Does RIM Truly Understand Its Customers?

Research in Motion (RIM) must develop a greater sense of urgency with regard to finding a solution to the periodic service outages that afflict its BlackberryBerry network infrastructure.

BlackBerry customers buy the handheld devices and subscribe to inordinately expensive service plans with wireless operators because they don’t want to be disconnected from their work-related communications . . . ever. These people pay a premium for the dubious privilege of being continuously online, and being available for business correspondence and information exchange, all the time.

The BlackBerry network infrastructure, and the service it provides, is not like a standard consumer-oriented website, such as AOL.com or Yahoo!. People might be annoyed if one of those services were unavailable, but they wouldn’t go berserk, as many CrackBerry addicts did yesterday and have done during previous network outages.

I don’t think RIM truly understands that its customers are not like other Internet subscribers. Since RIM derives high-margin, premium revenues from its patrons, it owes them a premium service, one that doesn’t periodically leave them staring inconsolably at a broken stream of messages for hours on end. This is how franchises are frittered away and lost.

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