Monday, April 18, 2011

Economics of Time

Few weeks back, I talked about the attention economy, and how we are all screaming to get Marcel's attention (genius cable ad, BTW). The old adage is time is money, and as more and more things compete for our attention, Scott Bourne provides this pearl of wisdom.

Speaking about social media, and making sure you are providing good content that isn't wasting the time of the end user, he makes this point.

What will people spend their time on? Money doesn't matter, his time does. Spending 15 minutes on something worthless irritates him, the $50 spent on something, you can get the money back.

That thought brings me to this one: You can refund money, you can't refund people's time.

If we want to build more loyalty, we should be much more forgiving with refunds and other money related things when we have streaming or other problems with our paying customers. Won't that hurt the bottom line? In the long run, no; especially if we are clear that when we give it back we are also apologizing for wasting their time.

Think about an example on your campus where a stream failed, or more radically, where an event just flat went sour. Why not willingly give back to fans that didn't think the experience lived up to what they paid?  If the alternative is they won't come back.

Sales people tell you that it is so much easier to keep a customer than to win one.

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