Has this ever happened to you?
You need to hire a service so you GOOGLE it and find a list of providers. Instead of calling them, you send a message to them via their website. Eventually, someone contacts you, via anti-social media, maybe even several someones, and after a few back-and-forth messages, you break down and call them. Expert hired.
Here is my story.
I need to get the oil changed in my SUV. I contacted the local Toyota dealer and a local service center I’ve used before via their online appointment scheduling app. This is what happened to me and at the end of the process, it struck me how ineffective and inefficient it was.
- The Toyota dealer has not contacted me after 2 days
- The service center did call me, but 4 hours later
- I called the service center I typically use and talked to Josh. He knew me and was able to find my information quickly and we set the appointment for Saturday morning. Done in 2 minutes which is less time than it took me to complete the forms on the other 2 websites.
What does this have to do with Product Management and Product Launches?
The answer is – A GREAT DEAL! This is a perfect example of form overcoming the function of an activity.
- The activity is scheduling an appointment.
- The form in this case was an actual “form” on a website
- The function of the form was to get an appointment. It failed.
- Talk to people. Your customers are not companies, corporations, governments or communities. Your customers are people. The primary inter-personal communication tool is voice. Use Bell’s invention and the 2 minute conversation will contain more information and meta-data than a dozen e-mails or text messages.
- Do not expect social media to replace human interaction UNLESS instant gratification can be ensured. In my example above, if those websites would have let me schedule the appointment in real-time, then the Toyota dealer or the first service center would have my business. They didn’t and they lost.
- Lesson #3 is written for me but you are free to use it. Remembering lessons #1 and #2 will make life simpler and more productive.