Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, April 18, 2003

US Web Conferencing Companies Diplomatically Shun International Customers

I am more and more frequently invited to attend so-called webinars, Internet presentations, online showcases and demonstrations, all geared at providing useful content on a selected topic while effectively demonstrating the value and effectiveness of some of today's Web conferencing systems.

As I am actively following the real-time conferencing industry and its tools I am very happy to receive such invitations as they would allow me greater opportunities to see at work those "enterprise" systems that I can't afford to buy in order to test and review them.

WebEx, Placeware, Centra, HorizonLive, Raindance, Genesys, Polycom are some of the names that come to mind, but there are new ones as well, popping up everyday.

Unfortunately it looks like, we people of the world leaving outside of the US, have to be relegated to a second class service. Most of these online presentations have an audio channel distributed via telephone. Participants have to access an 800 (toll-free) number in the US. But what about people like me, who are not in the US?

Does this mean these companies are not interested about us?

We cost too much to them to pay for that phone call?

Aren't we, international clients an interesting and valuable target group?

Why can't they use Voice over IP technology when there is REAL evidence that audio on the Internet can be used to carry out effective and reliable communications?

Why can't anyone of them even offer this as an option for us outside the US?

I can understand that these companies want to provide a good service and prefer to use the telephone to guarantee maximum audio quality and reliability.
But then I feel they should support all of their potential customers with that offer.

These companies send me an email clearly seeing from my address that I am not based in the US, and still they act just like the cost of a long-distance telephone call like was not a critical item in marketing effectively to me.

They have not thought about it?

They have purposedly decided that it was just too expensive to support all of us international customers with a special phone number?

I am a potential valuable customer to these companies (to say the least), and these companies would like to have ONE HOUR of my attention to show me how great their product is and what it could do for me.



I would be willing to listen, but not to PAY to be marketed something.
That gets to be a bit of not just a costly item, but also an ethical issue of respect toward international customers.

Otherwise it would be more coherent on their part not to invite international contacts and to clearly signal on their marketing communications that INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS HAVE TO PAY THEIR PHONE CALLS TO ACCESS ONLINE MARKETING DEMOS.

Shouldn't that marketing approach be thought of again?

Looking forward to an answer from interested parties.


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posted by Robin Good on Friday, April 18 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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