In today’s world of instant gratification, everything seems to be about being the first. As consumers of new gadgets, and services, we all seem to value gaining access to a new device, application or service NOW, even if it means it’s riddled with bugs.
In the industry’s constant strive towards a shorter and shorter time to market (or time to revenue) we have learned to accept that launching a product is priority no. 1 and that bugs get fixed in various updates along the way. As consumers we also know that going with the first version of pretty much anything involves a risk. Just life, right ?
What about the quality of experience when we use a service or device the first time ? Personally, I belong to a generation that was used to maybe waiting a little longer in return for getting it right. Launching a telecommunications service followed detailed processes that involved extensive testing and cross testing to make absolutely sure that everything worked when the product was released. Now, these processes are considered outdated and to some degree, a direct hindrance to competitive operations.
Of course, there are situations where it’s possible to be “too early to market” (remember what carriers paid for the first 3G licenses some 10 years ago ?) but with today’s end user services and applications, speed is often everything.
The question of course is, how to find the balance between speed and quality and how to realise speed gain in organisations that are completely used (and geared) to turning out new services in anything between 12 to 18 months ? We all know very well how hard it is to get a user back to a service once they’ve had a bad experience, not to mention the bad word of mouth marketing that will affect the willingness of others to even try it. So, what can realistically be done?
One thing of course, is to get things right the first time around. Making sure that when new services are designed or old ones are upgraded, they are built “to specification”. The “specification” in this case would be a true understanding of the market or market segment(s) a service is meant to serve. Understanding exactly how to design a service based on precise knowledge of common capabilities of the device pool and any emerging or existing trends in the target market, should effectively address the real needs as well as cut down the testing requirements. Most importantly this will help to eliminate those disappointing first experiences and generate a growing group of users who spread the good news of a great mobile service.
So, implementing a good customer experience management solution is probably one of the cornerstones in gaining the agility and responsiveness required to address new market trends and needs.
I am still a firm believer that most people will choose a good product that meets their needs and works well from the first try, over something else, just because it was there first.