Posted at the Obi forum (Re: OBi 100/110 GV Update request), here:
As a man who chose long ago to avoid coding...I see this differently=>
From a customer relations & business POV.
Before I collect any sniping comments from anyone here:
Yes, I am qualified to utter such as follows simply from managing to operate a thriving IT business for 20+ years, which I attribute to dedicated support along with reasonable pricing.
My thoughts on these matters:
Many business folks fail in their works because of profit-centeredness;
When too solidly concerned with the 'bottom line' folks tend to give too little attention to the BOSS...who pays them..the customer.
So instead of 'how do we scrape more $ out of this ?', a better starting query is:
What do we know about our customers ??
In the case of the original Obi box customers, there are some very simple facts which easily apply to most:
[li]We wanted an alternative instead of expensive landlines;[/li]
[li]We tend to be at the technophile vs. the technophobe end of the scale;[/li]
[li]We wanted to keep using our landline style phones;[/li]
[li]We were thrilled with the idea of ONLY spending $40 to ditch a large monthly bill;[/li]
[li]We were OK with making changes to accomplish all the above.[/li]
Most likely many of us are also very economy-minded (call us frugal or cheap if you wish, its not any insult to those whom it fits properly !!).
Now, having made those points - it becomes obvious that from a customer service POV, the most efficient way to push such folks away will be to kill off their devices & service access.
No matter who or what may be bottom-line responsible, they will look to the seller of their equipment for help first & foremost, and if/when that seller does not help - they made no friends that day.
Specifically in the case of 'older' Obi boxes, the seller could have made & kept such good friends by simply engaging a 3rd party for needed updates, then setting a date for users to change to that update provider.
This replacement update provider will naturally charge a reasonable fee either per update, or per year; and is independent of the original seller - allowing them to move forward minus that problem.
This way keeps the users in control of their choices of whether to keep the old stuff, or to spend a bit more and get newer stuff from the original seller.
The actual way that this matter was handled was the exact opposite of the suggestion above, and it obviously ignored the full range of other, inexpensive VOIP options as well as rather obviously assuming that there is an infinite number of potential buyers to replace those being repelled by making such forced changes without friendly alternatives being offered by the original seller.
An extreme example of such silliness was shown in the antics of a company called 'RingPlus' that has failed spectacularly - followed by another called 'Cellnuvo' which is presently in the process of haltingly trying to reinvent itself after making very similar blunders as that other company did.
The silliest part of the above was that when the 1st company failed - plenty of users went to the 2nd company, which could have been a great opportunity for them - but instead they continued to provide their users with 'the mushroom treatment' rather than engaging them...and missed out thereby.
My bottom line suggestions to the Obi Folks:
Find a way to make friends with your users so as to keep them willing to buy from you;
Earn their trust and be there for them, even if that means helping them to keep your well made devices longer by paying a 3rd party for updates.
This is better than having to suffer their permenent loss as paying customers.
Just my 2 cents as such a customer; I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in my observations & opinions written here.