Viral or Bacterial – worth a LOL !

I really enjoyed World War Z, the latest zombie flick starring Brad Pitt.

But I hated the latest ad by, though they’ve got similar ideas … well, in startup parlance, that’s “Implementation” 🙂

I guess all that Brad Pitt really had to do was talk with the guys at and cancel these dead guy’s account access 🙂


Whats on offer – A Product or a Service?

Product versus Service mindset

Monsoon, I believe, is an off-season for DTH providers – where they literally switch off their satellites and set-top boxes, phones on hold, and take a chill pill at Water Kingdom, having had a hectic few months of showering all kinds of soaps and shampoo ads during the sultry summer.

I called up TataSky yesterday to complain about the “set top box is not receiving signal” syndrome. The female TataSky rep tried to get me to master reset the device and had the good sense to yell at me for not pressing “Select” and moving to next setup screen even after the device stopped responding, then informed that a service engineer will visit after 24 hours and I’ll be required to PAY Rs. 150 as service charge !!!

Exasperating to say the least, that led to a deep pricing insight delivered as a 5 min lecture to this rep on product versus service mindset – TataSky is not a product I’ve purchased, for whose repair I need to pay – it is rather a basic necessity service for which I am required to pay monthly and in case I don’t get the service, I should be claiming a refund !

The female representative did understand this eventually, made a note of it, and I was sent an engineer to replace the broken antennae for no charge. Hope, that wasn’t just an exception, and is indeed the case for all customers who get their DTH boxes fixed once in a while.  Well they did charge me Rs. 250 for the mal-functioning equipment, after all – and I stand to contest this charge now, and claim refund for poor service !

While I think this is a good time for the “Product” pricing managers at TataSky to give this a rational thought, I took a lesson for Gray Routes from this episode – don’t charge your customers for a broken or interrupted service, even if it is for out-of-the-way support costs, arising out of faulty equipment. Foresee and build that into the subscription pricing in the first step.

When customers are pained by a service interruption, last thing you want to do is to pain them further with a bill for fixing it !

For all SAAS aspirant startups, this is a lesson in crafting a good pricing strategy.


More such examples – while TataSky and a few other really good companies like Nordstrom and HUL get this, most telcos, banks, insurance firms still struggle with this aspect of pricing.

Thanks for understanding our DNA – All Gray Routes SAAS products are designed with a complete customer-support guarantee. No Service = No pay.