I recently fell victim to an over complicated product. I was in charge of putting together a swing for my 2 year old nephew. If you are a parent, aunt or uncle, you know my pain. It got me thinking, ‘Why do things have to be so difficult?’ Whether you are installing software, connecting gaming consoles, or assembling furniture, few things turn off customers more than a product that takes too long to set up.
How do you know if your product is too complicated?
- Your installation process has more than 3 steps (3 min before using): I bought an Xbox 360 for Christmas, and I was so turned off simply because of the installation process. 6 different wires and plugs, and connect A to A, B to B, HDMI, AC power, etc. It was a nightmare. Then once it was finally up, I couldn’t even play a game without downloading the rest of the software, creating a Microsoft profile, and connecting my Skype/Facebook profile. Really? Just to play some Madden? The entire process took over an hour and a half. Regardless to say it was a terrible user experience. Apple does a better job as their products come completely ready to use and fully charged out of the box. Just turn it on, and you are ready to go.
Fix It by giving your customers the best user experience when they are most excited to use your product.
- Your user manual needs binding: If your user manual is so long that you need to make multiple booklets, no one is going to read it. When you buy a new product, you want to start using it as soon as possible. If your customers have to spend hours reading the manual to understand the setup, they would rather return your product and choose a less complicated one. I had an old Ford growing up, and to change the clock radio I had hold down 3 different buttons and honk the horn. There is too much competition now to have a bad, non-intuitive product.
Fix it by putting all the background features and functionality in the background. Make the user interface simple and obvious.
- Your customer service reps are explaining the product rather than resolving issues: The first thing your customers will do when they get stuck during installation is call your customer rep. For you, that more costs, resources, training, benefits, etc. Customer Service should be there for edge cases, and real problems. Not installation 101.
Fix it (see bullets above)
- Low adoption and returns: Do your products show a low adoption rate that keeps on plummeting? Are most of your products being returned because your clients aren’t satisfied with the performance? If you answered yes to those questions, then your products are too complicated and most likely zoomed.
Fix it, simplify! Simplify! Simplify!
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