NOTA AICEX: dopo aver discusso di come Steve Jobs “non ascoltava” i desideri dei suoi clienti, ecco una visione diametralmente opposta. I vostri clienti ne sanno molto più di voi.
Do you remember the first day you realized that your customers knew more than you, that they had expert knowledge that you lacked?
It was probably a humbling and, I hope, teachable moment (with you as the teachee), leading you to think about how to build a customer experience in our age of information.
Auto dealers have had these encounters for years with obsessive gearheads who come armed with stats beyond anything a salesman has time to research or rebut.
But now, for all of us in every field of commerce, the advent of Google and the transportability of Google via mobile phones has turned your garden variety customer into an expert. Simply through the power of the customer’s thumbs. And soon, with Google Glass, through the power of the customer’s augmented eyeballs.
To illustrate, let’s cast me as the customer, rather than as service provider or customer experience designer, for a moment. What follows is a true story. Only the names have been, you know.
One Saturday morning I found myself trekking to the guitar store uptown because I needed strings for a ‘‘Baby Taylor.’’ (A Baby Taylor is a more portable version of a standard acoustic guitar.)
The clerk, who was knowledgeable in an approximate sort of way, told me he thought that medium-gauge, full-length guitar strings would work well: just cut off the excess length as needed to make them fit the ‘‘baby.’’ I had a hunch that his answer might be incomplete, and I vaguely wondered why the clerk didn’t look in his system for Taylor’s ‘‘manufacturer’s stringing recommendation’’ before advising me. I didn’t wonder for long, though, before turning the issue over to my iPhone. With just a few thumb strokes—‘‘What kind of strings should I use on my Baby Taylor?’’—
I found an official, enthusiastically detailed description of which strings to use and why the decision matters:
[Here at Taylor,] we install light-gauge Elixir NANOWEB strings (.012 on high E) on Baby Taylors. We recommend you stick with lights when you replace them . . . our ever-vigilant repair guys, who are the ultimate judges of what works and doesn’t work on our guitars. . . [say that] using anything but light-gauge strings puts too much . . . ‘‘pull’’ on a Baby, [and] the intonation and one’s ability to keep them in tune become problematic.
Thus, by using self-service to address my situation as a customer, a very particular situation (probably only one out of hundreds of guitars that come into that store each year is a Baby Taylor), I found the precise answer that potentially saved my guitar from never sounding quite right.
In many service situations, it’s inevitable that the customer knows key information himself, feels he knows it himself, or has more time to invest in addressing his own situation than the human service provider does.
So what to do? Well, accept the situation. Figure out the areas where you can still exceed your customers in knowledge or,perhaps more likely, awareness and depth of sensibility. (I can read the GQ Guide To Men’s Style on my iphone til I’m blue in the eyes, but my saleswoman at Nordstrom still knows better than I that “Papaya and Neptune are great colors for you in jeans, Micah,” [thank you, Joanne Hassis at the King of Prussia, PA Nordstrom] because she has a better awareness of me than I do myself.)
In a more tech centered situation, like the Apple Genius Bar, the solution is to be as up to the minute as possible (if you’re a Genius) but also to unabashedly consult your resources – tech bulletins and so forth- rather than risk giving your customer inaccurate, inopportune, or incomplete information — just for the sake of looking like you’re able to steer without using your hands.