The Consumer View of Technology

3 AM November 27, 2007

Well, it’s after lunch, and straight into The Consumer View of Technology by Steve Ellis and Cherie Carbines from OpenMedia, a New Zealand company that’s build a MythTV based PVR.

There seems to be problems around communicating with customers. Both explicit and implicit communication needs to be clear.

  • There’s many ways to mis-communicate with customers. Moral: be careful.
    • One of OpenMedia’s early case designs looked like an amplifier so customers were confused and thought it was an amplifier.
    • Another example: broadcasters in NZ advertised “High Resolution” services and customers thought it meant “High Definition”, but it wasn’t.
    • OpenMedia’s literature said the hardware was based on a standard PC, so some customers were planning to use the PVR as their PC.
    • Be careful what you promise to customers when they request features. Even if you can deliver, you might have a world of pain supporting it.
    • Don’t be afraid to say what your product doesn’t do. It can save a lot of disappointing confusion for your customers.
    • When selling a new piece of hardware, product lifetime is a customer’s consideration. We expect fridges to last 10 years. Phones we only expect to last a few years. Is your new product a fridge or a phone?
  • Eye candy is important for sales. Quote: “Blue lights sell products.”
  • Even the cheapest routers come with 24×7 support.
    • Do you want to put out a product that customers expect 24×7 support with?
    • Email and web support don’t work. People want to talk to People.
    • Poor support can ruin your reputation. (Cue clips from The IT Crowd)
  • Customers expect a printed manual, in the box. Pictures are helpful for the 20% of customers that read the docs. But too much documentation is intimidating.

BYAG means “Because You’re A Geek”. Consumers are your bread and butter, not the geeks.

Great talk. Valuable content that can be applied to online apps too.

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