Its a short read – only 137 numbered pages in all, but the content is powerful. It correctly states that satisfied customers are not enough for a business to thrive. It sets a goal of generating Raving Fans and present 3 basic rules which can help any business achieve that goal.
The rules are:
- Decide What You Want
- Discover What The Customer Wants
- Deliver The Vision Plus One Percent
It is not quite that simple of course – and the rest of the book expands on these rules quite a bit. It boils down to this:
Deciding what you want entails creating a vision of perfection centered on the customer. This affects the boundaries of your services but is not the sole determining factor. This step is important because without a vision of your own which is focused on the customer, you have little or no chance of understanding the customers vision and or needs.
Discovering the customers needs is tricky. It depends on determining who the real customer or customers might be, as well as what their vision really is. Three basic actions are recommended – discover who the customer is, ask them what they need, and listen to them carefully.
The authors also outline three traps of customer listening. The customer who says one thing but means another. The customer who responds “fine” when asked about service quality and the customer who says nothing. Interestingly enough, they also place some responsibility on the customer. If you get bad service, and say nothing – you are partially responsible for an environment of continued poor service.
The third rule is deliver the vision plus one percent. This involves reshaping your own vision to meet the customers, and always delivering a bit more than expected. But it goes a bit further than that and has some interesting implication for employee motivation.
What does all this have to do with product design? Well, as the products involved are service based, I though quite a lot!
In my experience, eCommerce merchants have several different kinds of support and service needs. There are needs related to how to use the software, correcting defects in the software, and modifying the software, software configuration or server configuration to meet their needs. I plan to build our service and support operations around these areas – charging rates sufficient to allow us to build a qualified and talented staff committed as I am to delivering the customers expectations and more.
We will begin by launching a site operations management service, and reshaping our support options in a similar way – with a focus on hourly rates. These products will be provided at our hosting site at http://www.hosting-4-creloaded.com .
As for the Open Source Commerce University – we have made arrangements for Kerry Watson to build a series of courses on site operations based on her book Managing an Online Store. These courses will be focused on operating specific Open Source eCommerce packages covered in the book – and offering expanded material as well.
Feedback on this post would be much appreciated – whether you are a consumer or provider of Open Source eCommerce service and support. Thanks!
What does this have to do with product design? Well, that is where the third rule comes in – deliver the vision plus one percent.