I had an interesting discussion with my bookkeeper yesterday when she was doing the books for me. You see I use MYOB AccountRight Plus in my business to handle all the things I need. I’ve used it now for 6 years and in that time it’s worked well. In the early days I had need of support and I found the MYOB support was quite good.
I got a renewal notice in the mail in which they asked me to renew my MYOB Cover at a cost of $714.00. That’s funny I thought, I was sure I’d seen that you could buy MYOB AccountRight Plus for less than that. A quick check of Harris Technology website indeed showed that you can get it for $678. A further search on the internet showed I can get it for as low as $599 if I wanted. I asked my bookkeeper why should I renew the MYOB Cover and why not just go and buy the software again given the price they were charging. My bookkeeper basically told me that for my use, the only thing I needed was the tax tables which were provided in the updates. I honestly didn’t need any of the new features and in fact based on what I’ve heard out there in the community, the newer version was in fact causing many people big problems as it lacked many of the reports that the older version had and needed quite a bit of training to get things running. I decided at that point that I didn’t think it worthwhile to spend the $ on the MYOB Cover when in fact we could update the tax tables manually.
Coincidentally, today I received an email from MYOB with the same renewal I got in the post. I figured why not ask them about the price difference, so I did. I asked them the following.
Why is it more expensive to pay your MYOB Cover than it is to buy the product outright from Harris Technology? Why would I go with you on this when I can get the same cheaper from one of your resellers?
I sent the email and expected to not hear from anyone. Surprisingly I got a phone call within a few hours from a young lady in the MYOB customer service team (I‘ll call her Elle for this post). They wanted to answer my question personally. Anyway – Elle was most helpful. She told me that I needed cover to ensure that I got the updates for the tax tables and also so I could in future upgrade to the new all singing all dancing cloud version. Honestly – I told her that I do my accounting offline, therefore the cloud version has no value for me, and that the tax tables could be updated manually in 10-15 minutes. Also given that I’ve had no need for support for the past 5 years, why would I want to spend another $700 for features I didn’t need. Why not just wait till I need the new version and buy it?
Elle then informed me that given I was already an MYOB customer, that they would charge me $150 to “unlock” my MYOB company file so that it could be used on another copy of MYOB of the same version. That would be on top of the price of purchasing the software if I chose to buy it new. That sounds a little rich to me. I was not liking the thought that I was locked into paying MORE than a new user to continue to use the software. I told Elle that I really was not happy with this concept and that I would likely not renew my MYOB Cover. We ended the call there.
I’m left wondering though about the tactics MYOB are employing here and I’ve got to seriously consider, is this something that I need? Is this really showing loyalty to a customer who has purchased your product for years in which you are effectively charging them MORE to stay under maintenance than a customer who has purchased their product for the first time?
Personally – with all the bad comments I’ve seen about upgrading from MYOB 19.6 to the new improved SQL based version, I really don’t think that I need to do the upgrade at all. I certainly don’t need the Cloud version that they talk about as I much prefer to do my accounts offline, sometimes whilst in transit on planes which don’t have any connectivity. Sorry MYOB, I don’t see enough value in this, so I think that I’ll skip this upgrade.
Naturally your case may vary and you need to make your own assessment, but I still have concern over the concept of customer loyalty that means existing clients pay more than new clients year on year for the same product. What are your thoughts on this?