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Holes and Drills

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“Customers want holes, not drills”. Whurley reminded me of this old business saw while presenting to a group of Alan Patricof’s CEOs last summer.  He provided a great first-person example of an iPhone app for kids that his chaotic moon studio recently built called “The Quiet Game”.  Based on the insight that parents often hand kids their iPhones to keep them quiet, “The Quiet Game” uses the microphone to dock points for noise while playing.  Problem solved.  A hit.

To be honest, I think the hole/drill thing is the real reason why I hate Lowe’s with a passion of a thousand fiery burning suns.  I may believe their execution sucks,  but I’m also not a do-it-yourselfer.  Buying a cheap drill must give such a thrill to handypeople that it compensates for crappy customer service.

To me, this is a workable definition of great service: give the customer exactly what he/she wants.   I don’t think there’s much of a useful distinction among product, service, and the catch-all “customer experience” anymore.  Is Amazon’s Kindle a product?  What do you call the “magic” of its ubiquitous connectivity or the one-click ability to own almost any book in the world?  The iPhone with iTunes and the App Exchange behind it?   Even for M5, with a mission to provide phones, apps, and service that customers love, our discussions of great service often devolve into just talking about heroics when something goes wrong.

Giving the customer exactly what he/she wants means you start with asking, (1) who is the customer? Then you ask, (2) what exactly do they want? And only after that,  (3) how do we provide it? Next up: Who?

By the way, despite a couple thousand people opening my first newsletter/blog,  no one took me up on my free book offer. I’m just sayin’ …  Bueller?

Here’s an even better clip worth checking out:  (beavis, the great cornholio clip).