When is a phone not a phone…?

This post is by Rob Cameron

 When is a phone not a phone…?

Answer: When it is an Apple iPhone 3GS running on IOS 4.xx

Over the past few weeks, well probably couple of months now, I have been having a lot of issues with my iPhone 3GS. With an amazing and frankly annoying regularity it takes it upon itself to crash and reboot during telephone calls since I have upgraded to the IOS 4.xx operating system. Not very good when its key feature is to be a phone! I can get all of the other gizmos and apps on an iPod Touch right?
Now, having been plagued with this for a while, I decided to do a bit of research to see if I was alone, if there was a fix or what the advice was. I was not prepared for what I found; I was one of literally thousands of people who have the same issue. The tone on the forums spoke volumes for the annoyance that people had with this issue, but the longer the forums get and thus the longer this issue goes on unfixed the more vitriolic the posts are becoming as it would seem Apple are either unaware of the issue or are not doing anything about it. Now, I for one would seriously consider any further purchase from Apple given the perceived lack of response on this ‘hygeine’ issue. iPhone, there is a clue in the name. Spleen vented.
However, it did get me thinking about the whole arena of customer service, customer expectation and quality of products/services.

First the theory bit?
I will make reference to the Kano Model for this bit. I have already mentioned ‘hygiene’ above.
In Kano terminology the ‘hygiene’ functions or attributes are the things that a customer expects to be present. Generally referred to as basic or threshold attributes. For me that is a phone that is actually able to make and maintain a phone call. These things offer little opportunity to get customer satisfaction, they are expected after all, but if they are not present or do not meet the expectation they can lead to high levels of dissatisfaction.

Next up on the list are performance functions or attributes. These are the things if done better produce better satisfaction or done badly produce more dissatisfaction. Selling price and satisfaction will be closely linked to how well your product or service delivers these attributes. You can use these to differentiate your product or service. An example here might be the fuel economy of a car or the speed to deliver your product.

The final category often referred to are the excitement or surprise & delight features or attributes. These are things that the customer is likely to be unaware of any need for, if you can identify any “unknown” needs you are likely to get very high levels of satisfaction. If you cannot, well, it is likely to have little impact as the customer is not aware of wanting them. These really do provide an excellent opportunity to gain competitive advantage, if you can identify them.

OK So what does it mean to you?
A few questions for you to consider.
What are the expectations of your customer or target customer for you product or service?
How well does your product meet those basic expectations?
What attributes or features of your product or service differentiate you from your competition?
What attributes or features, if you could deliver them better would increase customer satisfaction?
What is not meeting your customers’ expectations of your product/service?

To answer these you will certainly need to know your target customer, their needs and wants. How will you do that? You also need to monitor the feedback that you get to adapt or change your product where it does not meet expectation. Remember, it is often stated that one disatisfied customer typically tells ten to twelve others about their ‘experience’. 

More questions than answers here then. Food for thought.

Written by Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is a Business Coach, passionate about helping business owners to grow and develop their businesses to achieve the lifestyle they desire. Founder & owner of Ignition Coaching.

One Response to “When is a phone not a phone…?”

  • I suppose this is price we pay for overcomplicating issues. In my youth, I had a 125cc motorcyle, but the manufacturers in their wisdom installed an ‘engine management system’ – it was forever faulty – cut out the engine a few times, gave away the bike.

    I guess we might do well at times to recall John Major’s (remember him) dictum ‘back to basics’.

    Leave simple things be. If you really must bling up everyday objects, perfect your technology before unleashing your add on on the paying customer

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