Think about your cell phone plan for a moment. Do you have a fixed-price, all-you-can-eat type of plan, or do you have separate and confusing charges for every different type of call (international, domestic, in network, out of network, standing on your head) and service (text, data, text-to-data, data-to-text, video, videos with text, blah blah blah)? Do you get warm, fuzzy feelings about your phone company when that bill is super confusing?
I am constantly astounded as to why business-to-business companies think that their pricing should be more confusing than their cell phone plans. There is a reason consumers flocked to the Verizon flat-fee plans: they are easy to understand. Businesses selling to businesses should remember that their customers are, ultimately, human beings. The more confusing we make our pricing, and the harder we make it to work with us, the less likely that those humans will want to do business with us in the future.
"But my company is the industry leader!" I hear you say. "Our customers will still work with us because we have the best products and services!" And may I retort, "Do you really want to give your customer a reason to entertain 30 minutes with that new start-up because you are an unpleasant company with whom to do business?" Why give the start-up competitors an opening?
This problem confounds me as I work through a new partner pricing program currently. I just hope our customers won't be more confused than I am already.