Since the announcement, I like many have been mulling over practically what it all means to me as a customer. I’ve swung from outright anger and disappointment, to eagerly researching how to move away from your business, and all the way back to trying to be pragmatic.
First, I’ll start with the failure:
- The communication, sending a “by the way” email outlining no working detail of how customers are expected to work around this is extremely poor. By the same token, would you also put such little effort in to marketing a new product? Specifically, you offered no information as to how co-existing a legacy/modern system would actually work, do I need two apps? Can I just not sync between both zones? Tell me.
- You completely destroyed the customer trust you’ve worked so hard to gain via offering 5 months of warning. There is no EOL page (a la Microsoft) detailing in advance when things will roll in to legacy mode (whatever that actually means in practice, see point 1). As a consumer, how precisely do we know when products we cease to be sold in each country? You’re effectively causing customers to choose other products, particularly where that product has been in the market place for X years (see PlayBar, Sub… a £1300 investment).
- If you’re going to create waves like this, you need to carefully consider every aspect of this and make processes, retailers and your partner networks aware, explicitly aware. Guess what? Those shop workers this week are pointing customers at other products and stores will be reducing inventory in case they’re left holding obsolete items.
- The passion for your brand, you completely underestimated this. The people like me who’re lambasting you with comment is due to the fact we love your brand, for the fact that it stood out (despite the lack of modernity with lossless/HiFi formats, missing HDMI etc) and it was a sound investment. Buying a Sonos was a safe purchase, the support was good, the long life and continual updates meant we felt our money went further than the competition. Do Samsung get this about of reaction when they mothball their latest audio solution? No, because nobody is passionate about their kit and everybody expects the corporate behemoth to drop support. Don’t do this.
- The Play 3’s and Play 1’s in my system, and the heart of my lounge my Playbar/Sub 5.1 system, am I to presume they’re dead soon enough? At what point do I just jettison everything Sonos? Communicate with fixed dates, in advance.
Now, the more pragmatic point:
- Features, let’s talk about them. I can’t recall a single feature over and above how my product operated the day I bought it (I own 9 devices, the Connect is my only legacy, for now...) that I would care about losing - Trueplay, Voice assistant, whatever… take them all back. Just leave me my room settings and an EQ. I think I speak for many in saying, we don’t care for features, we want a solid working system, a reliable one with a good UI.
- Services, here is the meat of this. All I want from Sonos and again I think I speak for many is a guarantee they you will work to continue supporting the major streaming services for the working life of the product, that is, until it dies. If I never received a single feature again but felt safe in the knowledge that my Tidal/SoundCloud/Spotify/TuneIN services would continue to operate without issue, I wouldn’t mind hearing that from Sonos at all!
I’d welcome thoughts!