FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a feeling of anxiety or regret that arises when someone believes that they might miss out on an opportunity. It’s often used to persuade people to make impulsive decisions based on the perceived fear of missing out, possibly to the extent of even triggering irrational buying behaviours.

Telcos and OSS/BSS vendors alike are known to use FOMO to help indecisive or undecided customers to buy something, perhaps a new mobile phone plan or the next generation of software.


Some might think that it sounds sinister for sellers to use psychological factors like this to prey on buyers. To convince buyers to purchase products or services they don’t really want or need. In some cases this is true. In the case of complex telco software solutions, it’s less of a tactic and more of an essential technique to keep the procurement process moving. There is so much fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) on almost every new OSS/BSS investment that it’s incredibly rare for a buyer to NOT be wracked with uncertainty.

The Challenge of Choosing an OSS/BSS Solution: FOMO Tactics

There are so many variables, so many different ways of implementation and products that are quite differentiated, not to mention complicated pricing models. In many cases, there’s no obvious standout single way forward even if there is a clear best-fit product or vendor. There’s different sizing, levels of configuration, modules, integrations, process designs, data and reporting, etc. These factors all make it incredibly difficult for a buyer to choose.

In fact, there’s generally so much uncertainty on these deals that FOMO selling tactics can actually exacerbate analysis paralysis. FOMO can actually slow the buying process down rather than speed it up. 


And yet, in the case of OSS/BSS solutions, there are few innate time-based constraints that FOMO needs to tap into. The fear of missing out is generally a synthetic mechanism, such as, “pricing goes up at the end of the week.” Obvious, direct time constraints that justify the FOMO technique tend to be quite rare. It’s not like there’s a shortage of stock (software is replicable) or short shelf-life (software doesn’t rot like fresh produce). Moreover, OSS/BSS buying progressions can take months to conclude without major consequences. 

FOMO vs FOMU: Understanding Buyer's Fear in Choosing OSS/BSS Solutions

However, there are some natural time-based situations that should generate fear. One example is when the buyer’s existing solution is failing and its effects are felt throughout the operation of the business. If viewed through the lens of opportunity cost, then there almost always should be a time-based fear. The costs of using an inferior, outdated or inefficient OSS/BSS can be huge. Unfortunately, these fear metrics are intangible because they’re difficult to quantify or validate. Unless synthesised, FOMO is rarely the fear that most buyer decision-makers feel.


The fear that does cause buyers to lose sleep is FOMU, not FOMO. FOMU is the Fear of Messing Up. 

The opportunity cost of not replacing the OSS/BSS could run into millions of dollars a year for the organisation. That’s a FOMO for the company. But when viewed through the eyes of the decision-maker, a person, that opportunity cost probably doesn’t influence their paycheck. 


Alternatively, the Fear of Messing Up is far more tangible for the decision-maker. Not just the fear of choosing the right OSS/BSS tool, but ensuring the transformation project runs smoothly. If either of those fail then the decision-maker’s credibility, and even tenure at the company, could be at significant risk.

This is amplified if the decision-maker only makes OSS/BSS buying decisions infrequently and/or is not an expert on them. 


The moral of the story is to dial down the FOMU. FOMU reduction should be a higher priority than the typical approach of dialling up the FOMO.

That is, making it easier for the decision-maker to decide. Reducing the risks of the buying decision. Reducing the risks of the implementation project. Growth comes from change and change triggers fears in the people approving change that goes outside their comfort zones. 

There are many techniques used for reducing FOMU for your important stakeholders. Ask us to show you (or your key decision makers) how to reduce FOMU.