Yesterday I was researching a topic online and felt like a dinghy caught up in a tsunami. Regardless of the variations I used in my search string, I could not locate a specific piece of information I needed desperately. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not so naive as to think that the information in question was so profound that I was the first person to think it up! What I needed was out there…..but where?
How often do we feel this way with tools we use every day? Forget for a moment the politically charged topic of Internet search engines, and consider for a moment one of the most ubiquitous devices in use today – the cell phone. I’m sure there are people out there that know how to exploit every feature offered on their device of choice, but I have never met one. There are simply too many variables to track – which platform, which device version, which strategic partner has been left on the side of the road for one reason or another?
But here’s the thing – I know what I need to know about my cell phone. It gives me what I need, when I need it. When I do discover I need something new, the provider can generate more sales by offering me what I am looking for by helping me wade through the clutter of what I am not interested in seeing. The more effort required of me to sift through the noise and find what I want, the less likely I am to pursue my needs.
The winners in today’s economy make it easy to transact business with prospects and customers. They offer simple interfaces that can be tailored by end-users, documentation that is built with the end-user audience in mind and proactive communications and support to collect information on what customers like and what can be done to improve their satisfaction.
In J.B. Wood’s book Complexity Avalanche, he cites the most important factor for realizing value from technology is effective user adoption. To me, this means providing the best tools for navigating the ”ocean” of features, functionality and information so that I can adapt the technology to my specific needs quickly and easily.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the capabilities of your tools? In spite of the powerful tools at your disposal, do you still struggle with wringing the value out of your technology investments?