If they’re selling an experience, why are they treating me like that?

There are times when it’s difficult to separate a product from its surrounding experience. When that happens, it’s critical that both the product and the experience are good enough to lure the customer back for more. A failure in either element can adversely affect the ultimate success of the business.

Whilst products can be designed and supplied to a fixed specification with defined limits, experiences can be more difficult to reproduce. There is a danger that overly-prescribed experiences can leave the customer feeling “processed” rather than being treated as an individual. Front-line staff need to understand the effect they can have on the customer experience. And Head Office staff need to give them the freedom to deliver that individual experience, rather than insisting on following an efficient process.
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“Just” is a four-letter word

When we, as Product Managers, use the word “just” to describe a feature we want, we’re subtly (or not so subtly) telling the implementers how we judge its size and/ or complexity.

  • Can’t it just sort the results and display them with the most relevant first?
  • Can’t you just make it slimmer and lighter so it’s easier to hold?
  • Can’t you just move Phase 2 earlier so it’s almost like a Phase 1b?

By using the J-word, we lose credibility.

  • We demonstrate that we’re not familiar with the problem.
  • We show that we don’t trust the implementers to give us the right answer or to do the right thing.

And the one thing we don’t want to lose is our credibility because it stops those around us from believing in us, believing in what they’re doing, and going the extra mile to deliver for us.

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Product essentials: Emotional appeal and powerful words

Great products create emotional attachments. Designers who recognise this and who create that customer bond are likely to have a success on their hands. Those products are easy to market because customers (or users) respond more readily to product benefits than to product features.

Neglecting this key requirement during the product definition phase leaves too much for the marketing team to do, and creates unrealistic expectations that they will somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat.

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