I had cause to visit my local Audi Dealership today at Cheshire Oaks earlier today. I’ve been considering a new car for some time and thought that today might just be the day.
During my visit the customer service I received wasn’t what I would consider up to scratch – I was made to feel like I was there for the their benefit and they didn’t seem to care about me as an individual. At the point I was told that I could either wait 45 minutes while the salesman finished the other quotes he had to do (and then do mine) or could have my quote e-mailed to me really annoyed me ….. so I left.
This experience made me start to question how important is customer service when accessing technology. If you want technology badly enough would you put up with poor customer service.
Take Apple as a casing point. I’m always been blown away by the level of service that I receive whenever I have cause to speak to Apple – but would I still want that new iPad, iPhone 5 or accessory if the company didn’t make me feel special?
I return to Audi, the reality is I probably still do want to get an Audi – but i’d be unlikely to purchase it at Audi Cheshire Oaks. My instinct as a customer is to shop at an outlet where I get the best customer service. I guess this is fine for a large company, but what about smaller organisations – if they are they only vendors of a product not shopping with them could be cutting your nose to spite your face.
Would you buy something from an organisation that had annoyed you or didn’t value you as a customer?
I have worked for several years with developers and designers; arguments often rage between the two groups about what’s more important design or functionality.
It’s also interesting to put clients into this mix. When demonstrating a new system it always fascinates me how end users react. Typically if the system “looks” visually stunning functional deficiencies will be overlooked by the end user – but presenting a system that is functionally perfect without a stunning design often leads to disappointment.
Steve Jobs was notorious for placing huge value on the aesthetics of a product, this is evident in products like the iPhone and the iPad – but does this mean that design is more important than function?
It seems apparent that users like to use systems that feel superior – the human race is notorious for being a little shallow at times and traditionally place a lot of emphasis on the first impression – I guess this is also true of products and product design. In this sense design isn’t necessarily “more” important than functionality but it is incredibly important to always give a good first impression.
To realise that this is true you only need to look at the shock reaction when Susan Boyle demonstrated she had an outstanding voice – or the day that Paul Potts aced his audition. An assumption had been made in both cases that because they didn’t look like traditional pop stars they were not going to be able to sing.
I wonder how many websites have suffered this fate – functionally brilliant but simply didn’t live up to design expectation. What’s you view? Can superior functionality ever live up to expectation without quality design?
Bill Gates Once Said
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
Over recent years automation has become a feature of day to day life and our lives are now often assisted or even controlled by technology.
A prime example of this is an automatic toilet found on many high streets. After each use the toilet is programmed to clean itself saving thousands of pounds on maintenance and is arguably more hygienic because it is cleaned after every use.
It occurs to me that automated systems are no longer reserved for the world of the production line and that the general public are now the largest consumer base for automated systems – how many things are automated, for example in your house? Central Heating? Oven Timer? Lights? ….. if you think about it you can probably compile quite a long list.
My favourite example is Auto Cleaner – the automatic vacuum cleaner (iTorchless 2009). The robot can be placed in a room and periodically will detach itself from the base unit, vacuum the floor taking care to go round corners and avoid obstacles. When the task is complete the machine will re-dock and perform the task again a few hours later.
The question that I think we must ask ourselves is what would happen if some of this technology went wrong? I guess an automated light failing to switch on wouldn’t be particularly drastic, but what if your heating failed to switch on in the middle of winter leading to a burst pipe?
This begs the question ….. are we becoming too reliant on technology to assist with our every day lives? What do you think?