Cloud start-ups must be mindful that transitioning from ‘free’ to ‘paid’ services will be a challenge and likely upset end users. Follow these guidelines as a form of ‘damage-control’.
Cloud start-ups are built on the premise of free services. This myriad of functionality cloud start-ups have to offer are readily available to end users.
The adolescent stages of a company are termed ‘adolescent’ for a reason.
Cloud vendors look to attract customers and earn plaudits by offering free services in the hope that during the latter stages, money will flow like water.
However, It is time to look beyond those silver linings and be practical!
The bottom line; it is practically impossible to offer free cloud services forever. You may attract a billion people across the globe with your free impeccable services but what matters is how heavy your pockets are at the end of the month! Hence, this paradigm shift is meant to come forth sooner rather than later.
As a vendor, your job is to retain as many clients as possible despite the transition. Here are some vendor guidelines that will make this transition go a whole lot smoother:
Even if you wish to release a free cloud service or product, stay away from the “Forever Free” tagline. No matter how hard a shift you put in with your personnel, they would want to feed their babies at the end of the day which calls for a heavy paycheck which in turn comes from revenue.
Keep your ego in check and give the users what you can actually give minus the pseudo ultimatums which attract initially but dash down the hopes in the longer run.
Ask yourself, “are you worth it?” This question will help you realize if the services you are offering fit the bill. Measure the pros and cons on a sheet of paper and find balance to check if the transition is worth it – both for you and your projected users.
As a cloud vendor, you’ll need to cater to bug fixing, new edition releases, simplified troubleshooting, and beta-releases; it’s easier said than done!
Give users a good reason to pay and you’re golden!
Cut your existing clientele some slack by giving them a notice period.
Now that you’ve already decided to take the plunge, patiently think about your users and how they’ll cope with it. Show a little love!
Be wary of the line between users and customers. A customer is the one who pays for something. Ergo, your free product users shouldn’t be mistaken as customers. When push comes to shove, not all of them are going to pay.
Accept the fact that you may lose some of your clients.
With the transition under way, you’ll need to ready yourself and your end users.
Nasty comments on social networks, blatant negative commenting on official websites, disastrous customer reviews, are just some of the killer blows your client base might throw upon you.
Moreover, if one of your competitors releases an analogous product for free, you’re doomed!
So, tread with caution and being thick skinned will go a long way!
Cloud vendors need to treat their clientele with the utmost respect by the free-to-paid transition as gravely as possible. If not, it might just turn out to be the coup de grace.
Author Bio: William Smith, is a Cloud and Mobile Technology aficionado and writer. Other than working at MyRealData DotCom he actively participates in various forum discussions, writing blogs and articles on topics like latest mobile apps, cutting-edge technologies, and cloud hosting services.