He references the following picture that he saw while driving around his town the other day.
His contention is that, when you are asking for a great level of trust (such as turning your kids over to someone) you need to present an image worthy of that trust.
I couldn’t agree more. I think that the first step toward earning this trust, no matter the context, is quality design.
Too often, people/companies create something like that sign for their website, their marketing collateral, their tradeshow booth, or numerous other things. They make something functional, rather than appealing.
Is that sign functional? Absolutely. It tells you the number to call if you need childcare with weekend pickup. It functions to give passerby the message the owner wants to distribute. But, by simply being functional, the sign fails to build a level of trust necessary to achieve the outcome the owner may hope for.
It’s the same with all other parts of your business. You can build a website that “gets the job done.” Or, you can put the time in to make something that presents the image that you can be trusted. Plus, that same level of design can go beyond simply trust and become desire. It can take someone from feeling comfortable at the thought of working with you to wanting to work with you.
Sure, there’s more to it than than as the relationship builds, and you’ll have to keep earning that trust, but that’s the first step. Like they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Do you really want that impression to be “functional” or “good enough?”
Seth has an incredible knack for making people think. That’s why he’s so good at what he does. When I read that post, it made me think that “making your customers’ dreams come true” is a great way to succeed, but it takes a special person/group/company to do it.
I think that too many people/groups/companies stop short of doing this…to their detriment. It’s so easy to say that, “My industry isn’t one that people dream about,” or, “We don’t do have a product that people equate with that level of excitement.” They use that as a reason to be satisfied with ok, or even good.
The problem is that there’s another person/group/company right behind them that IS hungry enough to grab that goal of making their customers’ dreams come true and they’re going to pass you up soon if you ignore them.
It’s easy to figure that your customers are happy enough with what you do, so you don’t need to change. The problem is, if they’re “happy enough,” they’re not happy enough to not leave if a better offer comes along.
It takes a person/group/company that is dedicated to making their customers’ dreams come true to keep them from looking to satisfy those dreams elsewhere.
While the statement is really an elegant way to keep you focused on your customer’s question of, “What’s in it for me?” it’s something that’s easy to forget and hard to get back once you remember it.
When they switched to AT&T as their provider, they made a big announcement and promotion about how now iPhone users could use their wifi for free for two hours per day.
Great idea. In my opinion, the fact that they charge for wifi at all is a bit ridiculous, but reasonable people can disagree with that one.
I have, on many occasions, tried to use the “free” wifi at Starbucks and never once succeeded.
Why? It takes too long.
When you’re talking about a service for a mobile phone, how do you think most people will tend to use it? Probably to quick check the news or their email while they’re waiting in line for their $4 cup of coffee. Sure, there are people that will sit and use up their whole two hours, but I’m guessing that most people are just using a few minutes while they’re in the store in the morning.
But, at Starbucks, you have to go through an entire login process before you can even use the wifi. By that time, I usually just say, “forget it, I’ll do it later.”
Is this nitpicking? Maybe, but in my mind, if a company is built on experience, then the experience should be consistent. Putting a barrier in people’s way for something as simple as wifi seems to me to fall outside the type of experience that Starbucks should be working toward.
Filed under: Business
It’s not the fact that film is on its last leg.
It’s not the fact that digital is taking over the world.
It’s not even the fact that their products are worse than anyone else.
It’s their service.
I called yesterday to get some help with a printer. I went through all the steps to troubleshoot myself before calling. I even got an email from them saying that it wasn’t something I could fix myself. The email gave a number to me to call with a code for a replacement or repair.
I called, went through the process with the rep, but stopped short of actually getting a solution because I wasn’t in front of my printer so I couldn’t give him the service number that was printed on the printer.
He said to call back tomorrow (now today) with the number and my shipping address and they would get it taken care of.
So, I called today, believing that this would be a quick process…give them the number, my address, done.
After going through basically the same process with the new rep as the one yesterday, he said they would send me a new printer with a new print head. Then came the address. After no less than six repetitions he had my address.
Then he asked for a credit card. Mind you, this was at the 27 minute mark. And, it was for a product of THEIRS that was broken. So, I asked why they needed a credit card. He said that it was in case I didn’t return the old printer.
I said I would prefer not to give them a credit card, so he went to check with his supervisor what to do. No lie, 20 MINUTES LATER he came back on the line. No checking in during the long hold, nothing. Just waiting for another 20 minutes…to tell me that I had to send the old one back first.
So, fed up, I said I’d give him my credit card just to get this over with. I said I’d like to use a Discover. The reply – “Is that a Mastercard or Visa?” No, it’s a Discover, do you take it? “Let me check with my manager.”
Another 6 minutes on hold.
No, they don’t take Discover. Fine, here’s my MasterCard number….six times to get THAT right after repeating it over and over.
Then, “I’m going to go confirm this with my manager.” Another five minutes.
Total call time – 59:17…to get a replacement for their crappy product that broke.
Epson is looking pretty good right now!
Filed under: Business
I know that Amazon is doing well with the Kindle and they are promoting it so well that this Christmas it’s next to impossible to find one. So, doing something to expand Kindle adoption may not be in the forefront of their mind, but I had an idea that I think would be pretty cool and push me over the edge.
This morning I was thinking on my way to work (that happens when you’ve got to drive through a foot of snow to get to a road that’s been plowed)…”Why haven’t I bought a Kindle yet?”
Sure, there’s the price thing, but I love reading so much that I could find a way to justify it.
I think one of the biggest reasons I haven’t bought one yet is that I have a HUGE backlog of books I want to read on my bookshelf already. I would hate to have to re-purchase all those books in order to take full advantage of the Kindle. But, if I don’t, what’s the point in having one?
Then it dawned on me.
What if Amazon had a deal for new Kindle owners? What if they said, “Buy a Kindle and if you send us books you already own, we’ll replace them with the Kindle version”? Then, Amazon can sell those paper copies as “used” books on their website.
Sure, there’d be some big issues with the publishers and the logistics. (I like to think of myself as more of a big picture guy! HA!) I know that putting a program like this in place would be tough, but how cool would that be?
I, for one, would definitely use a program like this to buy and fill a Kindle and use THAT for my reading going forward.
Everyone knows what buyer’s remorse is. Whether they are in business or not, they understand the concept. They may look at it from the other side of the coin, but they get it.
I have had many cases of buyer’s remorse in my life and I expect to have many more. So many times, I’ve bought something and (occasionally right afterwards) felt, “Boy, I really shouldn’t have bought that. Sometimes that leads to me keeping the product, sometimes not…but suffice it to say, I’ve felt it.
New Egg, in my opinion, has a handle on a great solution for that remorse.
I recently bought a Drobo for backing up my computer at home. As an aside, if you don’t have one of these yet…you need one. So, I ordered the Drobo and then a couple of 500 GB hard drives from New Egg.
Now, there wasn’t much chance that I was going to return those because I needed them, but there was always the possibility that I would change my mind and go with a different brand. Or scrap the Drobo idea completely and return the whole lot. But, it was unlikely.
New Egg, though, didn’t know that.
A few days after my drives showed up I got an email from New Egg. The subject line said, in essence that my product had either recently won or been nominated for an industry/consumer award. (Don’t remember exactly what it was, so I probably shouldn’t have deleted the email. Oh well) Then the email went on to explain the award and some comments about the product.
How great is that?
If someone started to get uneasy about their choice, here comes New Egg to say, “Hey, you made a great choice. This group is so confident in the choice you made they gave it an award. You are so smart.” Ok, so they left the last part off…but you get the idea.
Now, this obviously is contingent on a product ACTUALLY winning an award, which they won’t all do. But, New Egg sees the opportunity presented by the product winning an award and uses it to help THEIR business.
Very well done New Egg. Keep it up.
Filed under: Business
I don’t claim to understand all the ins and outs of the financial market. Believe me, if you looked at my checkbook I’m the LAST person you’d want making the country’s financial decisions.
I did come across an interesting post at the Brains on Fire blog today that I think helps put some of the fears in perspective.
One statement really stood out for me:
“Obviously banks have the attention of their customers like never before. So now what? What do people want and need to hear? What are they longing to learn?“
It really puts a positive spin on the whole situation and I think that it’s attitudes like this that build successes.
Think back to the 1929 crash. Sure, lots of people lost LOTS of money. People killed themselves over the situation. Everything was chaos. But, there were people that were steady, used it as an opportunity and stayed the course. They came out of a terrible situation VERY well.
I think that reframing how people look at situations can often be the difference between success and failure. Often, the successes are found in looking at the situation through a different pair of eyes. It’s the concept of zigging while everyone else zags.
I don’t mean this to minimize the current situation at all. I know there are people in incredible amounts of pain right now. But, I also think that for some people, with the stomach to look at the situation differently, it’s a great opportunity.
As the post says, people are paying attention to banks right now. Something they may have never done. What can those banks do with that attention to ensure that they come out one of the successes?
How can we apply that to our businesses when we’ve got people’s attention – whether good or bad?
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about branding and what it means to truly build a brand.
One thing that I keep coming back to is having that guiding star in branding. That one thing that you use to make any business decision. The thing that drives all other activities.
For example, you probably already know the story about the President at Southwest refusing to sign on to anything that didn’t match their goal to be THE low cost airline.
The more I look at it, the more I see the importance of such a focus on your true mission, your ultimate goal.
The problem is that too many companies build cognitive dissonance into their every day practices. Cognitive dissonance (according to Wikipedia) is “an uncomfortable feeling or stress caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.”
So, how does this play out?
It’s the company saying they stand for customer service and making decisions that will make things difficult or confusing for their customers but easy for the company.
It’s the company saying they save you money, but aren’t the lowest price.
It’s any number of things that illustrate to the customer that you don’t practice what you preach.
Customers can spot fake. They know when you’re not doing what you say. They won’t be fooled.
Sure, it’s not easy, but doing the right thing never is.
Filed under: Business
By now, you probably know about the activation problems people are having with both new and original iPhones today.
I’m sure it will sort itself out and everything will get back to normal, but I think that one of the causes of this problem is greed/arrogance on the part of Apple. I don’t mean financial greed…they’re going to get their money. I mean “spotlight greed.”
Apple had to know that there would be a rush for people buying the 3G iPhones.
They also had to know that there would be a rush for 1st Gen. iPhone owners upgrading to the 2.0 firmware.
Why wouldn’t they release firmware a week ago, or earlier this week and then release the new phone today? That would certainly save the stress on their servers and make things run more smoothly.
The answer is they wanted the chaos.
They want the event.
Now, I am all for building excitement and making a PR event out of a product launch – especially a product launch like an iPhone. I just think that with the pushback that many people have been giving to the new contract terms to get the phone, the last thing Apple needed was for something like this to happen.
Add to that the fact that people who happened to find the new 2.0 software early and install before Apple’s official release are having no problems and I can see how some people would be upset with Apple.
But, on the other hand, it’s Apple. In a week, no one will care and they will go back to worshiping the ground that Steve Jobs walks on.
Today, I saw this article and it made me think about what an opportunity Amazon was missing.
So, now, we have Netflix.
And we have the Netflix of magazines.
Why isn’t Amazon fighting to become the Netflix of books?
Think about it. They have a device that can make delivery of the books quick and easy. They have the inventory of books available. Why not (as Seth suggests) make a subscription service for books? Basically, copy the Netflix business model for their books.
Not only does it tie people tighter to Amazon, but it would certainly boost sales of the Kindle.
It just seems that people/businesses are scrambling to be the “Netflix of [their industry]” and the one company that would seem like the best fit for the business model is completely ignoring the opportunity.