‘If you want to create a great product, just focus on one person. Make that one person have the most amazing experience ever’.
There’s nothing worse than a poor product or service experience. We’ve all been there and know how frustrating it can be.
I was listening to some music and it kept cutting out, so I immediately thought my broadband was playing up. I checked it and it was fine. So next I checked the music hub I stream through and that seemed fine too…so it must have been the streaming service…right?
Wrong…it was a combination of the service and the hub. The problem it turned out was that my streaming service had recently updated its software, but the music hub manufacturer didn’t know, and hadn’t made the necessary updates to carry on delivering the service. But it was worse than that…the hub manufacturer, being a sound system manufacturer and not a software company…took weeks (and countless complaints) to write and send a fix to the hub. Amplify that across multiple device manufacturers, all with their own software, and supporting many streaming services, all changing at breakneck speed…and it was clear this was a problem that would continue to grow in frequency.
But think about this from a business perspective and how costly the same type of software problem would be to put right in a business to business solution. There’s the financial hit, but also the impact on user experience and the knock on effect of customer satisfaction, reputational damage and lost revenues. And in my example, when it’s not actually caused by the part of the service you offer, and the solution isn’t part of your core business skills, the problem is much worse and harder to solve.
So this got me thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT). Much is made of IoT and what it’s driving. Smarter, more ubiquitous devices, universal connectivity, the ability to integrate old and new devices and systems, and the ability to free up data are all frequently discussed. Opportunities include using joined up data to create insights allowing companies to win more business. Alternatively, predicting challenges and potential faults and stopping them from happening saves money. This is especially true where companies in the service chain are prepared to share data, i.e. the music hub company and streaming service company share data to understand the end to end user experience.
But my experience with music streaming can be easily looked at in a business context in an IoT world, with similar challenges.
My ‘device’ is supplied and managed by one company. Another provides the broadband ‘connectivity’. My music is provided by a paid for streaming service. For it to work, all 3 need to work together…if one fails, the whole user experience fails – and all have very different skills focused on the bit of the chain they provide. Expand that across all manufacturers, internet service providers and streaming services, it’s clear universal interoperability is a long way off…if even achievable.
So what’s the answer? If the question is ‘how do service providers and manufacturers keep ahead of the changes to ensure they understand the whole value chain they are part of and become experts in all of them to ensure the user experience is first class?’…then the answer’s ‘never’.
But a solution may be found by changing the question. By creating dynamic interfaces and bandwidths, it can customise the service you want based upon the device you are using and the bandwidth available – so the device drives the appropriate content source rather than the service provider…change device and the menu of options changes…change from one ISP to another and the content reflects the bandwidth available to provide the best user experience available through that device. Add in end to end user experience monitoring as outlined above and hey presto…a great user experience.
So as the quote above suggests, sometimes it’s not about fixing the problem for everyone and trying to anticipate every scenario. Sometimes it’s about looking down the wrong end of the telescope to find the answer – whether it be music streaming or embracing IoT.
If you’re interested in reading more on IoT, marketing and my experiences, take a look at my last blog - The Internet of Things (IoT) – a game changer in product development.Or my previous blog posts.
If you’re interested in finding out more about IoT, download a free copy of our IoT for Dummies Guide.