Yesterday, my go-to Twitter application, Hootsuite, decided to go ‘freemium.’ Without getting into the pros and cons, I’ll just say that while they are still offering a free service, it is very limited compared to the rich features I’ve been enjoying for a long time. This has created quite a backlash amongst their users, with accusations of bait & switch. If you’re interested in seeing some of the sentiment – just search on Twitter for ‘Hootsuite’ and you’ll see the range of reactions.
The bigger lesson here is to start thinking about how this applies to customer service, and how it could apply to your own business when you have to change the model or create revenue streams, and even to bloggers who want to monetize their sites.
Some thoughts sparked by this whole debacle:
1) No matter what business you are in, if you willingly provide a service to people for free, those people are still your customers and deserve to be treated as such – not as second-class citizens.