You often hear people talk about "commodity" categories, where price is the only way to compete. Broadband internet is one such category. Well, my recent experience with O2 broadband was a good illustration that you can break out of commodity thinking if you try hard enough.
Here are some of the neat things O2 did for me:
1. Reward loyalty: I'm an O2 mobile customer. Moved to them from Vodafone to get the iPhone. And this means I got a significant saving on O2 broadband: £10 a month, instead of £15. This is price-based marketing, but intelligent pricing, targeted at getting existing customers to take up an extra sevrvice. This means I have 2 services, not 1, that I can access from the O2 website, saving time and hassle, and making me more loyal.
2. Nice, easy status report: once I had signed up, I got this simple traffic light summary of what was happening with my order. I could check back if I wanted to see how things were going. Reassured me that things were under control, and moving ahead. I also get text updates.
3. Brand and deliver: for once in my life, O2 delivered against their promised delivery time. How refreshing is that. Contrast this with the nightmare of getting BT to install a phone line, that took endless phone calls, and was 2 weeks late in the end. Simple stuff, but so rare today.
4. Excellent help-line: the connection worked first time, when I set up the box. But then, disaster, email wouldn't work. Called the Helpline expecting the customary Indian call centre to pick up, and send me from person to person. But not. The guy actually knew what he was talking about, and fixed the problem on the spot.
So, next time you hear someone say, "Its no good, this is a commodity category, price cuts is all we can do", you can repy by suggesting you try and do an O2.