Part II – Are companies more upgrade-centric than people-centric?

Downgrades are harder than upgrades. We saw this yesterday. Thanks to all the comments, I realize we have to discuss both technical capability and positioning.  

Yesterday’s post sets the stage for the capability conversation. I wanted to migrate from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Home. Pro is for the professionals/ companies, and Home is for home users. They both belong to the same generation of software. Microsoft has an offering to migrate from Home to Pro. But it has none for Pro to Home. This is the offering gap – available for upgrades but not for downgrades. 

This lack of “downgrade-able” offerings is common across services. I wonder if it’s time to change this.

Digital Companies seem to be doing better. A Netflix HD customer can choose to downgrade to standard resolution or mobile-only plans. WordPress.com allows two-way movement across all their four tiers (free / freelancer/business/ enterprise). They support – even encourage – customers to move across levels as their needs evolve.

Is it time to pick a lesson from our Digital friends?

When you buy anything from a Digital company, you are branded cool. What you purchase is irrelevant. Moving to a lower tier is, therefore, a feature. However, traditional companies have “status” attached to offerings (think Platinum credit card), so it’s harder to position two-way mobility. Given the market need today, perhaps it’s time for them to reconsider. And the first step is to configure an offering. 

So that’s it for today. Let’s close with two questions: 

  1. Should we design products and services to go both ways? 
  2. How do we position “downgrades” to make them acceptable? Minimalist and sustainability are two planks; what else?

3 thoughts on “Part II – Are companies more upgrade-centric than people-centric?

  1. I think Microsoft carries lot of legacy ideas and Mr Nadella had let lose lot of them when he took the reigns. Such pricing stickiness also needs to go. They would need to think Downgrade a still better feature than losing customer altogether, applies to all industries and orgs these days. The idea of minimalism and simplicity is perhaps for the good and essentially human survival on the planet too. Nice posts Subra..

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