The T-Mobile US Free 30-DayTest Drive offer, which allows potential customers to experience its 4G network, is one concrete solution for allowing people to evaluate a product they cannot see, touch, hear, smell, taste or otherwise directly evaluate.
As with all other intangible products, consumers only find out how the product works after they’ve already purchased.
That is one reason selling services generally is more difficult than selling products. By definition, services–including communications–are intangible. Like marketing advice, crisis management and other services, communications can be very hard for buyers to evaluate, in advance of purchase.
There is no physical object to inspect, so a potential buyer has to try and determine value some other way. Buyers must rely on evaluations, third party testimony, advertising or other proxies for value.
There being no way the buyer actually can determine “quality” in any direct way, until the services are provided.
Obviously, that creates a barrier to sales.
So think about it: all communications and connectivity services are intangible products, for which a buyer has no way to determine quality in advance of purchase, and no way to compare quality to other potential buyers except to “try them.”
There are some obvious consequences. If a buyer cannot independently determine value or quality, buyers might be prone to distrusting quality claims. Perhaps that is why service providers tend to score low on consumer satisfaction surveys. People might know they have no way of making judgments as they can with physical products. And when “value” cannot be determined, it is hard to determine whether “price” is right, either.
In fact, every connectivity service–video, voice or internet access–scores at the bottom of multi-industry indexes in surveys of customer satisfaction conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.