If a product is fantastic, but the user experience is lacking, customers will eventually stop buying. A company selling an asset in the digital age also has to provide a medium in which to do so. In the era of pushing content, the web site, software or app is the new storefront, movie theater or local hangout. And if that storefront is dingy, outdated or just plain ugly, the customers will stop visiting regardless of the quality of the product on offer. Whether you’re selling the latest and greatest widgets, or hawking must-have subscriptions, the method through which you bring the product to your customers is a service.
Are you testing the quality of this service as thoroughly as you’re testing the quality of your product? Similar to real world experiences, customers make judgments on the value of your product based on their interpretation of the experience interacting with your brand. Clients do not want to do business with an organization that has disorganized offices and no one wants to eat a restaurant that is filthy or lacking in service. An outdated website, a poorly designed app, a cumbersome sign-up process, a confusing navigation scheme- all of these are just that, ‘dirty restaurants’, quietly informing customers that they should try elsewhere instead. So much for your widget.
If your shoes are the best but finding my size takes forever, if your movie is awesome but I can’t get it to play on my device, if your social network is the coolest thing but it takes ten forms, a survey and a blood sample to sign up… I simply don’t want it anymore. There will be someone else, maybe not with as awesome of a product, but one that I can actually use and that doesn’t make my acquiring it so cumbersome.
Long-term, successful companies build engaging consumer experiences and great products, instead of focusing on one or the other. Getting a great product into the hands of excited customers is a service. And if that service is not fantastic, the quality of your product simply won’t matter… there won’t be anyone to try it.