Products should make your customers’ lives better, easier, and more rewarding. Your adoration for your product should be directly correlated to how well it serves your customer – not for how cool it is, for the features it has, or how it looks. Loving a product for cool factor, features, and looks is like being attracted to an individual for their appearance not the person they are. If there isn’t substance underlying the attraction, the relationship will not last.
If you love your product, love it for its qualities that integrate to deliver an exceptional user experience. If it is an app, love it for it’s speed, for how simple it is to use, and for all the things you wanted to put in it but didn’t. Love your product for what it does, how it does it, and the benefit it provides to your customers.
When you are designing and building your product, every product decision should be weighed with respect to how it affects the customer experience. Test your hypotheses with real customers, gain insight, and make changes based on what you learn. Not what customers say – you need to find deeper truths about the relationships that customers have with your products than what they are aware of and are capable of telling you.
Many of you, right now, are thinking about Apple, Inc. Apple recently released the iPhone5 and yes, it is cool, has many features, and looks great. And if you ever watch an Apple product announcement, it’s evident that Apple clearly loves its products. But Apple loves their products because of the customer experiences they deliver - Apple builds customer experiences disguised as products.
This customer-first thinking extends far beyond traditional products. Design experiences not only for the products you are selling, but for your marketing products as well. Think about your website: was it designed with customer experience in mind or was it designed with on the basis of “it would be so cool if we could do this, that, the other thing?” Most are the result of the latter.
What about your videos? Do you have music playing in the background while you demo your product on video? I hope not!
How about your blog posts? Are you serving up a meal mostly made of link bait or offering original thought and real value that customers’ can use? Better still, are they entertained at the same time?
Now take the word “customer” and extend it to internal customers, such as your sales reps. Apply it to external partners, and look at all your company’s touch points with these folks. Are the experiences making their lives, and work, better, easier, more rewarding? This is your source of competitive advantage.
Yes – what I am getting at is that a company culture anchored in true customer first thinking is your greatest asset in today’s business environment.
Call me if you would like to learn more (831) 239-6745.
Also, if you are designing customer experiences, I would love to hear about them. Leave comments below or tweet me @andrewmueller.
Author’s Note: I’d like to thank Tyler Young and Galen O’Hanlon the genius' behind Plastic Trophy for inspiring this post. Tyler and Galen designed and built this website for me and I am very excited about. This site breaks from traditional website thinking and focuses on the customer experience. The process of working with Galen and Tyler has expanded my thinking of what “customer-first” really means. If you would like to see more of Galen and Tyler’s work, check out Wigglehop.
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