- Jim Courtney in Skype Journal: “Score One for the Blogosphere – Immense PR Turmoil – Rogers Caves”
- IT In Canada: “Did Rogers Try the Patience of Jobs?”
However, apart from the obvious power that an internet-engaged base of consumers now has over even the largest companies and apart from a major victory for grassroots campaigning, there is an even bigger lesson to be learned from this.
In a blog post back in April “Early Adopters versus Business Models: Shooting Yourself in the Foot?”, I stressed that companies who fail to engage early adopters and keep them happy risk both sabotaging an emerging market, but also creating long term ill will that is almost impossible to reverse. My personal hypothesis is that that the ratio of the cost to reverse grassroots consumer dissatisfaction (bad will) to delivering a message when the company brand is seen as consumer friendly (good will), may well be as high as 1000 to 1.
While we must await the long term customer fallout from this major misstep and climbdown by Rogers, I suspect that Rogers has suffered a significant long term liability on its balance sheet.
Again, it is clear the companies ignore early adopters at their peril.