Once organisations have discovered that delivering what their customer has ordered is the first step towards giving them a great experience, then they are ready to take the next step. At this point they usually ask what further services can be offered to potential customers to differentiate themselves from their competitors; which quickly becomes a list of features and benefits.
Let me give you an example:
This weekend, my son was showing off his new phone. It was the size and weight of a brick. I suddenly realised why there is a fashion amongst young men to exhibit the top few inches of their pants (considering the number of times Calvin Klein and Dolce and Gabbana waistbands have been flashed at me and I hadn’t realised why!). It is because their phones are so heavy that gravity is continually pulling their trousers towards the ground! It’s nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with technology. Keen to find out more I asked him to explain why his phone was so much better than mine.
Apparently it can wake him up in the morning, when he can check Twitter, Facebook and his e-mails before he gets out of bed. He can set off for University guided by GPS and use the internet, which considering he cycles to lectures must be dangerous. Texts are no problem using the tiny keyboard, and anything of visual interest can be attached as a photo or video. He can even video-call me via Skype if I’m online.
Is this is what all new phones are like? Is this is what I am to expect when I change my handset?
I started to hyperventilate. I only want to make phone calls! An answer machine is useful but I don’t want all these other things. I want to use my phone to talk; if I wanted to text I’d buy a typewriter. Most importantly I don’t want the world to know that my underpants are from Asda-Walmart, made by George!
To compound the issue, my phone provider recently offered me 300 free texts per month. I told them I really only wanted a contract for making phone calls, so they could knock off the 300 texts and do me an even better deal. Alas, I was told they didn’t do this and I would have to have the service, texts and all.
Often organisations fail to distinguish between customer service and customer experience. They give their customer the service whether or not they want it. They operate from their perspective rather than viewing the interaction from their customer’s perspective. Only when they are able to put themselves in my position and tailor what they can offer to what I want are they attending to my customer experience. So a phone that is just a phone… is this too much to ask for?